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Low-Latency Network Shaves Milliseconds from UK-Asia Traffic 157

Posted by timothy
from the first-blade-just-surprises-the-milliseconds dept.
New York's had its turn; now, an anonymous reader writes with this excerpt from eWeek Europe: "Financial traders and law firms are set to benefit from a new low-latency network between London and Hong Kong, which can conduct data on a round trip from Europe to Asia in around 176 milliseconds. The cable network, run by UK-based trading technology company BSO Network Solutions, has been in place for some time, but previously had to route around large parts of Russia, due to difficulties laying fibre in that country. However, a new lower latency and higher availability 'Transit Mongolia' connection has helped to reduce the time of a round trip by more than 20 milliseconds during the last 12 months."
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Low-Latency Network Shaves Milliseconds from UK-Asia Traffic

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  • lets talk about... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    We can talk about how scumbags are ruining the market again...

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      lets trade faster and faster with micro sums of money and waste ultra low latency networks for no reason... What's next, wasting massive amounts of electricity to to generate fake money? idiots....

    • When are they going to learn and force all trades to happen in bins. I.e. all trades arriving within each X seconds (or even some reasonable fraction) window get treated the same. The window being well-known and the same for all traders. That would put an end to most of this zero-sum gamesmanship trying to beat/trick/manipulate the other guy's trading algorithm and jump ahead of normal Joe Shmoes who can't afford to get a fat/fast pipe within uS of the trading network.

      Oh, wait, the exchanges are making

      • Lets talk more about how corrupt lobbiest from these companies can buy off any laws and stop any attempt to safeguard the market.

        If I were the CEO of BSO I would hire the best lobbiest money could buy as in this particular climate it is not unreasonable for lawmakers to prevent me from making money.

        You can't win since these trading firms own 75% of the worlds money! You say the rich own it right? Well, where do the rich keep it? Not under their matresses but to these guys who then use the money for private

      • by Arlet (29997)

        There is no point. Your solution would cost more money than the margin currently collected by arbitrage specialists. Since the latter are competing amongst each other, the margins are always under pressure.

        Joe Schmo just wants to buy a share of Shell, and would rather pay $61.33 on a US market, through his own broker, than to open up an account in London, quickly exchange some dollars for pounds, and buy it there for $61.31 before the price goes up. It's just too much hassle and risk, and extra fees.

        Now com

        • by TheLink (130905)

          The following does not make it cheaper for Joe:

          http://www.nytimes.com/imagepages/2009/07/24/business/0724-webBIZ-trading.ready.html [nytimes.com]

          http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/24/business/24trading.html [nytimes.com]

          And it happens a lot. There were some that had very long "winning streaks" (months?), which is impossible for normal traders. It's basically two classes of traders.

          The ones in the right class get their trades rolled back if "stuff happens".

          The ones who aren't in the right class get prosecuted for winning: http://www.comput [computerworlduk.com]

          • by Arlet (29997)

            Of course, that's a form of front running, which is illegal. In itself it has nothing to do with high speed trading, just like your other examples of fraud and corruption. No doubt that these things are happening in the stock market, just like they are happening anywhere else. That's why these things are illegal.

            • by TheLink (130905)

              But has what they are doing been made illegal yet? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flash_trading [wikipedia.org]

              So far much of these HFT stuff has just been a way to either front-run or disguise it, so I'm not convinced about the benefits to the rest of society.

              Proponents can talk about liquidity and creating markets till the cows come home, but when what I linked to keeps happening, there doesn't seem to be a net benefit.

            • by bryan1945 (301828)

              So, if the computers get a time advantage and can guess where the stock is going and then set prices for the slower traders, that's OK. But if humans do it and beat the computers at their own game, not OK? Gotcha.

          • Those two NYTimes articles refer to flash trading [investopedia.com], which was short-lived on several exchanges (most notably the NASDAQ). This does not happen a lot; it was shut down within months.

            • by WoOS (28173)

              Yet it shows nicely how markets and some financial institutions are willing to bend the rules for their mutual gain to the detriement of a third party: the common public.

  • by MMORG (311325) on Saturday September 24, 2011 @09:24PM (#37505564)

    Putting those FTL neutrinos to work, eh? Good job on the time-to-market, guys!

    • by artor3 (1344997)

      The original time-to-market was about 70 years, but they then used the FTL network to send the plans back to the present day. They're rolling it out in 20 ms increments to maximize profits.

