• Technical Conference:  05 – 09 March 2023
  • Exhibition: 07 – 09 March 2023
  • San Diego Convention Center, San Diego, California, USA

SC470 - Secure Optical Communications

Sunday, 05 March
08:30 - 12:30 (Pacific Time (US & Canada), UTC - 08:00)

Short Course Level: Beginner and Advanced Beginner


Andrew Shields, Toshiba Research Labs, UK
Helmut Grießer, ADVA Optical Networking, Germany

Short Course Description:

This is an introductory course on encryption for optical networks. The first part of the course will explain the current state of the art, starting with an introduction of the most important cryptographic primitives (building blocks) and how these can be used to secure digital communication. The focus will be on symmetric and asymmetric encryption, basic key exchange protocols, but also explain the idea of public key infrastructure (PKI). The current security recommendations as required for certifications and found in standards as well as new standardization activities will be introduced. Encryption can be done independently on different network layers, benefits and drawbacks of various options will be discussed.

In the second part it will be explained why quantum computers pose a threat to current cryptographic protocols and what are the most promising concepts to make encryption quantum-resistant, discussing both, information theoretical and algorithmic approaches. The course will introduce and classify the most important post-quantum algorithms and explain in more detail how to ensure quantum-resistance with the McEliece crypto algorithm based on error correcting codes.

The course will explain the basic principles of quantum cryptography and how it can be applied to quantum safe communications.  It will discuss the main experimental approaches for quantum key distribution and quantum random number generation and give an insight into the factors that limit current performance.  It will give an overview of the intensive R&D efforts which are ongoing to improve bit rates and range, as well as introduce new protocols.  Progress with real world deployments in networks will be reviewed, including operation on networks carrying live traffic.    

Short Course Benefits:

The course will enable you to:

  • Explain the cryptographic primitives necessary to build a secure optical communication system
  • Identify potential shortcomings of existing solutions for encrypted transmission now and in the future
  • Compare properties and requirements for different options to achieve quantum-resistant encryption in optical communications
  • Understand the basic principles and benefits of Quantum Cryptography
  • Understand the factors that limit current performance and the likely improvements in the future
  • Understand the current status of real world deployment of the technology and its applications
Short Course Audience:

The course is intended for interested people from academia and industry without any previous knowledge in encryption and key distribution. A basic understanding of optical fiber transmission can be helpful but is not a hard requirement. Attendance is also beneficial for experts of classical cryptography who want to learn about the potential thread of quantum computing and the possibilities to achieve long-term security by means of post-quantum algorithms or quantum key distribution.

Instructor Biography:

Andrew Shields leads R&D on quantum safe communications at Toshiba Research Europe Ltd, Cambridge, UK.  He was a co-founder of the ETSI Industry Specification Group on Quantum Key Distribution and serves currently as its Chair.  He has published over 300 papers in the field of quantum technology, which have been cited over 15000 times and has filed over 70 patent families in the area.

Helmut Griesser graduated in digital communications and received a Ph.D. degree focusing on error correction coding at Ulm University. In 2001 he started working on optical fiber communications, initially at Marconi and later with Ericsson. At ADVA Optical Networking he is currently responsible for the research activities on digital signal processing, coding and security.