QIRG C. Wang
InternetDraft InterDigital Communications, LLC
Intended status: Informational A. Rahman
Expires: 18 April 2024 Ericsson
R. Li
Kanazawa University
M. Aelmans
Juniper Networks
K. Chakraborty
The University of Edinburgh
16 October 2023
Application Scenarios for the Quantum Internet
draftirtfqirgquantuminternetusecases19
Abstract
The Quantum Internet has the potential to improve application
functionality by incorporating quantum information technology into
the infrastructure of the overall Internet. This document provides
an overview of some applications expected to be used on the Quantum
Internet and categorizes them. Some general requirements for the
Quantum Internet are also discussed. The intent of this document is
to describe a framework for applications, and describe a few selected
application scenarios for the Quantum Internet.This document is a
product of the Quantum Internet Research Group (QIRG).
Status of This Memo
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This InternetDraft will expire on 18 April 2024.
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Table of Contents
1. Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2
2. Terms and Acronyms List . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
3. Quantum Internet Applications . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6
3.1. Quantum Cryptography Applications . . . . . . . . . . . . 7
3.2. Quantum Sensing/Metrology Applications . . . . . . . . . 8
3.3. Quantum Computing Applications . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9
4. Selected Quantum Internet Application Scenarios . . . . . . . 9
4.1. Secure Communication Setup . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9
4.2. Blind Quantum Computing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13
4.3. Distributed Quantum Computing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16
5. General Requirements . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19
5.1. Operations on Entangled Qubits . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21
5.2. Entanglement Distribution . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22
5.3. The Need for Classical Channels . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22
5.4. Quantum Internet Management . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22
6. Conclusion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22
7. IANA Considerations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23
8. Security Considerations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23
9. Acknowledgments . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25
10. Informative References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25
Authors' Addresses . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32
1. Introduction
The Classical, i.e., nonquantum, Internet has been constantly
growing since it first became commercially popular in the early
1990's. It essentially consists of a large number of end nodes
(e.g., laptops, smart phones, network servers) connected by routers
and clustered in Autonomous Systems. The end nodes may run
applications that provide service for the end users such as
processing and transmission of voice, video or data. The connections
between the various nodes in the Internet include backbone links
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(e.g., fiber optics) and access links (e.g., fiber optics, WiFi,
cellular wireless, Digital Subscriber Lines (DSLs)). Bits are
transmitted across the Classical Internet in packets.
Research and experiments have picked up over the last few years for
developing the Quantum Internet [Wehner]. End nodes will also be
part of the Quantum Internet, in that case called quantum end nodes
that may be connected by quantum repeaters/routers. These quantum
end nodes will also run valueadded applications which will be
discussed later.
The physical layer quantum channels between the various nodes in the
Quantum Internet can be either waveguides such as optical fibers or
free space. Photonic channels are particularly useful because light
(photons) is very suitable for physically realizing qubits. The
Quantum Internet will operate according to quantum physical
principles such as quantum superposition and entanglement [RFC9340].
The Quantum Internet is not anticipated to replace, but rather to
enhance the Classical Internet and/or provide breakthrough
applications. For instance, quantum key distribution can improve the
security of the Classical Internet; quantum computing can expedite
and optimize computationintensive tasks in the Classical Internet.
The Quantum Internet will run in conjunction with the Classical
Internet. The process of integrating the Quantum Internet with the
Classical Internet is similar to the process of introducing any new
communication and networking paradigm into the existing Internet, but
with more profound implications.
The intent of this document is to provide a common understanding and
framework of applications and application scenarios for the Quantum
Internet. It is noted that ITUT SG13TD158/WP3 [ITUT] briefly
describes four kinds of use cases of quantum networks beyond quantum
key distribution networks: quantum time synchronization use cases,
quantum computing use cases, quantum random number generator use
cases, and quantum communication use cases (e.g., quantum digital
signatures, quantum anonymous transmission, and quantum money). This
document focuses on quantum applications that have more impact on
networking such as secure communication setup, blind quantum
computing, and distributed quantum computing; although these
applications were mentioned in [ITUT], this document gives more
details and derives some requirements from networking perspective.
This document was produced by the Quantum Internet Research
Group(QIRG). It was discussed on the QIRG mailing list and several
meetings of the Research Group. It has been reviewed extensively by
the QIRG members with expertise in both quantum physics and classical
Internet operation. This document represents the consensus of the
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QIRG members, of both experts in the subject matter (from the quantum
and networking domains) and newcomers who are the target audience.
It is not an IETF product and is not a standard.
2. Terms and Acronyms List
This document assumes that the reader is familiar with the quantum
information technology related terms and concepts that are described
in [RFC9340]. In addition, the following terms and acronyms are
defined herein for clarity:
* Bell Pairs – A special type of twoqubits quantum state. The two
qubits show a correlation that cannot be observed in classical
information theory. We refer to such correlation as quantum
entanglement. Bell pairs exhibit the maximal quantum
entanglement. One example of a Bell pair is
(00>+11>)/(Sqrt(2)). The Bell pairs are a fundamental resource
for quantum communication.
* Bit  Binary Digit (i.e., fundamental unit of information in
classical communications and classical computing). Bit is used in
Classical Internet where the state of a bit is deterministic. In
contrast, Qubit is used in Quantum Internet where the state of a
qubit is uncertain before it is measured.
