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I don't understand the popularity of the idea of QKD (often coupled with OTP). From what I can tell, a quantum-safe key exchange algorithm like McEliece has just as much security while being able to operate over current networks, through repeaters, and not requiring single-photon emitters. Combining this with AES seems convenient and practical.

  1. Why would one ever choose QKD over McEliece?

The only reason I can discern is that there is some possibility that there is a yet-to-be-discovered algorithm that may weaken McEliece or AES.

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  • $\begingroup$ "often coupled with OTP"; actually, from my view of the QKD community, QKD is most often coupled with AES (so that you're not limited by the bandwidth limitations of QKD, which has been improving over time, but still has limits). Of course, if you do that, you lose the supposed "security guaranteed by Quantum Physics" claim QKD makes, but still, that's what it appears people do in practice... $\endgroup$ – poncho Feb 21 at 19:41
  • $\begingroup$ It boils down to what you mean by "just as much security": practically? There's something to be said about "perfect" even if most people don't need perfect. Remember that most of the current work is research. Production scaling/efficiency is not a criterion for people working with QKD at this time. $\endgroup$ – dandavis Feb 21 at 20:18
  • $\begingroup$ I oughtn't to have said "just as much security". That is not quite true. Even though most of the current work is research, though, there are commercially-available QKD systems (I think), but I can't figure out why there is even a market. $\endgroup$ – Evariste Feb 21 at 20:33
  • $\begingroup$ There are most certainly QKD systems on the market (and have been for a number of years). $\endgroup$ – poncho Feb 21 at 20:46

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