Telecom Quantum Computing: A Dream or a Fantasy?

Telecom Quantum Computing

A quantum computer is a special kind that uses quantum mechanics to perform some computations more quickly than a conventional computer. Once the technology is in complete form, it is set to revolutionize every industry known to humankind. Alongside the pharmaceutical and cybersecurity sectors, experts postulate that this innovation will change the telecoms industry as we know it, primarily through quantum-resistant cryptography. As joyful and hopeful as these promises sound, telecom quantum computing presents many obstacles that may render it a fantasy rather than a dream.

Telecom Quantum Computing: Potentially Redefining the Sector

Quantum computing could redefine the entirety of the Telecommunications Sector. Remember that a quantum computer is akin to a supercomputer on steroids in terms of performance and capabilities. And to think that quantum computing was only a theory a couple of years ago!

Embedding Itself into the Sector

The technology has a couple of different use cases in telecommunications.

Site Planning

For the first time in Europe, TIM, formerly known as Telecom Italia Mobile, claimed that it had used quantum computing for 5G network planning in February 2020. The mobile operator used the quadratic unconstrained binary optimization (QUBO) algorithm to plan the 4.5G and 5G network parameters on D-Wave’s commercially available 2000Q quantum computer. In fact, because it can identify patterns in data sequences, this algorithm is helpful for machine learning. According to TIM, the computer completed the task ten times faster than traditional methods. TIM claims that using this algorithm to plan cell IDs led to a more stable VoLTE (Voice-over Long Term Evolution) experience for customers who were on the move.

Development of RAN

Specific quantum computing algorithms made up of quantum gates will be necessary to carry out the RAN’s management plane and user data plane functionality. Only a few of the classical algorithms have a quantum counterpart as of yet, and not all of them are described in the quantum world. Physical layer processing functions have strict requirements for latency. Therefore, they probably run on local hardware instead of cloud-based hardware. The quantum chipset has a capacity of 50100 qubits. In order to speed up the virtualized RAN function, the mobile operator can place quantum chips in a compact form close to the customer’s home or even inside the digital unit of the quantum processor.

Optimization of the Network

quantum computers require specialized algorithms in order to carry out quick and precise operations. With the help of specific algorithms, global convergence is achievable while increasing computing power and operating speed. These could lead to a wide range of network optimization applications, including solving challenging business issues and making financial savings.

Not as Achievable as It Sounds

According to experts in this field, ranging from physicists to computing geniuses, the technology is at least three years away from being scalable and as applicable as it needs to be to run the show in all industries, especially that of telecoms. The development and subsequent application of telecom quantum computing have some obstacles to clear first.

Handle with Care

The classic binary bit’s quantum counterpart is the Qubit. And it is physically realized with a two-state device, i.e., the quantum computer. These basic quantum units of information allow the technology to be as efficient in its complex calculations. The only downside to them is that they are very fragile. In fact, they are extremely susceptible to heat. Hence, they require extremely low temperatures to function. As a result, building, verifying, and designing quantum systems is a challenging feat. This fragile nature renders quantum computing more error-prone and less reliable than traditional computing.

Error-Correcting Codes

Errors are an unavoidable phenomenon in computation, and this is especially true in quantum computation, where we must exercise precise control over the behavior of ultra-sensitive quantum systems. Enters quantum error correction (QEC)! This branch of quantum computing concerns protecting quantum information from errors resulting from decoherence and other quantum noise. In addition, experts postulate that it is essential to achieve fault-tolerant quantum computing that can reduce the following:

  • The effects of noise on stored quantum information
  • Faulty quantum gates
  • Faulty quantum preparation,
  • Faulty measurements

Final Thoughts

In my line of work, I’ve heard, “Telecom is the foundation of the future,” more times than I care to admit. And as time goes on and as I write more articles and delve deeper into this industry, I find myself agreeing. The telecom sector is, indeed, the future. In fact, this sector is capable of powering many innovations, including the metaverse. But its true power and potential could be exponentially greater through quantum computing. Telecom quantum computing has the potential to become the future but not without some setbacks first. How experts deal with said setbacks will determine whether the end goal is a dream coming true in the next five years or a fantasy by brilliant yet wishful minds.

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