79 items found for ""
- Weekly Takeaways-July 22, 2022
Theme of the Week How to Transfer Time Imagine you want to synchronize your clock to a master clock. As we mentioned previously, synchronizing clocks that are close to each other is easy. The real challenge is synchronization over long distances. For this, you need time transfer. GPS is currently the main source of time synchronization over global distances. Each GPS satellite knows its position and time, and broadcasts it to the user. This signal is also used to calculate the distance to the satellite (see below). You will need this information from multiple satellites to triangulate your position and time. But if you only care about time, then one GPS satellite will work. Instead of calculating distance, you can calculate the time of flight from the satellite, and add it to the satellite time. Other time transfer methods work in a similar fashion: a reference clock sends a stable RF, ethernet, or optical signal, which the receiver uses to calculate the travel time. The accuracy of the time transfer is impacted by the signal quality, among other things, which tend to degrade over long distances. Last Week's Theme: Commercial Space Steps Up Industry News Before you can have people landing on the moon, you need a lunar GPS. China, Europe, and the US all recently announced separate plans for lunar position, navigation, and timing (PNT) satellites for the moon. Last week we mentioned the suspected Russian jamming of GPS in Norway, but a recent article (in Norwegian translated here) suggests the jamming is coordinated with cyber attacks. Sometimes the problems with GPS are with shoddy ground terminals. Researchers found a security flaw in a GPS vehicle tracker built by a Chinese firm that “can be easily exploited to track and remotely cut the engines of at least a million vehicles around the world.” Another solar storm hit the Earth on Thursday. So far the impacts have been minimal, but the disturbance could make “GPS reception a bit dicey, especially near dawn and dusk.” A recent report claims that the “U.S. remains the leading country in quantum computing development, but China is aiming to catch up, with $10 billion of investment claimed in the period to 2030.” The US budget for quantum information science (QIS) research was roughly $900M in fiscal 2022, almost double the amount spent in 2019, with much of this funding from the 2018 National Quantum Initiative Act. Despite the market downturn, venture investment is still holding up. According to PitchBook, US VC funds closed over $120B through the first half of 2022 propelled by “sustained momentum from the end of 2021,” and TechCrunch claims that “US venture capitalists have never had so much spare cash.” Meanwhile, investment in space startups dropped from $6.1B in Q2 2022 compared to $46.3B for all of 2021. Quantum communications technology can be used to securely deliver encryption keys, with another potential application: quantum-secure ATMs. Conferences Small Satellite Conference, August 6 - 11, Logan, Utah Optics + Photonics, August 21 - 25, San Diego, CA ION GNSS+ 2022, September 19 - 23, Denver, CO IEEE Quantum Week 2022, September 18 - 23, Broomfield, CO APSCC 2022, October 18 - 20, Seoul, Korea Tough Tech Summit, October 27 - 28, Boston, MA International Timing and Sync Forum, November 7 - 10, Dusseldorf, Germany The More You Know... How to Transfer Time Part II So how does time transfer from GPS work? The GPS signal contains a pseudorandom code (sequence of ones and zeros) that is sent to the receiver. The receiver knows this code and creates its own version. By comparing the offset from the satellite and the receiver code, you know the difference in time. This can be used to calculate distance using the speed of light, or the receiver time. Credit: Department of Geography, The Pennsylvania State University Other time transfer methods work in a similar fashion with added complexity to improve performance. But the accuracy is fundamentally limited by: Time of travel changes through the medium of travel. The ability to receive a good quality signal. The quality of the transmitter and receiver. The accuracy of the reference clock. In addition, for high accuracy time transfer between moving platforms (say, from a satellite like GPS), Doppler and relativistic effects must also be carefully taken into account.
- Weekly Takeaways-July 8, 2022
Theme of the Week The Move to Zero Trust The Zero Trust security model is all the rage in network security. The main concept behind Zero Trust is a "never trust, always verify" security strategy. As part of this, network providers are assessing their reliance on timing signals from GPS. Ideally, a Zero Trust network is completely GPS-independent. The next best option is to build resiliency against GPS outages, known as holdover. Obtaining holdover of 12 hours or more is possible, but very expensive. It requires adding stable clocks and/or pulling in timing from many GNSS sources. But these are temporary solutions on the path toward a true Zero Trust architecture. Last Week's Theme: Frozen in Time Industry News You already know that “GPS is Easy to Hack and the US has No Backup”: “Although we think of GPS as a handy tool for finding our way to restaurants and meetups, the satellite constellation’s timing function is now a component of every one of the 16 infrastructure sectors deemed “critical” by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).” The Washington Metropolitan Quantum Network Research Consortium, or DC-QNet, quantum network and test bed for research into quantum technology was announced as a collaboration between the US Naval Research Laboratory, US Army Combat Capabilities Development Command Army Research Laboratory, the US Naval Observatory, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the National Security Agency/Central Security Service Directorate of Research, NASA, the US Naval Information Warfare Center Pacific, and the US Air Force Research Laboratory. An NHK broadcast "Ukraine: The New Satellite War" describes how space has influenced military strategy in the Ukraine conflict. As one expert noted, “During the Cold War, this (satellite imagery) would have been super-secret intelligence information. The US would have spent billions of dollars to obtain images like