When it comes to science, I am hard pressed to explain the difference between a photon and a proton. Still, it doesn’t take a degree in physics to notice that the telecom world is soon to be rocked by an esoterically named phenomenon called quantum teleportation.
Although the term teleportation brings images of Scotty beaming up Captain Kirk to mind, there is nothing fictional about quantum entanglement. In a nutshell the idea is that two electrons can be linked together (entangled) such that information can be conveyed between them even when they are separated by great distances. As it relates to communications networks, quantum teleportation provides the mechanism for moving the quantum analog of a bit (called a qubit) between two such electrons.
Although the idea was posited by Einstein in 1935, the first process to accomplish it wasn’t expounded until 1993 by Dr. Charles H. Bennett, a scientist at I.B.M. Subsequently, scientists have been able to demonstrate the effect in lab conditions and across short distances only. Over the past several months however, researchers at Stanford and The Delft University of Technology have published papers (here and here) showing methods by which information could be shared between electrons over a mile apart.
While the nuances of the process are significantly over my head, the practical applications seem pretty clear: Secure and unlimited communications networks that are unfettered by the constraints of today’s physical broadband networks.
Apparently, you can change the laws of physics Captain.