Cascade is an information reconciliation protocol proposed in the context of secret key agreement in quantum cryptography. This protocol allows removing discrepancies in two partially correlated sequences that belong to distant parties, connected through a public noiseless channel. It is highly interactive, thus requiring a large number of channel communications between the parties to proceed and, although its efficiency is not optimal, it has become the de-facto standard for practical implementations of information reconciliation in quantum key distribution. The aim of this work is to analyze the performance of Cascade, to discuss its strengths, weaknesses and optimization possibilities, comparing with some of the modified versions that have been proposed in the literature. When looking at all design trade-offs, a new view emerges that allows to put forward a number of guidelines and propose near optimal parameters for the practical implementation of Cascade improving performance significantly in comparison with all previous proposals.
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