this. I feel we have entered a totally new era.” South Korea and KT Corp are working on an advanced position, navigation, and timing (PNT) service that “aims to reduce GPS signal error to centimeters, [and] is tailored to smartphones, autonomous vehicles, unmanned equipment, drones, and flying taxis.” This is to augment their $3B Korean Positioning System (KPS), which is planned to be operational by 2035. McKinsey's latest “Quantum Technology Monitor” claims that funding for quantum startups more than doubled to $1.4 billion in 2021, with nearly half going to US startups. This is in addition to government funding, where China dominates: "activity in China is accelerating due to reported large government investment (estimated at $15.3 billion), more than double what EU governments are investing ($7.2 billion) and more than eight times that of US government investments ($1.9 billion).” The US has built a dependence on technology, and there is concern that quantum technology has enormous implications for both the commercial and defense sectors. The fear of a Carrington Event, a solar storm that “could cause trillions of dollars in damage globally,” continues to grow after a surprise geomagnetic storm hit the Earth last week. Conferences Quantum Information Science International Workshop, July 12-14, Rome, NY Small Satellite Conference, August 6 - 11, Logan, Utah Optics + Photonics, August 21 - 25, San Diego, CA ION GNSS+ 2022, September 19 - 23, Denver, CO IEEE Quantum Week 2022, September 18 - 23, Broomfield, CO APSCC 2022, October 18 - 20, Seoul, Korea Tough Tech Summit, October 27 - 28, Boston, MA International Timing and Sync Forum, November 7 - 10, Dusseldorf, Germany The More You Know... The Zero Trust Architecture, as defined in recent papers by NIST in the US and the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) in the UK, is really an outline of best practices. But there is a push toward implementing these guidelines. Last year, all US agencies were encouraged to “develop a plan to implement Zero Trust Architecture,” with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) recently outlining their Zero Trust plans. Yet, Zero Trust does not specifically address a major weakness in the “never trust, always verify” architecture - the reliance on GPS timing for a functioning network. As mentioned many times in this newsletter, it is trivially easy to jam a GPS signal. Spoofing - the ability to convince a user that the source is someone else - is harder. But not that hard. There are even instructional videos on detecting and spoofing GPS signals.
- Weekly Takeaways-June 21-2022
Theme of the Week Frozen in Time When GPS was first made available to the commercial world it offered a timing accuracy of 40 nanoseconds. This timing accuracy enabled early 4G LTE networks. Now, twenty years later, the timing accuracy has improved slightly to 30 nanoseconds. This is barely adequate for 5G networks. And it comes with a caveat: "This performance standard assumes the use of a specialized time transfer receiver at a fixed location." (Note: specialized = expensive). But 6G networks, efficient data centers, and quantum networks need better timing accuracy. Unfortunately, there are no plans to improve GPS beyond 30 nanoseconds. A new solution is needed. Last Week's Theme: "Assume You can be Jammed" Industry News How easy is it to jam a GPS signal? Very. And if you ever wanted to spoof (alter) the GPS time signal, here’s your instructional video from the same group that explains how to detect GPS spoofing. Chinese automaker Geely launched the first nine satellites of a 240-satellite position, navigation, and timing (PNT) constellation called the Geely Future Mobility Constellation. It is designed to "provide centimetre accurate precise positioning and connectivity support for use by automotive brands in the Geely Holding portfolio, enabling true, safe autonomous driving." The Heritage Foundation released a report “Meeting China’s Space Challenge” reviewing the Chinese five year plan for a “Space Silk Road” outlined in “China’s Space Program: A 2021 Perspective.” Two US Senators have introduced the “American Technology Leadership Act of 2022” with the intent of establishing an “Office of Global Competition Analysis.” A massive solar flare sideswiped Earth last week, raising concerns that a direct hit could lead to an “internet apocalypse.” So what happens if GPS goes dark? The Pentagon is working on it - but only for the military. The Chicago Quantum network, one of America’s first publicly-available testbeds for quantum security technology, announced it has nearly doubled to six nodes and 200 kilometers of optical fiber. Meanwhile, Quebec’s technology incubator Numana announced “the launch of a state-of-the-art quantum communications infrastructure to implement open networks for industry and researchers.” There is a lot of misinformation around quantum computers and their applications, but you can trust Los Alamos National Labs (LANL) “Quantum Algorithm Implementations for Beginners” paper. The More You Know... The Ukraine conflict has highlighted the value of commercial satellite communications. “In the hours before the invasion began on February 24, Moscow launched "AcidRain" against Viasat… a "wiper" designed to target Viasat modems and routers and erase their data before permanently disabling them.” Their expectation was that this cyber attack would wipe out the last of Ukraine's communications. But they did not count on the resiliency of Starlink and other commercial satellite operators. “Ukrainians' access to Starlink has "totally destroyed" Russian President Vladimir Putin's information campaign,” asserts Brig. Gen. Steve Butow from Defense Innovation Unit (DIU). This success has caught the notice of US officials. But China is also paying close attention. Chinese researchers recently published a paper describing ways to “disable or destroy SpaceX’s Starlink satellites if they threaten national security.” They are also working hard to build up their own space capabilities. A recent workshop led by the US Air Force, DIU, US Space Force, and NASA concluded that “China is on track to surpass the U.S. as the dominant space power as early as 2032,” and “has already surpassed the U.S. in some key areas closely related to space, e.g. quantum, hypersonics.”