* Classical Internet  The existing, deployed Internet (circa 2020)
where bits are transmitted in packets between nodes to convey
information. The Classical Internet supports applications which
may be enhanced by the Quantum Internet. For example, the endto
end security of a Classical Internet application may be improved
by secure communication setup using a quantum application.
Classical Internet is a network of classical network nodes which
do not support quantum information technology. In contrast,
Quantum Internet consists of quantum nodes based on quantum
information technology.
* Entanglement Swapping: It is a process of sharing an entanglement
between two distant parties via some intermediate nodes. For
example, suppose there are three parties A, B, C, and each of the
parties (A, B) and (B, C) share Bell pairs. B can use the qubits
it shares with A and C to perform entanglement swapping
operations, and as a result, A and C share Bell pairs.
Entanglement swapping essentially realizes entanglement
distribution (i.e., two nodes in distance can share a Bell pair).
* Fast Byzantine Negotiation  A Quantumbased method for fast
agreement in Byzantine negotiations [BenOr] [Taherkhani].
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* Local Operations and Classical Communication (LOCC)  A method
where nodes communicate in rounds, in which (1) they can send any
classical information to each other; (2) they can perform local
quantum operations individually; and (3) the actions performed in
each round can depend on the results from previous rounds.
* Noisy IntermediateScale Quantum (NISQ)  NISQ was defined in
[Preskill] to represent a nearterm era in quantum technology.
According to this definition, NISQ computers have two salient
features: (1) The size of NISQ computers range from 50 to a few
hundred physical qubits (i.e., intermediatescale); and (2) Qubits
in NISQ computers have inherent errors and the control over them
is imperfect (i.e., noisy).
* Packet  A selfidentified message with inband addresses or other
information that can be used for forwarding the message. The
message contains an ordered set of bits of determinate number.
The bits contained in a packet are classical bits.
* PrepareandMeasure  A set of Quantum Internet scenarios where
quantum nodes only support simple quantum functionalities (i.e.,
prepare qubits and measure qubits). For example, BB84 [BB84] is a
prepareandmeasure quantum key distribution protocol.
* Quantum Computer (QC)  A quantum end node that also has quantum
memory and quantum computing capabilities is regarded as a full
fledged quantum computer.
* Quantum End Node  An end node that hosts user applications and
interfaces with the rest of the Internet. Typically, an end node
may serve in a client, server, or peertopeer role as part of the
application. A quantum end node must also be able to interface to
the Classical Internet for control purposes and thus also be able
to receive, process, and transmit classical bits/packets.
* Quantum Internet  A network of Quantum Networks. The Quantum
Internet is expected to be merged into the Classical Internet.
The Quantum Internet may either improve classical applications or
may enable new quantum applications.
* Quantum Key Distribution (QKD)  A method that leverages quantum
mechanics such as nocloning theorem to let two parties create the
same arbitrary classical key.
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* Quantum Network  A new type of network enabled by quantum
information technology where quantum resources such as qubits and
entanglement are transferred and utilized between quantum nodes.
The Quantum Network will use both quantum channels, and classical
channels provided by the Classical Internet, referred to as a
hybrid implementation.
* Quantum Teleportation  A technique for transferring quantum
information via local operations and classical communication
(LOCC). If two parties share a Bell pair, then using quantum
teleportation a sender can transfer a quantum data bit to a
receiver without sending it physically via a quantum channel.
* Qubit  Quantum Bit (i.e., fundamental unit of information in
quantum communication and quantum computing). It is similar to a
classic bit in that the state of a qubit is either "0" or "1"
after it is measured, and is denoted as its basis state vector 0>
or 1> using Dirac's ket notation. However, the qubit is
different than a classic bit in that the qubit can be in a linear
combination of both states before it is measured and termed to be
in superposition. Any of several Degrees of Freedom (DOF) of a
photon (e.g., polarization, time bib, and/or frequency) or an
electron (e.g., spin) can be used to encode a qubit.
* Transmit a Qubit  An operation of encoding a qubit into a mobile
carrier (i.e., typically photon) and passing it through a quantum
channel from a sender (a transmitter) to a receiver.
* Teleport a Qubit  An operation on two or more carriers in
succession to move a qubit from a sender to a receiver using
quantum teleportation.
* Transfer a Qubit  An operation to move a qubit from a sender to a
receiver without specifying the means of moving the qubit, which
could be “transmit” or “teleport”.
3. Quantum Internet Applications
The Quantum Internet is expected to be beneficial for a subset of
existing and new applications. The expected applications for the
Quantum Internet are still being developed as we are in the formative
stages of the Quantum Internet [Castelvecchi] [Wehner]. However, an
initial (and nonexhaustive) list of the applications to be supported
on the Quantum Internet can be identified and classified using two
different schemes. Note, this document does not include quantum
computing applications that are purely local to a given node.
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Applications may be grouped by the usage that they serve.
Specifically, applications may be grouped according to the following
categories:
* Quantum cryptography applications  Refer to the use of quantum
information technology for cryptographic tasks (e.g., quantum key
distribution [Renner]).
* Quantum sensors applications  Refer to the use of quantum
information technology for supporting distributed sensors (e.g.,
clock synchronization [Jozsa2000] [Komar] [Guo] ).
* Quantum computing applications  Refer to the use of quantum
information technology for supporting remote quantum computing
facilities (e.g., distributed quantum computing [Denchev]).
This scheme can be easily understood by both a technical and non
technical audience. The next sections describe the scheme in more
detail.
