Illinois Express Quantum Network (IEQNET): Metropolitan-scale experimental quantum networking over deployed optical fiber

Joaquin Chung, Gregory Kanter, Nikolai Lauk, Raju Valivarthi, Wenji Wu, Russell R. Ceballos, Cristián Peña, Neil Sinclair, Jordan Thomas, Si Xie, Rajkumar Kettimuthu, Prem Kumar, Panagiotis Spentzouris, Maria Spiropulu

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

5 Scopus citations


The Illinois Express Quantum Network (IEQNET) is a program to realize metro-scale quantum networking over deployed optical fiber using currently available technology. IEQNET consists of multiple sites that are geographically dispersed in the Chicago metropolitan area. Each site has one or more quantum nodes (Qnodes) representing the communication parties in a quantum network. Q-nodes generate or measure quantum signals such as entangled photons and communicate the results via standard, classical, means. The entangled photons in IEQNET nodes are generated at multiple wavelengths, and are selectively distributed to the desired users via optical switches. Here we describe the network architecture of IEQNET, including the Internet-inspired layered hierarchy that leverages software-defined-networking (SDN) technology to perform traditional wavelength routing and assignment between the Q-nodes. Specifically, SDN decouples the control and data planes, with the control plane being entirely classical. Issues associated with synchronization, calibration, network monitoring, and scheduling will be discussed. An important goal of IEQNET is demonstrating the extent to which the control plane can coexist with the data plane using the same fiber lines. This goal is furthered by the use of tunable narrow-band optical filtering at the receivers and, at least in some cases, a wide wavelength separation between the quantum and classical channels. We envision IEQNET to aid in developing robust and practical quantum networks by demonstrating metro-scale quantum communication tasks such as entanglement distribution and quantum-state teleportation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationQuantum Information Science, Sensing, and Computation XIII
EditorsEric Donkor, Michael Hayduk
ISBN (Electronic)9781510642898
StatePublished - 2021
EventQuantum Information Science, Sensing, and Computation XIII 2021 - Virtual, Online, United States
Duration: Apr 12 2021Apr 16 2021

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
ISSN (Print)0277-786X
ISSN (Electronic)1996-756X


ConferenceQuantum Information Science, Sensing, and Computation XIII 2021
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityVirtual, Online

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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