Quantum networks create a completely new way for communication, and the most important function of a quantum network is to generate long-distance quantum entanglement to serve a number of quantum applications. As the scale of the network expands, in order to establish end-to-end entanglement between two remote nodes, entangled pairs need to be generated and distributed among multiple repeaters along the path from the source to the destination, which requires a specific protocol to negotiate resource allocations and quantum operations among the repeaters. Thus, to realize such remote entanglement distribution in a quantum network, designing a stable and reliable protocol becomes urgent and necessary. In this article, we focus on how to guarantee the generation rate of entangled pairs between any two quantum nodes to meet the requirements of various quantum applications in a large-scale quantum network. We present a connection-oriented entanglement distribution protocol inspired by the connection-oriented communication model in classical networks. Our protocol is located in the network layer of the quantum network to enable end-to-end quantum communication. Three main features are provided by the proposed protocol: 1) it is reliable and can guarantee the successful entanglement generation; 2) it can reduce the influence of quantum decoherence via reducing the latency caused by resource competition; and 3) it can guarantee the rate of generating entanglement between two quantum nodes according to the requirement of quantum applications.
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