- Weekly Takeaways-June 17, 2022
Theme of the Week "Assume You can be Jammed" Russia’s jamming of GPS in Ukraine has been in the news a lot recently. But it appears that it has been stepped up lately. According to a Russian military analyst: “It seems early on Russia was not well prepared to employ these capabilities, but now there are numerous stories of localized jamming and disabling of drones.” Not only has this has created problems in Ukraine, but it is causing outages throughout Europe. While intentional and accidental jamming is carefully monitored in Europe, surprisingly, there has been no official civil effort to detect GPS interference and jamming in the US - until now. Recently the Department of Transportation received $7M in funding to develop “a nationwide network to monitor satellite navigation signals for signs of interference and spoofing” in response to concerns about interference and the growth of internet of thing (IOT) devices that use adjacent spectrum. Last Week's Theme: Four Core Beliefs Industry News The Secure World Foundation released a somewhat alarming Fact Sheet on anti-satellite (ASAT) weapons, which include missiles and “killer” satellites with robotic rendezvous and proximity operations (RPOs) capabilities. Chinese researchers published a research paper claiming that Starlink may be a threat to China. According to the report, “Chinese military researchers say the country needs to be able to disable or destroy SpaceX’s Starlink satellites if they threaten national security.” The US House Armed Services Committee’s subcommittee on strategic forces called on the US Department of Defense (DoD) to buy commercial space technology in its recent proposals for the Fiscal Year 2023 National Defense Authorization Act. The US may be a leader in quantum computing, but there are a number of Asian countries that are working to challenge that. Meanwhile, the United States and Denmark announced a broad partnership to work together on Quantum Information Science and Technology (QIST) development. Conferences Quantum Information Science International Workshop, July 12-14, Rome, NY Small Satellite Conference, August 6 - 11, Logan, Utah Optics + Photonics, August 21 - 25, San Diego, CA ION GNSS+ 2022, September 19 - 23, Denver, CO IEEE Quantum Week 2022, September 18 - 23, Broomfield, CO APSCC 2022, October 18 - 20, Seoul, Korea Tough Tech Summit, October 27 - 28, Boston, MA International Timing and Sync Forum, November 7 - 10, Dusseldorf, UK The More You Know... An article titled "China’s Quantum Leap" describes China’s advances in quantum technology. Prepared by German scientists, it also highlights China’s efforts success using a natural advantage: human capital. It started in 2008 as the rest of the world was reeling from the financial crisis. The goal of the “High-Level Talent Recruitment Program,” also known as the “Thousand Talents Plan,” was to “recruit leading international experts systematically, and at the same time exert influence overseas to encourage the top Chinese scientists educated at Western elite universities to return to their home country.” As a result, “over 70 per cent of Chinese undergraduates and researchers who had relocated overseas are now returning.” This is part of a proverbial directive, “Picking flowers in foreign lands to make honey in China,” which “encourages the acquisition of intellectual property for the purpose of strategic advantage. The expertise of the returnees helps China.”
- Weekly Takeaways-June8,2022
Theme of the Week Four Core Beliefs The problem we are solving is informed by these central tenets: GPS is about Time. Despite its name, GPS is not about maps; it’s about time. The majority of its $1T+ of economic benefits is as a clock for the world. GPS is NOT good enough. GPS is trivially easy to jam with accuracy topping out at 30 nanoseconds. 5G and 6G communications, data centers, quantum networks, and self-driving vehicles need better. GPS is NOT free. Sure, your location app may be free (though, is it really?). But enterprise network users spend billions of dollars a year on timing units linked to GPS. GPS WILL be replaced - There is already funding allocated for a GPS replacement, with calls to incentivize a commercial replacement so the military has their own dedicated system. This is the New Space paradigm - commercial systems breaking the government lock on space. This has already started for rockets, imagery, space tourism and stations, and lunar bases - now it is time for GPS. Last Week's Theme: Long Distance Synchronization Industry News “To cheaply go: How falling launch costs fueled a thriving economy in orbit” article argues that new space was enabled by cheaper commercial launch options. “Twenty years ago, space launches were a very government-dominated capability,” according to the systems director for the Center for Space Policy and Strategy at The Aerospace Corp. “'They're Jamming Everything': Putin's Electronic Warfare Turns Tide of War” describes how Russia is just starting to effectively use their electronic warfare capabilities, with “jamming of GPS receivers on drones that Ukraine uses to locate the enemy and direct artillery fire is particularly intense.” Chinese officials found a GPS jamming device near a sensitive rocket launch facility, spreading concern that it was an attempted act of sabotage. Though it is unclear if that was the intent or whether it would actually disrupt rocket navigation. Singapore announced a National Quantum-Safe Network (NQSN) consisting of ten fiber connected network nodes “to provide robust cybersecurity for critical infrastructure including communication systems for governments, critical infrastructure such as energy grids, and companies handling sensitive data in areas such as healthcare and finance.” Singapore has been a leader in quantum development, and also leads in per capita venture capital investment. In addition to quantum links over fiber, there are a number of quantum drone demonstrations in work. KT has demonstrated quantum key distribution from drones in South Korea, the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign is developing quantum links between drones, and China’s Nanjing University demonstrated entangled photon distribution between drones. Last week it was noted that Researchers in Delft demonstrated quantum teleportation. Check out their video “From Alice to Charlie” describing how this works. Conferences Quantum.Tech Boston, June 14-15, Boston, MA Quantum 2.0 Conference and Exhibition, June 13 - 16, Boston, MA Connectivity Business Summit, June 14-15, New York, NY Quantum Information Science International Workshop, July 12-14, Rome, NY Small Satellite Conference, August 6 - 11, Logan, Utah Optics + Photonics, August 21 - 25, San Diego, CA ION GNSS+ 2022, September 19 - 23, Denver, CO IEEE Quantum Week 2022, September 18 - 23, Broomfield, CO Tough Tech Summit, October 27 - 28, Boston, MA International Timing and Sync Forum, November 7 - 10, Dusseldorf, UK The More You Know... What is the impact of a prolonged GPS outage? A oft-cited 2019 report estimated the impact at $1B a day, or roughly 1.7% of the US GDP. But that seems very low considering the resultant loss of ATMs, financial transactions, communications, and eventually power. Even local outages can wreak havoc for travel. Flights have been grounded due to local GPS jamming in Europe, and a recent study found that the impact of intentional GPS jamming “means that aircraft need to accommodate greater safety margins, thus forcing greater separation between aircraft on adjacent routes.” The author of “Pinpoint – How GPS is Changing Technology, Culture and Our Minds” frames the impact of a GPS outage like so: “What’s the value of oxygen?”