    • Normal Neutrinos (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Roger W Moore (538166) on Saturday September 24, 2011 @11:07PM (#37505956) Journal
      You could do this with normal neutrinos - they's travel through the planet, not around it. However your receiver will be a bit on the large side. If they had FTL neutrinos they could do far better: they could receive the signal before they send it!
      • But could you make them [neutrinos] even faster? Imagine this: FTL neutrinos used for communication. The order message is sent, but is received by the exchange before it is sent. The ``investor'' then observes the result, and crafts the order accordingly and sends it. The perfect plan! Think of all the ``liquidity'' it could create!
      • by isorox (205688)

        You could do this with normal neutrinos - they's travel through the planet, not around it. However your receiver will be a bit on the large side. If they had FTL neutrinos they could do far better: they could receive the signal before they send it!

        No, it couldn't. Even after the last neutrino story, I still haven't seen anything to support this claim.

        Imagine a person situated at an equidistant point between London and Hong Kong, somewhere in orbit, 300 ms @ c away from both places. Imagine an instantaneous FTL transmitter. Imagine all 3 people have synchronised clocks based on UTC.

        Times in ms after

        Traditional
        At 0ms Message sent from London
        At 88ms message received in HKG
        At 89ms reply sent back to London
        At 177ms reply received from HKG
        At 300ms message

  • by Anonymous Coward

    It makes market more efficient therefore it is evil.
    It makes money therefore it is evil.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      It makes market more efficient therefore it is evil.
      It makes money therefore it is evil.

      You're an idiot therefore you think you're clever.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        You think you're clever, therefore you're an idiot.

  • ... of being able to outsource the high speed trading decisions to countries with lower labor costs, thus saving millions and increasing shareholder value.

    • If you meant coding the machines that actually make the decisions, then yes.

      Honestly, I don't know why somebody hasn't made a fucking fortune tricking the high speed trading machines. Remember a couple years ago when a story about the anniversary of a plane crash got picked up by Bloomberg and fed into the machines, crashing United's stock?

      http://revealingerrors.com/google_news_ual

      Why hasn't somebody applied SEO skills to a fake news story in order to manipulate a stock? Sure, SEC, yada yada - but I be

      • by Nursie (632944)

        There were a couple of guys in Sweden (IIRC) who figured out how a couple of the bots were trading, and then figured out how they could make money from that.

        Guess what happened to them? If you guessed "retired on their fortune" then you guessed wrong. The right answer was that they were arrested and tried (can't recall the charge) for stepping on the big boys' toes.

        • by tepples (727027)

          There were a couple of guys in Sweden (IIRC) who figured out how a couple of the bots were trading

          Either that or Norway [slashdot.org].

      • "Honestly, I don't know why somebody hasn't made a fucking fortune tricking the high speed trading machines."

        They already have. I saw some graphs a year ago from Goldman Sachs which showed wiggles going upward from obvious pump and dump schemes. Basically they use the FTC to change the market price and as soon as it goes down the computers then buy the shares it was selling a few milliseconds earlier so the price goes back up, which in turn then sells it a few milliseconds after that and so on. It was weird

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 24, 2011 @09:37PM (#37505630)

    While it's very nice to have low-latency connections for lots of things, the current state of electronic trading means that even lower latency links are BAD for the world.

    We're currently at a position where we give a HUGE advantage to those able to afford systems which can trade at lower latencies than others. Boiled down to it, that means the more wealth you have, the easier it is to create more wealth at the expense of those who don't have access to such super-fabulous systems and links. Basically, if I (some corp) can afford $100m in systems next to/in a trading center, I can make huge profits on arbitraging trades by even someone who has a $10m system slightly further away, and the ordinary human trader is screwed. None of that profit the mega-corp makes is economically useful activity (ask any economist) - they're simply leeches in the system, able to legally game it to their advantage (and, to everyone else' disadvantage, since trading is a zero-sum game).

    From a societal standpoint, I see no benefit whatsoever at the current sub-10ms trading intervals, and the trend (which this new network link is a part of) to lower this even further for the privileged few bodes worse.

    Sub-human-response-time trading is BAD for everyone except the trading floors (and their cronies, the investment banks), which live like leeches off of the financial system, sucking off profit from everyone else's trades (or, what do you think high-end arbitrage is?) It's also what leads us to those stupid market "storms" where automated systems jerk the trading around far faster than human can tell the computers are out-of-whack.

