When random numbers cannot be left to chance

ID Quantique was the first company to develop a quantum random number generator (RNG) in 2001 and it remains the market leader in terms of reliability, certifications and Swiss engineering, with its successive versions of hardware RNGs.

What is a random number and why quantum?

A random number is a number generated by a process, whose outcome is completely unpredictable, and which cannot be subsequently reliably reproduced.

Although random numbers are required in many applications — from cryptosystems to gaming — their generation is often overlooked. In order to guarantee absolutely random numbers, RNGs must not be vulnerable to prediction or bias, and thus dictated by true randomness.

The problem arises from how the keys are created. Most systems use a process called ‘Pseudo Random Number Generation’ (PRNG). Why ‘pseudo’? Because, due to their deterministic nature, conventional computers cannot generate true randomness. Information from inputs such as mouse movements, keyboard pressures, disc interrupts or system timers are all placed into a ‘pool’ of numbers, from which a ‘seed’ is picked. This ‘seed’ is then used in the PRNG which generates the keys.

The better solution is to use hardware random number generation. However, not all hardware random number generators are equally good. Many hardware random number generators still rely on classical physics to produce what looks like a random stream of bits. In reality, determinism is hidden behind complexity for RNGs that do not exploit quantum physics.

Contrary to classical physics, quantum physics is fundamentally random. It is the only theory within the fabric of modern physics that integrates randomness. Quantum Random Number Generators (like the Quantis range from IDQ) use these quantum-random properties to generate truly random numbers.

In addition, Quantum Random Number Generators (QRNG) have the advantage over conventional randomness sources of being invulnerable to environmental perturbations and of allowing live status verification.

For more information, download our white paper: What’s the Q in QRNG?

The 3 Pillars of Quantis QRNG

Quantum physics

Quantis is a physical random number generator exploiting an elementary quantum optics process. Photons – light particles – are sent one by one onto a semi-transparent mirror and detected. These exclusive events (reflection – transmission) are associated to “0” – “1” bit values. This enables us to guarantee a truly unbiased and unpredictable system.

RNG Using Quantum Physics White Paper

Instant entropy

Quantis continuously performs a live verification of its functioning to ensure that there is constantly full entropy, making it ideal as a source of randomness for encryption keys. This is in contrast to the deterministic random bit generators which often need to accumulate entropy over a long period of time from external sources before being able to generate the first secure key.

Reliability & trust

Quantis has been certified by leading commercial entities, well-known international institutes and governments worldwide, from the Swiss Federal Office of Metrology (METAS certificate) to the Compliance Testing Laboratory UK (CTL certificate). Quantis is also available as a Quantis AIS31 version, validated according to the German government’s stringent AIS31 test procedures.

The Quantis Certification Collection
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