SK Telecom develops tiny, low-cost QRNG chip for quantum crypto

QRNG chip
Image credit: SK Telecom

SK Telecom announced that it has successfully developed a prototype of a quantum random number generator (QRNG) chip that it says is small enough and cost-effective enough to accelerate adoption of quantum cryptography for apps like AI and self-driving vehicles.

A QRNG generates true random numbers without any kind of pattern, making it useful cryptography. However, so far, the cost and size of existing QRNGs have prevented them from becoming widespread.

SK Telecom says its QRNG chip measures 5mm by 5mm and is packed with entropy source and a Deterministic Random Bit Generator (DRBG). The cellco says it expects to soon be able to embed the QRNG chip in a variety of IoT products, including autonomous vehicles, drones and smart devices, to enhance security for IoT services.

As for how much it costs, SK Telecom said it hasn’t yet set a price for the QRNG chip, but claims that it will be “the lowest price ever” for such a chip.

Meanwhile, SK Telecom says it is also developing a QRNG in USB and PCIe form factors. While the QRNG chip has to be embedded from the beginning of the product development, a USB or PCIe QRNG could be connected to any existing product to provide genuine randomness.

“We will continue to work with partners, both home and abroad, to accelerate the popularization of quantum cryptography and strengthen our presence in the global market,” Park Jin-hyo, senior VP and head of Network R&D Center for SK Telecom, said in a statement.

SK Telecom has been developing core quantum cryptography technologies since 2011, when it established its Quantum Tech Lab.

Last month, SK Telecom announced it has developed a quantum repeater that transmitted Quantum Key Distribution over an optical fiber network at a distance of 112 km.

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