3.1. Quantum Cryptography Applications
Examples of quantum cryptography applications include quantumbased
secure communication setup and fast Byzantine negotiation.
1. Secure communication setup  Refers to secure cryptographic key
distribution between two or more end nodes. The most wellknown
method is referred to as Quantum Key Distribution (QKD) [Renner].
2. Fast Byzantine negotiation  Refers to a Quantumbased method for
fast agreement in Byzantine negotiations [BenOr], for example,
to reduce the number of expected communication rounds and in turn
achieve faster agreement, in contrast to classical Byzantine
negotiations. A quantum aided Byzantine agreement on quantum
repeater networks as proposed in [Taherkhani] includes
optimization techniques to greatly reduce the quantum circuit
depth and the number of qubits in each node. Quantumbased
methods for fast agreement in Byzantine negotiations can be used
for improving consensus protocols such as practical Byzantine
Fault Tolerance(pBFT), as well as other distributed computing
features which use Byzantine negotiations.
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3. Quantum money  The main security requirement of money is
unforgeability. A quantum money scheme aims to fulfill by
exploiting the nocloning property of the unknown quantum states.
Though the original idea of quantum money dates back to 1970,
these early protocols allow only the issuing bank to verify a
quantum banknote. However, the recent protocols such as public
key quantum money [Zhandry] allow anyone to verify the banknotes
locally.
3.2. Quantum Sensing/Metrology Applications
The entanglement, superposition, interference, squeezing properties
can enhance the sensitivity of the quantum sensors and eventually can
outperform the classical strategies. Examples of quantum sensor
applications include network clock synchronization, high sensitivity
sensing, etc. These applications mainly leverage a network of
entangled quantum sensors (i.e. quantum sensor networks) for high
precision multiparameter estimation [Proctor].
1. Network clock synchronization  Refers to a world wide set of
highprecision clocks connected by the Quantum Internet to
achieve an ultra precise clock signal [Komar] with fundamental
precision limits set by quantum theory.
2. High sensitivity sensing  Refers to applications that leverage
quantum phenomena to achieve reliable nanoscale sensing of
physical magnitudes. For example, [Guo] uses an entangled
quantum network for measuring the average phase shift among
multiple distributed nodes.
3. Interferometric Telescopes using Quantum Information 
Interferometric techniques are used to combine signals from two
or more telescopes to obtain measurements with higher resolution
than what could be obtained with either telescope individually.
It can make measurements of very small astronomical objects if
the telescopes are spread out over a wide area. However, the
phase fluctuations and photon loss introduced by the
communication channel between the telescopes put a limitation on
the baseline lengths of the optical interferometers. This
limitation can be potentially avoided using quantum
teleportation. In general, by sharing EPRpairs using quantum
repeaters, the optical interferometers can communicate photons
over long distances, providing arbitrarily long baselines
[Gottesman2012].
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3.3. Quantum Computing Applications
In this section, we include the applications for the quantum
computing. It's anticipated that quantum computers as a cloud
service will become more available in future. Sometimes, to run such
applications in the cloud while preserving the privacy, a client and
a server need to exchange qubits (e.g., in blind quantum computation
[Fitzsimons] as described below). Therefore, such privacy preserving
quantum computing applications require a Quantum Internet to execute.
Examples of quantum computing include distributed quantum computing
and blind quantum computing, which can enable new types of cloud
computing.
1. Distributed quantum computing  Refers to a collection of remote
smallcapacity quantum computers (i.e., each supporting a
relatively small number of qubits) that are connected and work
together in a coordinated fashion so as to simulate a virtual
large capacity quantum computer [Wehner].
2. Blind quantum computing  Refers to private, or blind, quantum
computation, which provides a way for a client to delegate a
computation task to one or more remote quantum computers without
disclosing the source data to be computed over [Fitzsimons].
4. Selected Quantum Internet Application Scenarios
The Quantum Internet will support a variety of applications and
deployment configurations. This section details a few key
application scenarios which illustrates the benefits of the Quantum
Internet. In system engineering, an application scenario is
typically made up of a set of possible sequences of interactions
between nodes and users in a particular environment and related to a
particular goal. This will be the definition that we use in this
section.
4.1. Secure Communication Setup
In this scenario, two nodes (e.g., quantum node A and quantum node B)
need to have secure communications for transmitting confidential
information (see Figure 1). For this purpose, they first need to
securely share a classic secret cryptographic key (i.e., a sequence
of classical bits), which is triggered by an end user with local
secure interface to quantum node A. This results in a quantum node A
to securely establish a classical secret key with a quantum node B.
This is referred to as a secure communication setup. Note that
quantum nodes A and B may be either a barebone quantum end node or a
fullfledged quantum computer. This application scenario shows that
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the Quantum Internet can be leveraged to improve the security of
Classical Internet applications.
One requirement for this secure communication setup process is that
it should not be vulnerable to any classical or quantum computing
attack. This can be realized using QKD which is unbreakable in
principle. QKD can securely establish a secret key between two
quantum nodes, using a classical authentication channel and insecure
quantum channel without physically transmitting the key through the
network and thus achieving the required security. However, care must
be taken to ensure that the QKD system is safe against physical side
channel attacks which can compromise the system. An example of a
physical side channel attack is to surreptitiously inject additional
light into the optical devices used in QKD to learn side information
about the system such as the polarization. Other specialized
physical attacks against QKD also use a classical authentication
channel and insecure quantum channel such as the phaseremapping
attack, photon number splitting attack, and decoy state attack
[Zhao2018]. QKD can be used for many other cryptographic
communications, such as IPSec and Transport Layer Security (TLS)
where involved parties need to establish a shared security key,
although it usually introduces a high latency.