- Weekly Takeaways-June2, 20222
Theme of the Week Long Distance Synchronization Synchronization is easy for clocks in close proximity. In fact, collocated systems tend to self-synchronize. This is why soldiers don’t walk in formation over bridges. Clocks that are separated, but connected within a local network, can be synchronized with local time transfer techniques like Precision Time Protocol (PTP). But synchronizing two clocks separated by large distances are more challenging. Terrestrial networks have a lot of "hops" between nodes that add to a timing budget. Hence the importance of GPS, the world's first global time distribution system. But GPS has an accuracy ceiling of 30 nanoseconds, which isn't good enough for future networks. NIST has even launched a service to double that accuracy for a steep fee. Space is the only way to provide global timing. Last Week's Theme: Space + Time Industry News A future quantum network will require quantum teleportation, which uses entangled photons to teleport information (not matter, à la Star Trek). Researchers at QuTech, a collaboration between Delft University of Technology and the Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research (TNO), recently demonstrated quantum teleportation across three physical locations. Researcher from Australia and Singapore are looking at a quantum network made up of error corrected quantum memories that are entangled via optical signals in order to coherently integrate photons on a global scale -- the optical equivalent of very long baseline radio telescopes. However, a key basic requirement is a system for reliable global entanglement distribution. Researchers in China believe there is way to use quantum communication links to detect earthquakes, while Japan researchers are looking at early tsunami and earthquake warning using sensitive position sensors. For those looking to have quantum random numbers in their next Samsung phone: sorry, it is only available in Korea. The next iteration of the 5G standard 3GPP Release 17 will contain non-terrestrial networks (NTN) standards, easing the integration of space and terrestrial connectivity. Citi’s new “Space: The Dawn of a New Age” report estimates that the space industry will generate $1T in revenue by 2040, up from $370B today, with the fastest growth coming from "new space applications and industries.” The report argues that this is enabled by cheaper launch prices, which they estimate to drop to $100/kg by 2040 from $1500/kg today. Conferences Quantum.Tech Boston, June 14-15, Boston, MA Quantum 2.0 Conference and Exhibition, June 13 - 16, Boston, MA Connectivity Business Summit, June 14-15, New York, NY Quantum Information Science International Workshop, July 12-14, Rome, NY Small Satellite Conference, August 6 - 11, Logan, Utah Optics + Photonics, August 21 - 25, San Diego, CA ION GNSS+ 2022, September 19 - 23, Denver, CO IEEE Quantum Week 2022, September 18 - 23, Broomfield, CO Tough Tech Summit, October 27 - 28, Boston, MA International Timing and Sync Forum, November 7 - 10, Dusseldorf, UK The More You Know... The vulnerabilities of GPS has been well-documented for over two decades. Since then the National Timing Resilience and Security Act of 2018 was passed to develop an Alternative Timing System to augment and replace GPS. These plans have since been moving slowly, spurred on a bit by Russia's jamming and threats to GPS. Within the current budget funding is passing through the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) "to boost the resiliency of positioning, navigation and timing systems across the country." This allows the DHS "to revive PNT-focused programs that were about to be closed," according to the DHS strategic program manager for Critical Infrastructure Security & Resilience Research (CISRR). But the Resilient Navigation and Timing Foundation (RNTF) is not impressed, calling it: "$172M to Admire the Problem, Not 1 Cent to Fix It."
- Weekly Takeaways-May 25,2022
Theme of the Week Space + Time All networks rely on a time signal from GPS, yet GPS is more well-known for providing position. Because of the way GPS works, a time reference is necessary to know your position. But a future system can de-couple position and time. Position can be inferred from a lot of sources besides satellites: terrestrial beacons, celestial references, accelerometers, gravitational fields, and even local waypoints and skylines. A position reference needs a fixed point. But time is more challenging. It is always changing. Even a “fixed” time reference is somewhat arbitrary. A network of very stable clock helps - as long as they don’t move and are at the same altitude. Moving a clock to a higher position in a server rack will add nanoseconds of drift a year. A system dedicated to time synchronization is needed. Last Week's Theme: The Dawn of Time (Synchronization) Industry News The Ukraine conflict has been a wake-up call on the value of commercial innovation. Consider: “We’re seeing more innovation coming out of industry than we have seen since the push to the moon, an enormous amount,” according to Space Force Lt. Gen. Michael Guetlein, who stated a goal of simplifying the procurement process for small companies. The Undersecretary of Defense for Research and Engineering Heidi Shyu announced a new “strategic capital” VC-type fund to “help startups do business with the Defense Department.” Acquisition experts testifying to the Senate Homeland Security Committee urged streamlining requirements for small business programs, citing a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report that shows a major drop in small business contracts with a 17% decline between 2016 and 2019. Are we in “A Quantum Sputnik Moment”? Maybe, but the advice from the Inside Quantum Technology (IQT) Quantum Enterprise conference: Stay humble, avoid the quantum hype. It was in the news that downed Russian jets were found with