The Throughput Bottleneck of Quantum-secure Communication Links: Analysis and Mitigation

Carlos Guerra-Yánez*, Antonio Mederos-Barrera, Innocenzo De Marco, Davide Orsucci, Florian Moll, Zabih Ghassemlooy, Stanislav Zvánovec

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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The use of quantum key distribution (QKD) to improve security may impact the quality of service (Qos) of high rate classical data links. The key generation process with an empty buffer can be modeled as a queuing system, and data throughput limits can be determined using queueing theory to assess the impact on the QoS. The proposed key generation model is based on an on-demand paradigm. Based on the results of this study, a discrete variable (DV)-QKD-secured link could be designed using the data rate bounds to guarantee a given QoS. Furthermore, we validate the derived bounds by comparing the theoretical derivations with simulations. We show that in a one-time-pad system, the achievable throughput approaches 0.59 times the secret key rate as the key length increases. In the case of a key scheme with key reuse, the throughput is asymptotically linear with the number of key reuses, and the slope of the curve corresponds to the secret key rate multiplied by a function of the protocol and channel characteristics. The analysis is carried out on optical fiber and free-space links.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-32
Number of pages32
JournalIEEE Transactions on Communications
Early online date29 Apr 2024
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 29 Apr 2024

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