QKD is the most mature feature of the quantum information technology,
and has been commercially released in smallscale and shortdistance
deployments. More QKD use cases are described in ETSI documents
[ETSIQKDUseCases]; in addition, the ETSI document
[ETSIQKDInterfaces] specifies interfaces between QKD users and QKD
devices.
In general, the prepare and measure QKD protocols (e.g., [BB84])
without using entanglement work as follows:
1. The quantum node A encodes classical bits to qubits. Basically,
the node A generates two random classical bit strings X, Y.
Among them, it uses the bit string X to choose the basis and uses
Y to choose the state corresponding to the chosen basis. For
example, if X=0 then in case of BB84 protocol Alice prepares the
state in {0>, 1>}basis; otherwise she prepares the state in
{+>, >}basis. Similarly, if Y=0 then Alice prepares the
qubit either 0> or +> (depending on the value of X), and if Y
=1, then Alice prepares the qubit either 1> or >.
2. The quantum node A sends qubits to the quantum node B via quantum
channel.
3. The quantum node B receives qubits and measures each of them in
one of the two basis at random.
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4. The quantum node B informs the quantum node A of its choice of
basis for each qubit.
5. The quantum node A informs the quantum node B which random
quantum basis is correct.
6. Both nodes discard any measurement bit under different quantum
basis and remaining bits could be used as the secret key. Before
generating the final secret key, there is a postprocessing
procedure over authenticated classical channels. The classical
postprocessing part can be subdivided into three steps, namely
parameter estimation, errorcorrection, and privacy
amplification. In the parameter estimation phase, both Alice and
Bob use some of the bits to estimate the channel error. If it is
larger than some threshold value, they abort the protocol
otherwise move to the errorcorrection phase. Basically, if an
eavesdropper tries to intercept and read qubits sent from node A
to node B, the eavesdropper will be detected due to the entropic
uncertainty relation property theorem of quantum mechanics. As a
part of the postprocessing procedure, both nodes usually also
perform information reconciliation [Elkouss] for efficient error
correction and/or conduct privacy amplification [Tang] for
generating the final informationtheoretical secure keys.
7. The postprocessing procedure needs to be performed over an
authenticated classical channel. In other words, the quantum
node A and the quantum node B need to authenticate the classical
channel to make sure there is no eavesdroppers or maninthe
middle attacks, according to certain authentication protocols
such as [Kiktenko]. In [Kiktenko], the authenticity of the
classical channel is checked at the very end of the post
processing procedure instead of doing it for each classical
message exchanged between the quantum node A and the quantum node
B.
It is worth noting that:
1. There are many enhanced QKD protocols based on [BB84]. For
example, a series of loopholes have been identified due to the
imperfections of measurement devices; there are several solutions
to take into account these attacks such as measurementdevice
independent QKD [Zhang2019]. These enhanced QKD protocols can
work differently than the steps of BB84 protocol [BB84].
2. For largescale QKD, QKD Networks (QKDN) are required, which can
be regarded as a subset of a Quantum Internet. A QKDN may
consist of a QKD application layer, a QKD network layer, and a
QKD link layer [Qin]. One or multiple trusted QKD relays
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[Zhang2018] may exist between the quantum node A and the quantum
node B, which are connected by a QKDN. Alternatively, a QKDN may
rely on entanglement distribution and entanglementbased QKD
protocols; as a result, quantumrepeaters/routers instead of
trusted QKD relays are needed for largescale QKD. Entanglement
swapping can be leveraged to realize entanglement distribution.
3. QKD provides an informationtheoretical way to share secret keys
between two parties (i.e., a transmitter and a receiver) in the
presence of an eavesdropper. However, this is true in theory,
and there is a significant gap between theory and practice. By
exploiting the imperfection of the detectors Eve can gain
information about the shared key [Xu]. To avoid such side
channel attacks in [Lo], the researchers provide a QKD protocol
called Measurement DeviceIndependent (MDI) QKD that allows two
users (a transmitter “Alice” and a receiver “Bob”) to communicate
with perfect security, even if the (measurement) hardware they
are using has been tampered with (e.g., by an eavesdropper) and
thus is not trusted. It is achieved by measuring correlations
between signals from Alice and Bob rather than the actual signals
themselves.
4. QKD protocols based on Continuous Variable (CVQKD) have recently
seen plenty of interest as they only require telecommunications
equipment that is readily available and is also in common use
industrywide. This kind of technology is a potentially high
performance technique for secure key distribution over limited
distances. The recent demonstration of CVQKD shows
compatibility with classical coherent detection schemes that are
widely used for high bandwidth classical communication systems
[Grosshans]. Note that we still do not have a quantum repeater
for the continuous variable systems; hence, this kind of QKD
technologies can be used for the short distance communications or
trusted relaybased QKD networks.
5. Secret sharing can be used to distribute a secret key among
multiple nodes by letting each node know a share or a part of the
secret key, while no single node can know the entire secret key.
The secret key can only be reconstructed via collaboration from
a sufficient number of nodes. Quantum Secret Sharing (QSS)
typically refers to the scenario: The secret key to be shared is
based on quantum states instead of classical bits. QSS enables
to split and share such quantum states among multiple nodes.