commercial-grade GPS devices, but it should be noted that American pilots sometimes use GLONASS and BeiDou signals. Check out the “GPS for Humanity - What’s Next?” podcast with the “Father of GPS” Stanford Professor Bradford Parkinson. Conferences NASA Aeronautics Research Institute (NARI) Position, Navigation, and Timing (PNT) Workshop, May 24- 25, Virtual ISC High Performance Computing, May 29 - June 2, Hamburg, Germany Quantum.Tech Boston, June 14-15, Boston, MA Quantum 2.0 Conference and Exhibition, June 13 - 16, Boston, MA Connectivity Business Summit, June 14-15, New York, NY Quantum Information Science International Workshop, July 12-14, Rome, NY Small Satellite Conference, August 6 - 11, Logan, Utah Optics + Photonics, August 21 - 25, San Diego, CA ION GNSS+ 2022, September 19 - 23, Denver, CO IEEE Quantum Week 2022, September 18 - 23, Broomfield, CO Tough Tech Summit, October 27 - 28, Boston, MA International Timing and Sync Forum, November 7 - 10, Dusseldorf, UK The More You Know... Space + Time - Part 2 In some sense, time is more fundamental than position in that spacetime is fundamentally defined by the evolution of clocks relative to each other. For example, the amount of time that an ideal clock reads over the course of a path of motion (called the proper time) is directly related to curvature of spacetime in the vicinity of the clock. In fact, a network of ideal clocks connected via optical signals is actually an instrument that directly measures the shape of spacetime. Relative positions can then be calculated from knowledge of the spacetime structure. Note that this network of ideal clocks actually defines what we mean by synchronizing clocks in the general relativistic sense. Synchronization between two real-world clocks is defined relative to the that of ideal clocks connected by optical links through the specified spacetime structure. In other words, in general relativity there is no single time reference to which all clocks can be synchronized, but with information about the gravitational field we can calculate the behavior of this ideal network of clocks and use that as a time reference for any real-world clocks.
- Weekly Takeaways-May 19,2022
Theme of the Week The Dawn of Time (Synchronization) The need for accurate clocks goes back to the days of the ancient mariner. But accurate synchronization between many clocks is a recent necessity. Digital networks rely on precisely synchronized nodes to efficiently route digital bits, like traffic through a congested intersection. This wasn’t necessary for early communication networks. Then came synchronous optical networking (SONET) and other network protocols in the 1980s. They required synchronization using time distribution tied to a Primary Reference Clock (PRC). Fortunately there was a clock available from GPS, which conveniently opened up for civilian use at the time. Today’s networks have only gotten more complicated, requiring an alphabet soup of standards and protocols to achieve more accurate and resilient timing. But GPS still remains the accidental reference clock. Last Week's Theme: Turning a Supertanker Requires a Tug Boat Industry News China’s ambassador for disarmament affairs Li Song issued a warning to the US against "attempts to dominate outer space," referring to the US ban on anti-satellite missiles. Following Samsung’s use of quantum random number generation (QRNG) chips in their Galaxy Quantum 3 cell phones, China Telecom is offering a smartphone “with a quantum-secured encryption module and purpose-built SIM card that can encrypt and decipher voice calls on the phone using the quantum key distribution”. Western countries, including Europe, the US, Canada, Australia and Japan, met in Washington DC last week around “building a quantum technology alliance of democracies – notably excluding China from a key global forum on this critical area of research.” Funding for quantum computing companies is accelerating, according to Crunchbase. “Last year, VC-backed quantum startups saw a record of over $823 million come into the sector. That’s a greater than 70 percent increase from 2020. That’s also a significant uptick from previous years when funding struggled to hit $200 million.” Gen. David Thompson, vice chief of space operations of the U.S. Space Force, states that “lesson from the Ukraine war is the resiliency provided by large proliferated constellations.” Conferences ISC 2022, May29-June 2, Hamburg, Germany Quantum.Tech Boston, June 14-15, Boston, MA Quantum 2.0 Conference and Exhibition, June 13 - 16, Boston, MA Connectivity Business Summit, June 14-15, New York, NY Quantum Information Science International Workshop, July 12-14, Rome, NY Small Satellite Conference, August 6 - 11, Logan, Utah Optics + Photonics, August 21 - 25, San Diego, CA ION GNSS+ 2022, September 19 - 23, Denver, CO IEEE Quantum Week 2022, September 18 - 23, Broomfield, CO Tough Tech Summit, October 27 - 28, Boston, MA International Timing and Sync Forum, November 7 - 10, Dusseldorf, UK The More You Know... The economic value of GPS was highlighted at a Geospatial World Forum panel last week. "In 2021, GNSS & EO downstream market generated 200 billion euros in revenues and are set to reach almost half a trillion over the next decade," according to Rodrigo da Costa, Executive Director at EU Agency for the Space Programme (EUSPA). "Just in the US alone, GPS is approaching $1T in terms of economic impact and is doubling every 2-3 years. But it is a single point of failure," agreed Gillian Smith, Vice President of Marketing at NextNav. Separate reports estimate that a GPS outage would cost the US economy $1B a day, and the UK economy over 1B GBP per day. And even though GPS is so embedded in our modern world, there are drawbacks. Recent news that Russian fighter pilots are using GPS receivers explains why some within the military are reluctant to give better performance to commercial devices.
