Like all communication forms, signal loss can happen with quantum communication. Normally, a repeater is inserted somewhere along the line of communication to "boost" the signal. But with quantum communication, there are a couple of problems. First, how to catch a single photon. Second, how to process and store fragile quantum information. Scientists at MIT and Harvard have created a node device that solves these problems. Basically, it's a quantum computer that can capture single photons and commit their information to quantum memory.
Bart Machielse, a graduate student in the Laboratory for Nanoscale Optics, explains: "This device combines the three most important elements of a quantum repeater—a long memory, the ability to efficiently catch information off photons, and a way to process it locally," "Each of those challenges have been addressed separately but no one device has combined all three."
MIT currently has eight issued patents and Harvard has three in the quantum communication space.