6. There are some entanglementbased QKD protocols, such as
[Treiber][E91][BBM92], which work differently than the above
steps. The entanglementbased schemes, where entangled states
are prepared externally to the quantum node A and the quantum
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node B, are not normally considered "prepareandmeasure" as
defined in [Wehner]; other entanglementbased schemes, where
entanglement is generated within the source quantum node can
still be considered "prepareandmeasure"; sendandreturn
schemes can still be "prepareandmeasure", if the information
content, from which keys will be derived, is prepared within the
quantum node A before being sent to the quantum node B for
measurement.
As a result, the Quantum Internet in Figure 1 contains quantum
channels. And in order to support secure communication setup
especially in largescale deployment, it also requires entanglement
generation and entanglement distribution
[ID.vanmeterqirgquantumconnectionsetup], quantum repeaters/
routers, and/or trusted QKD relays.
++
 End User 
++
^
 Local Secure Interface
 (e.g., the same physical hardware
 or a local secure network)
V
++ /\ ++
 >( Quantum )> 
  ( Internet )  
 Quantum  \/  Quantum 
 Node A   Node B 
  /\  
  ( Classical)  
 <>( Internet )<> 
++ \/ ++
Figure 1: Secure Communication Setup
4.2. Blind Quantum Computing
Blind quantum computing refers to the following scenario:
1. A client node with source data delegates the computation of the
source data to a remote computation node (i.e. a server).
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2. Furthermore, the client node does not want to disclose any source
data to the remote computation node, which preserves the source
data privacy.
3. Note that there is no assumption or guarantee that the remote
computation node is a trusted entity from the source data privacy
perspective.
As an example illustrated in Figure 2, a terminal node can be a small
quantum computer with limited computation capability compared to a
remote quantum computation node (e.g., a remote mainframe quantum
computer), but the terminal node needs to run a computationintensive
task (e.g., Shor’s factoring algorithm). The terminal node can
create individual qubits and send them to the remote quantum
computation node. Then, the remote quantum computation node can
entangle the qubits, calculate on them, measure them, generate
measurement results in classical bits, and return the measurement
results to the terminal node. It is noted that those measurement
results will look like purely random data to the remote quantum
computation node because the initial states of the qubits were chosen
in a cryptographically secure fashion.
As a new client/server computation model, Blind Quantum Computation
(BQC) generally enables: 1) The client delegates a computation
function to the server; 2) The client does not send original qubits
to the server, but send transformed qubits to the server; 3) The
computation function is performed at the server on the transformed
qubits to generate temporary result qubits, which could be quantum
circuitbased computation or measurementbased quantum computation.
The server sends the temporary result qubits to the client; 4) The
client receives the temporary result qubits and transforms them to
the final result qubits. During this process, the server can not
figure out the original qubits from the transformed qubits. Also, it
will not take too much efforts on the client side to transform the
original qubits to the transformed qubits, or transform the temporary
result qubits to the final result qubits. One of the very first BQC
protocols such as [Childs] follows this process, although the client
needs some basic quantum features such as quantum memory, qubit
preparation and measurement, and qubit transmission. Measurement
based quantum computation is out of the scope of this document and
more details about it can be found in [Jozsa2005].
It is worth noting that:
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1. The BQC protocol in [Childs] is a circuitbased BQC model, where
the client only performs simple quantum circuit for qubit
transformation, while the server performs a sequence of quantum
logic gates. Qubits are transmitted back and forth between the
client and the server.
2. Universal BQC in [Broadbent] is a measurementbased BQC model,
which is based on measurementbased quantum computing leveraging
entangled states. The principle in UBQC is based on the fact the
quantum teleportation plus a rotated Bell measurement realizes a
quantum computation, which can be repeated multiple times to
realize a sequence of quantum computation. In this approach, the
client first prepares transformed qubits and sends them to the
server and the server needs first to prepare entangled states
from all received qubits. Then, multiple interaction and
measurement rounds happen between the client and the server. For
each round, the client computes and sends new measurement
instructions or measurement adaptations to the server; then, the
server performs the measurement according to the received
measurement instructions to generate measurement results (qubits
or in classic bits); the client receives the measurement results
and transforms them to the final results.
3. A hybrid universal BQC is proposed in [Zhang2009], where the
server performs both quantum circuits like [Childs] and quantum
measurements like [Broadbent] to reduce the number of required
entangled states in [Broadbent]. Also, the client is much
simpler than the client in [Childs]. This hybrid BQC is a
combination of circuitbased BQC model and measurementbased BQC
model.
4. It will be ideal if the client in BQC is a purely classical
client, which only needs to interact with the server using
classical channel and communications. [Huang] demonstrates such
an approach, where a classical client leverages two entangled
servers to perform BQC, with the assumption that both servers
cannot communicate with each other; otherwise, the blindness or
privacy of the client cannot be guaranteed. The scenario as
demonstrated in [Huang] is essentially an example of BQC with
multiple servers.
5. How to verify that the server will perform what the client
requests or expects is an important issue in many BQC protocols,
referred to as verifiable BQC. [Fitzsimons] discusses this issue
and compares it in various BQC protocols.
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In Figure 2, the Quantum Internet contains quantum channels and
quantum repeaters/routers for longdistance qubits transmission
[RFC9340].