- Weekly Takeaways-May 10, 2022
Theme of the Week Turning a Supertanker Requires a Tug Boat Last week the National Space-Based Positioning, Navigation, and Timing Advisory Board held their semi-annual meeting. The 29 non-government GPS experts met to provide “independent advice to the U.S. government on GPS-related policy, planning, program management, and funding profiles.” They also acknowledged the challenge of effecting change. The fundamental problem is that GPS is critical to many stakeholders with different needs. The Open PNT Industry Alliance (OPIA), another GPS advocacy group, took a different tack. Their 21 corporate members released a statement recommending an alternative solution leveraging commercial technology. There is finally a realization that commercial companies “can move with the speed and urgency that the DoD now requires” and “national security is inexorably intertwined with commercial technology." Last Week's Theme: We Built a Glass House before the Invention of Stones Industry News In light of the Russian hacks of Starlink and Viasat, the Satellite Cybersecurity Act was proposed to help “the commercial satellite sector improve the security of their networks.” In addition to providing communications into Ukraine, commercial satellite operators are delivering images of war crimes from space. The Chinese military expressed alarm about "the military applications of the Starlink program" including working in concert with UAVs to provide accurate positioning. A new Executive Order was signed to speed up quantum development in the US, highlighting that "recent breakthroughs in QIS have shown the potential to drive innovations across the American economy, from energy to medicine, through advancements in computation, networking and sensing.” In addition the Executive Order, the National Strategy Memorandum was signed into law “to maintain the Nation’s competitive advantage in quantum information science (QIS)," and “ensure that we leapfrog well ahead of everyone else.” It mentioned a White House report that estimated that governments spent $20B on quantum research globally, and now another $2.5 billion in private US investments into 100 American quantum start-up companies, over the last decade. New international quantum research partnerships are accelerating, including the NATO Defence Innovation Accelerator for the North Atlantic (DIANA), the US, UK and Australia AUKUS Quantum Arrangement, Horizon Europe, and the US and Finland Cooperation in Quantum Information Science and Technology. As part of the DIANA initiative, NATO is setting up a 1B Euro NATO Innovation Fund to invest in startups with “emerging and disruptive technologies that NATO has identified as the first priorities including: artificial intelligence, big-data processing, quantum-enabled technologies, autonomy, biotechnology, novel materials and space.” A IEEE article outlines a range of amazing applications for quantum sensors, including Covid detection, gravity mapping, and brain scanning. Conferences Workshop on Synchronization and Timing Systems, May 9 - 12, Denver, CO IQT San Diego, May 10-12, 2022, San Diego and virtual Commercialising Quantum, May 17 - 19, London, UK and virtual ISC High Performance 2022, May 29- June 2, Hamburg, Germany Quantum.Tech Boston, June 14-15, Boston, MA Quantum 2.0 Conference and Exhibition, June 13 - 16, Boston, MA Connectivity Business Summit, June 14-15, New York, NY Quantum Information Science International Workshop, July 12-14, Rome, NY Small Satellite Conference, August 6 - 11, Logan, Utah Optics + Photonics, August 21 - 25, San Diego, CA ION GNSS+ 2022, September 19 - 23, Denver, CO IEEE Quantum Week 2022, September 18 - 23, the Broomfield, CO Tough Tech Summit, October 27 - 28, Boston, MA International Timing and Sync Forum, November 7 - 10, Dusseldorf, UK The More You Know... How did GPS get to a dominant position in commercial receivers for the world? GPS came first, but there are newer navigation systems like Galileo, BeiDou, and QZSS that claim to offer better accuracy. The majority of consumer devices contain a chip that acquires GPS first, then may use other signals to better hone their accuracy. GPS has a C/A code that "is almost perfectly designed for good acquisition sensitivity...that’s why GPS dominates the GNSS landscape." When a positioning device (like your smartphone) connects to a network, the additional data provides assisted positioning from these other sources. But Moore's law is in effect - as processing power gets cheaper, GPS leadership may be ceded to these other sources.
- Weekly Takeaways-May3,2022
Theme of the Week We Built a Glass House before the Invention of Stones “We are heavily dependent on space, and our adversaries know it,” warned the former secretary of the US Air Force years ago. And in the wake of Russia’s anti-satellite missile tests, and interference with GPS, Starlink, and Viasat, there is now concern that war could extend into space where critical satellites are sitting ducks. So how do you protect satellites? There is no one solution, but taken in combination: Make the satellite more secure through internal redundancy, radiation hardening, clock ensembles and on-orbit reprogramming. On-orbit protection with warning and self-defense zones, and bodyguard spacecraft. Disaggregation by replacing large expensive satellites with many smaller cheaper satellites. And splitting dual use satellites like GPS into separate commercial and military systems. Not only do they address different needs, but it will make GPS a less attractive target. Last Week's Theme: GPS Keeps the Lights On Industry News Russia quit the International Space Station (ISS) over sanctions imposed after their invasion of Ukraine. This is just another step towards the commercialization of space, even as some within the US government “still don’t believe in working with industry.” China recently launched a pair of commercial imaging satellites, and is moving forward with lunar missions including “communication and navigation services for future operations on the lunar surface.” In light of this, the Defense Intelligence Agency released an “overview of the threats to U.S. space capabilities” in their "2022 Challenges to Security in Space" report. “Space-based capabilities impact many day-to-day aspects of the American way of life. These capabilities enable functions that affect our homes, transportation, electric power grids, banking systems, and our global communications.” Quantum random number generation (QRNG) chips are coming to the new line of Samsung Galaxy Quantum 3 cell phones. And an online quantum random number generator is being launched through the Australian National University (ANU) Quantum Numbers (AQN) using “quantum technology to generate true random numbers at high speed and in real-time by measuring the quantum fluctuations of the vacuum.” Two new QKD networks announced around London and Chicago. In London, BT and Toshiba will connect Ernst & Young (EY) sites in Canary Wharf and near London Bridge. Toshiba and the Chicago Quantum Exchange (CQE) plan to link the University of Chicago to the Argonne National Laboratory as part of a future multi-node US quantum network. Why is timing and synch important in telecoms? “Timing has always been important since we introduced digital switching… with TDD (time division duplex) for 5G networks we also need phase and time, that’s where it really gets tricky.” Conferences Workshop on Synchronization and Timing Systems, May 9 - 12, Denver, CO