The promise of quantum computing is exponentially faster calculations than today's biggest, baddest supercomputer. That would mean, among other things, secure transactions, faster code breaking and really fast database queries.
The problem -- at least, one of the problems -- is everything has to be so gosh-darn perfect for qubits (quantum bits) to communicate. Everything relies on the ability of the quantum-information carriers to remain aware of each other and know the other carrier's state -- even if they've never met.
It's like romantic love -- they're soul mates, but on the molecular level. This is called quantum entanglement, and while it makes quantum computing so attractive to computer security specialist, it's also really hard to maintain over long distances -- again, much like romantic love.
So you can see why it's big news that quantum computing over a long distance is theoretically possible, even over a flawed network.
Physicists from Nanjing University in China in a recent paper outlined how such a network might work. According to Physorg, the suggested network would use a third qubit, which would fly between the two other qubit as a middle man, transferring entanglement between the qubits.
The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) demonstrated it's possible to build a quantum bus for relying information in September, when it used a microfabricated aluminum cable to send information between two qubits. According to Science Daily, the cable offered a way to "refresh" superconducting qubits, which ordinarily can only maintain quantum state for half a microsecond.
This paper comes on the heels of a September announcement that Yale researchers had gotten qubits to communicate through wires across a computer chip, which apparently is a long distance, if you're a qubit.