++ /\ ++
 >( Quantum )> 
  ( Internet )  Remote Quantum 
 Terminal  \/  Computation 
 Node   Node 
 (e.g., A Small /\  (e.g., Remote 
 Quantum  ( Classical)  Mainframe 
 Computer) <>( Internet )<> Quantum Computer)
++ \/ ++
Figure 2: Bind Quantum Computing
4.3. Distributed Quantum Computing
There can be two types of distributed quantum computing [Denchev]:
1. Leverage quantum mechanics to enhance classical distributed
computing. For example, entangled quantum states can be
exploited to improve leader election in classical distributed
computing, by simply measuring the entangled quantum states at
each party (e.g., a node or a device) without introducing any
classical communications among distributed parties [Pal].
Normally, preshared entanglement needs first be established
among distributed parties, followed by LOCC operations at each
party. And it generally does not need to transfer qubits among
distributed parties.
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2. Distribute quantum computing functions to distributed quantum
computers. A quantum computing task or function (e.g., quantum
gates) is split and distributed to multiple physically separate
quantum computers. And it may or may not need to transmit qubits
(either inputs or outputs) among those distributed quantum
computers. Entangled states will be needed and actually consumed
to support such distributed quantum computing tasks. It is worth
noting that: 1)Entangled states can be created beforehand and
stored or buffered; 2) The rate of entanglement creation will
limit the performance of practical quantum internet applicaitons
including distributed quantum computing, although entangled
states could be buffered. For example, [Gottesman1999] and
[Eisert] have proved that a CNOT gate can be realized jointly by
and distributed to multiple quantum computers. The rest of this
section focuses on this type of distributed quantum computing.
As a scenario for the second type of distributed quantum computing,
Noisy IntermediateScale Quantum (NISQ) computers distributed in
different locations are available for sharing. According to the
definition in [Preskill], a NISQ computer can only realize a small
number of qubits and has limited quantum error correction. This
scenario is referred to as distributed quantum computing [Caleffi]
[Cacciapuoti2020] [Cacciapuoti2019]. This application scenario
reflects the vastly increased computing power which quantum computers
as a part of the Quantum Internet can bring, in contrast to classical
computers in the Classical Internet, in the context of distributed
quantum computing ecosystem [Cuomo]. According to [Cuomo], quantum
teleportation enables a new communication paradigm, referred to as
teledata [VanMeter200601], which moves quantum states among qubits
to distributed quantum computers. In addition, distributed quantum
computation also needs the capability of remotely performing quantum
computation on qubits on distributed quantum computers, which can be
enabled by the technique called telegate [VanMeter200602].
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As an example, a user can leverage these connected NISQ computers to
solve highly complex scientific computation problems, such as
analysis of chemical interactions for medical drug development [Cao]
(see Figure 3). In this case, qubits will be transmitted among
connected quantum computers via quantum channels, while the user's
execution requests are transmitted to these quantum computers via
classical channels for coordination and control purpose. Another
example of distributed quantum computing is secure MultiParty
Quantum Computation (MPQC) [Crepeau], which can be regarded as a
quantum version of classical secure MultiParty Computation (MPC).
In a secure MPQC protocol, multiple participants jointly perform
quantum computation on a set of input quantum states, which are
prepared and provided by different participants. One of the primary
aims of the secure MPQC is to guarantee that each participant will
not know input quantum states provided by other participants. Secure
MPQC relies on verifiable quantum secret sharing [Lipinska].
For the example shown in Figure 3, we want to move qubits from one
NISQ computer to another NISQ computer. For this purpose, quantum
teleportation can be leveraged to teleport sensitive data qubits from
one quantum computer A to another quantum computer B. Note that
Figure 3 does not cover measurementbased distributed quantum
computing, where quantum teleportation may not be required. When
quantum teleportation is employed, the following steps happen between
A and B. In fact, LOCC [Chitambar] operations are conducted at the
quantum computers A and B in order to achieve quantum teleportation
as illustrated in Figure 3.
1. The quantum computer A locally generates some sensitive data
qubits to be teleported to the quantum computer B.
2. A shared entanglement is established between the quantum computer
A and the quantum computer B (i.e., there are two entangled
qubits: q1 at A and q2 at B). For example, the quantum computer
A can generate two entangled qubits (i.e., q1 and q2) and sends
q2 to the quantum computer B via quantum communications.
3. Then, the quantum computer A performs a Bell measurement of the
entangled qubit q1 and the sensitive data qubit.
4. The result from this Bell measurement will be encoded in two
classical bits, which will be physically transmitted via a
classical channel to the quantum computer B.
5. Based on the received two classical bits, the quantum computer B
modifies the state of the entangled qubit q2 in the way to
generate a new qubit identical to the sensitive data qubit at the
quantum computer A.
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In Figure 3, the Quantum Internet contains quantum channels and
quantum repeaters/routers [RFC9340]. This application scenario needs
to support entanglement generation and entanglement distribution (or
quantum connection) setup
[ID.vanmeterqirgquantumconnectionsetup] in order to support
quantum teleportation.
++
 End User 
 
++
^
 Local Secure Interface
 (e.g., the same phyical hardware
 or a local secure network)

+++
 
 
V V
++ /\ ++
 >( Quantum )> 
  ( Internet )  
 Quantum  \/  Quantum 
 Computer A   Computer B 
 (e.g., Site #1) /\  (e.g., Site #2)
  ( Classical)  
 <>( Internet )<> 
++ \/ ++
Figure 3: Distributed Quantum Computing
5. General Requirements
Quantum technologies are steadily evolving and improving. Therefore,
it is hard to predict the timeline and future milestones of quantum
technologies as pointed out in [Grumbling] for quantum computing.