IQT San Diego, May 10-12, 2022, San Diego and virtual Commercialising Quantum, May 17 - 19, London, UK and virtual Quantum.Tech Boston, June 14-15, Boston, MA Quantum 2.0 Conference and Exhibition, June 13 - 16, Boston, MA Connectivity Business Summit, June 14-15, New York, NY Quantum Information Science International Workshop, July 12-14, Rome, NY Small Satellite Conference, August 6 - 11, Logan, Utah Optics + Photonics, August 21 - 25, San Diego, CA ION GNSS+ 2022, September 19 - 23, Denver, CO IEEE Quantum Week 2022, September 18 - 23, Broomfield, CO International Timing and Sync Forum, November 7 - 10, Dusseldorf, UK The More You Know... Most communications today is encrypted. For almost all cases this encryption is based on the use of public key cryptography. The security of public key cryptography relies on mathematical problems that are believed to be computationally intractable even using massive supercomputers. For decades, the use of public key cryptography has been implemented via a system known as public key infrastructure (PKI). But a large enough fault-tolerant quantum computer could break PKI, so the race is on for a replacement. There are two potential options: quantum key distribution (QKD), which requires unique hardware but is potentially more secure, and post-quantum cryptography (PQC), which is essentially a new form of PKI. PQC uses new mathematical problems that are believed to be intractable even with quantum computers. Since it's a form of public cryptography, PQC is software based and therefore much cheaper and easier to implement within current networks. There are companies building QKD systems with commercial hardware and networks already available. But QKD is still in the early adoption phase, with system cost and scalability a barrier to deployment. PQC, on the other hand, will be easier to implement once a standard has been adopted. In the US, this process has already started, though the security of some of the PQC options have been challenged. Xairos is focused on secure, high precision time transfer, not on key distribution. Performing time transfer beyond GPS precision already requires unique hardware, and current methods are insecure.
- Weekly Takeaways-April 26,2022
Theme of the Week GPS Keeps the Lights On When most people think of GPS, they think of maps. Despite this perception, the real trillion-dollar benefit of GPS is as the clock for the world. Without that timing ATMs and credit card transactions would fail and communications would cease. Within a few days, the power would go out. It may be hard to believe that timing from GPS plays a critical role in keeping our power grids functioning. Modern power grids are transforming from passive (large power plants, centralized operations, one-way flow) to active (decentralized, bi-directional flows) architectures. "As a result of that, the active ecosystem requires tighter data timestamping accuracy." Unfortunately, this reliance on timing from GPS is a single point of failure for our nation’s power supply. This has been flagged in reports from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), and has motivated the Department of Energy (DOE) to establish the Center for Alternate Synchronization and Timing (CAST). CAST is an effort to develop "alternative precision timing services for the nation’s power grid" that "does not rely on weak, space-based GPS signals." An alternative timing solution is needed. Last Week's Theme: Evolution Industry News The U.S. Government announced that it was halting anti-satellite (ASAT) missile tests. The US is one of a handful of countries with ASAT capability and is encouraging others to follow suit. A powerful solar flare erupted last week, causing satellite and radio disruptions over Asia. Fortunately, it was not directed towards Earth, though we are building toward a peak of activity in the next few years that could disrupt GPS and other satellites. In light of these threats to GPS, the US Army is back to teaching its soldiers how to read maps, and an article argues that “GPS alternatives will help protect satellites and signals by making them much less attractive targets. Why attack a system if it’s not a single point of failure?” Lockheed Martin is proposing adding optical crosslinks to GPS satellites as part of the Space Development Agency (SDA) data transport layer. China has already demonstrated optical links on BeiDou, their answer to GPS. Advancements continue in quantum development around the world: The US Department of Defense (DoD) requested a science and technology (S&T) funding increase, including $67M for quantum science, and created an “innovation steering group” to make it easier for the DoD to work with innovative small companies. Australia released their vision of a quantum future. India has allocated over $1 billion towards a National Mission on Quantum Technology and Applications (NMQTA), including a national quantum communication network. Japan unveiled a new quantum strategy. Taiwan announced plans to invest $273M (NT$8 billion) in quantum technology development, including quantum components, quantum computers, quantum algorithms, and quantum communication. The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) observed World Quantum Day with announcements including: Learning resources for students, including QuanTime quantum activities and games, PhysicsQuest Kits quantum mechanics kits, and Learning Quantum with NASA classroom worksheets and online games. National Quantum Initiative Fact Sheet. Quantum image gallery set of free images of quantum research from federal agencies. Quantum-related set of free graphics and background images. National Strategic Overview for Quantum Information Science outlining the US quantum strategy. Quantum Information Science and Technology Workforce Development National Strategic Plan Conferences GEOINT, April 24 - 27, Denver, CO Workshop on Synchronization and Timing Systems, May 9 - 12, Denver, CO IQT San Diego, May 10-12, 2022, San Diego Commercialising Quantum, May 17 - 19, London, UK and virtual Photonics for Quantum, June 6 - 9, Rochester, NY Quantum.Tech Boston, June 14-15, Boston, MA Quantum 2.0 Conference and Exhibition, June 13 - 16, Boston, MA Connectivity Business Summit, June 14-15, New York, NY Quantum Information Science International Workshop, July 12-14, 2022, New York Small Satellite Conference, August 6 - 11, Logan, Utah Optics + Photonics, August 21 - 25, San Diego, CA ION GNSS+ 2022, September 19 - 23, Denver, CO IEEE Quantum Week 2022, September 18 - 23, Broomfield, CO International Timing and Sync Forum, November 7 - 10, Dusseldorf, UK US National PNT Advisory Board, December 9 - 10, Washington DC The More You Know... The modern world relies GPS - but should there be a commercial alternative? GPS is designed and operated by the US Government (a bargain at only $1.5B a year) and made available for civilian use. In decades past all space assets, like GPS, were controlled by governments. But times have changed. Case in point: Commercial companies are providing crucial surveillance and communications for Ukraine, and even fending off electronic warfare attacks. The ISS is being mothballed in 2030 to be replaced by a commercial space station. NASA is now looking to retire TDRS and replace with commercial alternatives. This doesn't mean that the government is giving up on space endeavors. It just means that they can focus on defense and scientific missions. Commercial users need a commercial system focused on their needs.
