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The advancement of technology has unlocked numerous possibilities and facilitated the exponential growth of data exchange, not only in Asia but across the globe. Securing digital information and processing data quickly have become among the most essential factors when it comes to dealing with large amounts of data worldwide.

The development of quantum networks has the potential to revolutionize and improve the processing of this data. These networks facilitate the sharing of interconnected quantum bits (qubits) among users in different locations, which enhances security and enables the creation of shared cryptographic keys, promoting creative communication activities.

Quantum Networks in Southeast Asia

Quantum networks utilize distinct quantum phenomena, including superposition, no-cloning, and entanglement, to perform their functions. Quantum networks differ from classical networks in that they utilize qubits, which can simultaneously exist in several states (superposition), as opposed to binary bits used in traditional networks.

In Southeast Asia, countries such as Singapore, China, and Thailand have made substantial investments in research and development (R&D) to explore the capabilities of quantum technology.

In 2023, Singapore's Deputy Prime Minister, Heng Swee Keat, unveiled Southeast Asia’s first quantum-safe network infrastructure known as the National Quantum-Safe Network Plus (NQSN+), aimed at strengthening Singapore's digital infrastructure in response to the imminent threat posed by breakthroughs in quantum computing. One of its primary objectives is to ensure the security of communications across the country.

Quantum networks have the potential to transform various sectors by enhancing raw computational capabilities, simulation techniques, and optimization processes. Nevertheless, quantum computers present substantial security challenges due to their ability to compromise existing encryption techniques. In order to reduce these risks, Singapore is aggressively implementing quantum-safe technology to strengthen its digital infrastructure against potential quantum attacks in the future.

The Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) has received bids from leading network providers, to evaluate these solutions in order to construct a minimum of two countrywide, interoperable networks that are quantum safe. These networks will facilitate the integration of quantum-safe technologies, ensuring the protection of sensitive information, while upholding trustworthiness across the network.

Meanwhile, in Thailand, the National Electronics and Computer Technology Center’s (NECTEC) Optical and Quantum Communication (OQC) Laboratory was established to contribute expertise and harness innovation in the field of optical and quantum technologies. The laboratory was inaugurated to address the escalating demand for secure and streamlined information flow in an increasingly digitalized society. Currently, the lab is widely recognized for its outstanding achievements in R&D, specifically in the advancement of communication technology in the future.

The difficulty, however, is in the actual application of quantum characteristics and the transfer of information over inherently unreliable and inefficient quantum channels. The OQC team is working intensively to solve these challenges, making substantial progress towards achieving a reliable quantum cryptography system in the country.

The Future of Quantum Networks

Quantum networks are showing promise in Southeast Asia. While they are built on distinct principles, quantum networks will bear architectural similarities to traditional networks. They will consist of nodes outfitted with quantum processors, optical fiber cables, and quantum switches that direct traffic to appropriate nodes.

This advanced technology offers advantages, but also entails possible risks, such as cybercriminals taking advantage for malicious purposes. Despite these challenges, the ultimate goal is to establish a comprehensive quantum network that operates at greater data transfer rates, alongside the traditional internet, and provides more accessible and cost-effective quantum communication services for commercial use.

As further studies and research are conducted to advance this technology, the vision of a world powered by quantum mechanics is not only becoming feasible, but also an imminent possibility. The emergence of quantum networks marks a significant milestone in the evolution of communication and computation, offering a future where the constraints of current technology are surpassed, and a brand-new era of creativity and security begins.

Read More: Thailand's Quantum Leap: Achieving 5G-Advanced Mastery in 2023

Read More: Exploring Infinite Possibilities with Quantum Computing

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