Currently, a NISQ computer can achieve fifty to hundreds of qubits
with some given error rate.
On the network level, six stages of Quantum Internet development are
described in [Wehner] as Quantum Internet technology roadmap as
follows:
1. Trusted repeater networks (Stage1)
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2. Prepare and measure networks (Stage2)
3. Entanglement distribution networks (Stage3)
4. Quantum memory networks (Stage4)
5. Faulttolerant few qubit networks (Stage5)
6. Quantum computing networks (Stage6)
The first stage is simple trusted repeater networks, while the final
stage is the quantum computing networks where the fullblown Quantum
Internet will be achieved. Each intermediate stage brings with it
new functionality, new applications, and new characteristics.
Figure 4 illustrates Quantum Internet application scenarios as
described in Section 3 and Section 4 mapped to the Quantum Internet
stages described in [Wehner]. For example, secure communication
setup can be supported in Stage1, Stage2, or Stage3, but with
different QKD solutions. More specifically:
In Stage1, basic QKD is possible and can be leveraged to support
secure communication setup but trusted nodes are required to provide
endtoend security. The primary requirement is the trusted nodes.
In Stage2, the end users can prepare and measure the qubits. In
this stage, the users can verify classical passwords without
revealing it.
In Stage3, endtoend security can be enabled based on quantum
repeaters and entanglement distribution, to support the same secure
communication setup application. The primary requirement is
entanglement distribution to enable longdistance QKD.
In Stage4, the quantum repeaters gain the capability of storing and
manipulating entangled qubits in the quantum memories. Using these
kind of quantum networks, one can run sophisticated applications like
blind quantum computing, leader election, quantum secret sharing.
In Stage5, quantum repeaters can perform error correction; hence
they can perform faulttolerant quantum computations on the received
data. With the help of these repeaters, it is possible to run
distributed quantum computing and quantum sensor applications over a
smaller number of qubits.
Finally, in Stage6, distributed quantum computing relying on more
qubits can be supported.
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++++
 Quantum  Example Quantum  
 Internet Internet Use  Characteristic 
 Stage  Cases  
++++
 Stage1  Secure comm setup  Trusted nodes 
  using basic QKD  

 Stage2  Secure comm setup  Prepareandmeasure 
  using the QKD with  capability 
  endtoend security  

 Stage3  Secure comm setup  Entanglement 
  using entanglementenabled  distribution 
  QKD  

 Stage4  Blind quantum  Quantum memory 
  computing  

 Stage5  HigherAccuracy Clock  Fault tolerance 
  synchronization  

 Stage6  Distributed quantum  More qubits 
  computing  
++
Figure 4: Example Application Scenarios in Different Quantum
Internet Stages
Some general and functional requirements on the Quantum Internet from
the networking perspective, based on the above application scenarios
and Quantum Internet technology roadmap [Wehner], are identified and
described in next sections.
5.1. Operations on Entangled Qubits
Methods for facilitating quantum applications to interact efficiently
with entangled qubits are necessary in order for them to trigger
distribution of designated entangled qubits to potentially any other
quantum node residing in the Quantum Internet. To accomplish this,
specific operations must be performed on entangled qubits (e.g.,
entanglement swapping, entanglement distillation). Quantum nodes may
be quantum end nodes, quantum repeaters/routers, and/or quantum
computers.
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5.2. Entanglement Distribution
Quantum repeaters/routers should support robust and efficient
entanglement distribution in order to extend and establish high
fidelity entanglement connection between two quantum nodes. For
achieving this, it is required to first generate an entangled pair on
each hop of the path between these two nodes, and then perform
entanglement swapping operations at each of the intermediate nodes.
5.3. The Need for Classical Channels
Quantum end nodes must send additional information on classical
channels to aid in transferring and understanding qubits across
quantum repeaters/receivers. Examples of such additional information
include qubit measurements in secure communication setup Section 4.1,
and Bell measurements in distributed quantum computing Section 4.3.
In addition, qubits are transferred individually and do not have any
associated packet header which can help in transferring the qubit.
Any extra information to aid in routing, identification, etc., of the
qubit(s) must be sent via classical channels.
5.4. Quantum Internet Management
Methods for managing and controlling the Quantum Internet including
quantum nodes and their quantum resources are necessary. The
resources of a quantum node may include quantum memory, quantum
channels, qubits, established quantum connections, etc. Such
management methods can be used to monitor network status of the
Quantum Internet, diagnose and identify potential issues (e.g.
quantum connections), and configure quantum nodes with new actions
and/or policies (e.g. to perform a new entanglement swapping
operation). New management information model for the Quantum
Internet may need to be developed.
6. Conclusion
This document provides an overview of some expected application
categories for the Quantum Internet, and then details selected
application scenarios. The applications are first grouped by their
usage which is easy to understand classification scheme. This set of
applications may, of course, expand over time as the Quantum Internet
matures. Finally, some general requirements for the Quantum Internet
are also provided.
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This document can also serve as an introductory text to readers
interested in learning about the practical uses of the Quantum
Internet. Finally, it is hoped that this document will help guide
further research and development of the Quantum Internet
functionality required to implement the application scenarios
described herein.
7. IANA Considerations
This document requests no IANA actions.