- Weekly Takeaways:April 21,2022
Theme of the Week Evolution Long ago, we looked to the stars to know our place in the world. With a clear view of the celestial sky early explorers knew their north-south latitude. To know their east-west longitude position, they needed an accurate clock to account for the Earth's rotation. By WWII, radio broadcasts replaced stars as the location reference using systems like LORAN. With the dawn of the space age these RF beacons moved to satellites. Launched after the Vietnam war, GPS is still the primary position and time reference for the world. But progress has slowed since then. Russia has devolved back into using their LORAN system as they jam GPS. China has built their own system with optical links for better accuracy. And the US government is looking at GEO orbits, optical links and advanced clocks for future GPS. But if we want 6G, the quantum internet, and self-driving vehicles, we need to evolve. Last Week's Theme: Dual Use, Not Equal Use Industry News “Putin is Holding GPS Hostage,” according to the chair of the House Armed Services Readiness Subcommittee John Garamendi. “Putin would not even need not go through the trouble of shooting down satellites and risking all-out war. He could do it with the flip of a switch.” George Beebe, former Chief Russia Analyst at the Central Intelligence Agency, concurs: “GPS is an enormous bargaining chip for Vladimir Putin.” The UK is looking at options to reduce its reliance on GPS. “We are currently critically dependent upon GPS; the loss of which will have a major impact in capability and economically,” according to the former UK Cabinet Office PNT Strategy Technical Lead Andy Proctor. A Defense Intelligence Agency report titled “2022 Challenges to Security in Space” highlights that “China and Russia continue to rapidly “mature” their counterspace capabilities.” Between 2019 and 2021 “the combined operational space fleets of China and Russia” have grown by approximately 70%, following a 200% increase between 2015 and 2019 across “nearly all major space categories.” Similar concerns were raised in two other reports: the “Global Counterspace Capabilities Report” prepared by the Secure World Foundation, and the “Space Threat Assessment 2022” prepared by the Center for Strategic and International Studies. NATO unveiled plans to set up a “modified version of the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA)...to speed up trans-Atlantic cooperation on critical technologies, and help NATO work more closely with private-sector entities.” The initiative will include 10 accelerator sites that provide financing for startups, and more than 50 test centers to allow startups “to solve real-world problems — such as operating in a GPS-denied environment.” Space startups received $15.4 billion in investment in 2021 as the number of investment deals increased to 241, up 48% from 2020, for an average deal size of $64 million, up 35% year over year, according to the BryceTech “Start-up Space 2022” report. Conferences Workshop on Synchronization and Timing Systems, May 9 - 12, Denver, CO IQT San Diego, May 10-12, 2022, San Diego Commercialising Quantum, May 17 - 19, London, UK Photonics for Quantum, June 6 - 9, Rochester, NY Quantum.Tech Boston, June 14-15, Boston, MA Quantum 2.0 Conference and Exhibition, June 13 - 16, Boston, MA Connectivity Business Summit, June 14-15, New York, NY Quantum Information Science International Workshop, July 12-14, 2022, New York Optics + Photonics, August 21 - 25, San Diego, CA ION GNSS+ 2022, September 19 - 23, Denver, CO IEEE Quantum Week 2022, September 18 - 23, Broomfield, CO Denver Startup Week, September 19-23, Denver, CO International Timing and Sync Forum, November 7 - 10, Dusseldorf, UK US National PNT Advisory Board, December 9 - 10, Washington DC The More You Know... In the wake of World Quantum Day, lots of articles talked about the quantum arms race: A Forbes article “World Quantum Day: A Love Letter” highlights a recent McKinsey report that "shows that while China is currently investing $15 billion in quantum computing, and Europe over $7 billion, the US is only committing around $2 billion” A recent “Quantum Warfare” report suggests that “There is tremendous potential for military applications of quantum technology… with the potential to change the conduct of warfare and the outcomes of battles.” The America COMPETES Act of 2022 has passed the House and Senate. It identifies Quantum information science and technology as a Key Technology Focus Area with allocations for a Quantum Network Infrastructure and Workforce Development Act under the National Science Foundation (NSF). China has claimed that the Act "intends to curb and suppress China's innovation and development," while The Economist reports on China’s plans for expanding innovation in interior cities like Hefei, the site of a multi-billion dollar quantum research facility. The Quantum Insider prepared a brief but educational history of quantum computing. Speaking of quantum computing, a list of “10 Difficult Problems Quantum Computers can Solve Easily” includes finance, weather forecasting and drug development.