ACI Journal Articles


A Flexible Modeling Framework for Studying Quantum Key Distribution System Implementation Non-Idealities

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

USMA Research Unit Affiliation

Army Cyber Institute

Publication Date



Quantum Key Distribution (QKD) is an innovative technology which exploits the laws of quantum mechanics to generate and distribute unconditionally secure shared key for use in cryptographic applications. However, QKD is a relatively nascent technology where real-world system implementations differ significantly from their ideal theoretical representations. In this paper, we introduce a modeling framework built upon the OMNeT++ discrete event simulation framework to study the impact of implementation non-idealities on QKD system performance and security. Specifically, we demonstrate the capability to study device imperfections and practical engineering limitations through the modeling and simulation of a polarization-based, prepare and measure BB84 QKD reference architecture. The reference architecture allows users to model and study complex interactions between physical phenomenon and system-level behaviors representative of real-world design and implementation tradeoffs. Our results demonstrate the flexibility of the framework to simulate and evaluate current, future, and notional QKD protocols and components.

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