8. Security Considerations
This document does not define an architecture nor a specific protocol
for the Quantum Internet. It focuses instead on detailing
application scenarios, requirements, and describing typical Quantum
Internet applications. However, some salient observations can be
made regarding security of the Quantum Internet as follows.
It has been identified in [NISTIR8240] that once largescale quantum
computing becomes reality that it will be able to break many of the
publickey (i.e., asymmetric) cryptosystems currently in use. This
is because of the increase in computing ability with quantum
computers for certain classes of problems (e.g., prime factorization,
optimizations). This would negatively affect many of the security
mechanisms currently in use on the Classical Internet which are based
on publickey (DiffieHellman) encryption. This has given strong
impetus for starting development of new cryptographic systems that
are secure against quantum computing attacks [NISTIR8240].
Interestingly, development of the Quantum Internet will also mitigate
the threats posed by quantum computing attacks against DiffieHellman
based publickey cryptosystems. Specifically, the secure
communication setup feature of the Quantum Internet as described in
Section 4.1 will be strongly resistant to both classical and quantum
computing attacks against DiffieHellman based publickey
cryptosystems.
A key additional threat consideration for the Quantum Internet is
pointed to by [RFC7258], which warns of the dangers of pervasive
monitoring as a widespread attack on privacy. Pervasive monitoring
is defined as a widespread, and usually covert, surveillance through
intrusive gathering of application content or protocol metadata such
as headers. This can be accomplished through active or passive
wiretaps, traffic analysis, or subverting the cryptographic keys used
to secure communications.
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The secure communication setup feature of the Quantum Internet as
described in Section 4.1 will be strongly resistant to pervasive
monitoring based on directly attacking (DiffieHellman) encryption
keys. Also, Section 4.2 describes a method to perform remote quantum
computing while preserving the privacy of the source data. Finally,
the intrinsic property of qubits to decohere if they are observed,
albeit covertly, will theoretically allow detection of unwanted
monitoring in some future solutions.
Modern networks are implemented with zero trust principles where
classical cryptography is used for confidentiality, integrity
protection, and authentication on many of the logical layers of the
network stack, often all the way from device to software in the cloud
[NISTSP800207]. The cryptographic solutions in use today are based
on wellunderstood primitives, provably secure protocols and state
oftheart implementations that are secure against a variety of side
channel attacks.
In contrast to conventional cryptography and PostQuantum
Cryptography (PQC), the security of QKD is inherently tied to the
physical layer, which makes the threat surfaces of QKD and
conventional cryptography quite different. QKD implementations have
already been subjected to publicized attacks [Zhao2008] and the
National Security Agency (NSA) notes that the risk profile of
conventional cryptography is better understood [NSA]. The fact that
conventional cryptography and PQC are implemented at a higher layer
than the physical one means PQC can be used to securely send
protected information through untrusted relays. This is in stark
contrast with QKD, which relies on hopbyhop security between
intermediate trusted nodes. The PQC approach is better aligned with
the modern technology environment, in which more applications are
moving toward endtoend security and zerotrust principles. It is
also important to note that while PQC can be deployed as a software
update, QKD requires new hardware. In addition, IETF has a working
group on PostQuantum Use In Protocols (PQUIP) that is studying PQC
transition issues.
Regarding QKD implementation details, the NSA states that
communication needs and security requirements physically conflict in
QKD and that the engineering required to balance them has extremely
low tolerance for error. While conventional cryptography can be
implemented in hardware in some cases for performance or other
reasons, QKD is inherently tied to hardware. The NSA points out that
this makes QKD less flexible with regard to upgrades or security
patches. As QKD is fundamentally a pointtopoint protocol, the NSA
also notes that QKD networks often require the use of trusted relays,
which increases the security risk from insider threats.
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The UK’s National Cyber Security Centre cautions against reliance on
QKD, especially in critical national infrastructure sectors, and
suggests that PQC as standardized by the NIST is a better solution
[NCSC]. Meanwhile, the National Cybersecurity Agency of France has
decided that QKD could be considered as a defenseindepth measure
complementing conventional cryptography, as long as the cost incurred
does not adversely affect the mitigation of current threats to IT
systems [ANNSI].
9. Acknowledgments
The authors want to thank Michele Amoretti, Mathias Van Den Bossche,
Xavier de Foy, Patrick Gelard, Álvaro Gómez Iñesta, Mallory Knodel,
Wojciech Kozlowski, John Mattsson, Rodney Van Meter, Colin Perkins,
Joey Salazar, and Joseph Touch, Brian Trammell, and the rest of the
QIRG community as a whole for their very useful reviews and comments
to the document.
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Authors' Addresses
Chonggang Wang
InterDigital Communications, LLC
1001 E Hector St
Conshohocken, 19428
United States of America
Email: Chonggang.Wang@InterDigital.com
Akbar Rahman
Ericsson
349 Terry Fox Drive
Ottawa Ontario K2K 2V6
Canada
Email: Akbar.Rahman@Ericsson.Com
Ruidong Li
Kanazawa University
Kakumamachi,
Ishikawa Prefecture 9201192
Japan
Email: lrd@se.kanazawau.ac.jp
Melchior Aelmans
Juniper Networks
Boeing Avenue 240
SchipholRijk
Email: maelmans@juniper.net
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Kaushik Chakraborty
The University of Edinburgh
10 Crichton Street
Edinburgh
EH8 9AB, Scotland
United Kingdom
Email: kchakrab@exseed.edu.ac.uk
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