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Telefonica, Fortinet & IDQ demonstrate the first Quantum-Safe IPVPN connection suitable for managed datacentre interconnect

Geneva, October 7, 2021

As part of the European OPENQKD project, Telefonica, Fortinet and ID Quantique have successfully demonstrated the combined solution of FortiGate IP Virtual Private Network (IP-VPN) service and IDQ’s Quantum Key Distribution (QKD) system, using a standardised ETSI interface, to provide a Quantum-Safe IP encryption solution over a real deployment scenario consisting of a 20 km span.

Telefónica is one of the largest telecommunications service providers in the world. The company offers fixed and mobile connectivity as well as a wide range of digital services for residential and business customers. With more than 367 million customers, Telefónica operates in Europe and Latin America. As part of their objective to continue to have a secure network in the future, Telefonica is actively preparing a new generation of connectivity solutions that can resist highly sophisticated cyber-attacks made possible with the development of quantum computers. These services may be proposed as a quantum-safe evolution of current B2B services (e.g. SD- WAN connectivity) or point to point encrypted critical connectivity scenarios but also for different use cases improving the security of operator infrastructure (e.g. network management traffic or 5G Multi Access Edge Computing – MEC deployments).

The solution is backed up by ID Quantique’s Quantum Key Distribution (QKD) system coupled with Fortinet’s VPN solution. QKD is a highly innovative key exchange technique, that exploits a principle of quantum physics – observation causes perturbation – to exchange cryptographic keys over optical fibre networks with ultimate security. A Quantum Random Number Generator (QRNG) embedded in the QKD system provides keys that are produced in an absolutely random way. Once the key exchange is validated, the keys can be used to encrypt data, and encrypted messages will remain confidential.

Fortinet’s FortiGate firewalls receive quantum keys generated by IDQ’s QKD system using the standardised ETSI Key Delivery Application Programming Interface (API). Integration of these quantum keys with the existing key derivation function ensures seamless interworking with the FortiGate platform. The combination of the FortiGate high-end appliances and VMs with IDQ’s QKD provides long-term security for critical data transported over VPN’s relying on IPsec protocol.


This PoC results from our sustained collaboration with IDQ within the EU research ecosystem, such as OpenQKD project, and with Fortinet on the commercialisation of security services. The PoC demonstrates the commitment of Telefonica to provide their customers with the best connectivity at any moment at any place, ensuring their privacy and safeguard of sensitive information, and to prepare and protect them for the advent of the quantum internet.

Jesus Folgueira, Transport Network Senior Manager at Telefónica


As a leading security provider, Fortinet has been continuously innovating to deliver a best in class security platform to our service provider and enterprise customers, enabling an industry-leading Security-Driven Networking approach that deeply weaves security into networking to future proof customer investments. Working with Telefonica and IDQ, Fortinet continue to lead and accompany service providers and enterprises in securing their networks, data, and services today, for tomorrow’s quantum reality and risks.

John Maddison, CMO and EVP Products at Fortinet


We are very excited by this achievement with Fortinet and Telefonica. Sensitive data is increasingly in danger from the growing threat of cyberattacks and more and more companies, especially banks and governments are highly concerned by this issue.

Axel Foery, EVP Quantum Safe at ID Quantique


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About the OpenQKD Project

The OpenQKD project was developed with the aim of reinforcing Europe’s global position as a leader in quantum communications. Its three primary objectives are to demonstrate the transparent integration of quantum-safe solutions across the European digital landscape; to create several open QKD testbeds to promote network functionality and use cases; and to develop an innovation ecosystems and training ground to grow the supply chain for quantum communications technologies and services.

ID Quantique (IDQ) plays a significant role in OpenQKD by supplying the majority of available QKD systems. IDQ supports the testbed and use case coordinators in all phases of the project: designing and planning the use cases, installing the QKD equipment and providing technical support during the test. IDQ is also actively involved in standardization activities, development of interoperable interfaces and next-generation prototypes, and in the management and communication of the project.

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