    Bottom line - the tech this story promotes is great, but the primary purpose driving it isn't. We need to get a hold on the use of our technology.

    -Erik

    • I agree 100 percent... But what to do about it?
      I would assume all this computer firepower will somehow level via market forces... BUT at the expense of little poor me and my e-trade account?
      Seems to me the "knowing" of this could be used by someone who is smart... i.e. a "hacker" but again, how?

      • But what to do about it?

        Transaction Tax. Higher taxes on income generated in this method.

        Remember, TAXES are regressive and slow down economies. You tax something you slow the velocity of money. This is something the LIberals will never admit. For all its ills, Capitalism seeks efficiency of capital.

        Of course, this news makes class warfare easier.

        • about capitalism seeking the efficiency of capital. The trouble is, you're still working on the assumption that human beings consistently make rational choices. Adam Smith made the same mistake. What's slowing the velocity of money is pure capitalism is bunching it up at the top. A rational man doesn't hoard wealth for no reason. He invests it. But our super rich are just sitting on society's wealth. Doing nothing with it (It's something like $3 trillion worth or capital sitting in corporate war chests alon
          • "human beings consistently make rational choices"

            All economic models make that very same mistake. The problem is that you cannot legislate rational choice, without taking away freedom. However, unlike all other economic models, Capitalism punishes the least efficient use of capital.

            Take Solyent Green Scandal currently in the headlines, the company should have failed BEFORE Obama gave the loan guarantees. It was NOT a viable company before, it certainly proved it wasn't viable afterwards. The punishment of i

            • Modern Socialism assumes human beings are irrational. Also, Capitalism as we know it doesn't punish the least efficient use of capital. Bailouts happen about every 15 to 20 years like clockwork.

              As for that solar start up, it's not that much of a scandal. They didn't run off with the money, they just made an engineering mistake, namely that the price of silicone would continue to rise, so they invested heavily in alternatives. The price dropped, and all their tech was useless. Yes, it's unfortunate. Yes,
              • Modern Socialism is the power of the "state" to enforce "rational" decisions on some people, but excuse other irrational decisions with state funded bailouts. Modern Socialism is just as irrational as all the others, it just pretends it is rational.

                I'm not excusing the Bailouts of the banks. In fact, if you asked me, I wouldn't have bailed out the banks with anything. I wouldn't have bailed out Wall Street. I would have let them figure out how to get themselves out of the mess they go themselves into. This

              • by bryan1945 (301828)

                I would separate capitalism from government bailouts. Capitalism punishes those who screw up, then the government comes riding in. I call that 2 separate mechanisms. You also then contradict yourself with the solar startup- they made a bad call while the government gave them money. Your burning the candle at both ends here.

    • by MightyYar (622222)

      We're currently at a position where we give a HUGE advantage to those able to afford systems which can trade at lower latencies than others.

      If you are smart enough and motivated enough to put together a high-frequency trading algorithm that makes money, someone will give you a book. I don't think there is a big problem with really smart people with unused effective high-frequency trading algorithms sitting around.

      • Now that you point it to me: not only we have an unfair system, we also wast a lot of smart people on that.

        People that could do something useful (for the whole society) instead...

    • None of that profit the mega-corp makes is economically useful activity (ask any economist) - they're simply leeches in the system, able to legally game it to their advantage (and, to everyone else' disadvantage, since trading is a zero-sum game).

      I broadly agree with you, but it's not true that there is no useful work being done. The arbitrage that this high speed link enables has the direct effect of bringing HK prices in line with London prices and Wall Street prices, with lower latency. It is a benefit to each regional market that you can get the best price in the world at the click of a button and not just the best price on a particular exchange. It is of special benefit to smaller exchanges as HFT arbitrageurs transfer liquidity from the large

    • by roman_mir (125474)

      The fact that they are building more capacity is a good thing. More infrastructure based on market demand, it will be used for something productive eventually, as the world solves the real problem that leads to HFT [slashdot.org] (if it ever does with thinking like this [slashdot.org], promoted by pseudo-economists).

      The Western world, including USA needs to stop expecting free money and cheap goods to be there forever for them. Production is the only thing that will remove the poison of over-leveraged vendor and Fed financed consumptio [slashdot.org]

    • by AmiMoJo (196126)

      This is why we need a transaction tax and government controlled servers that add a random delay of 0 to 30 seconds each time. Of course no government would ever dare implement either, especially the UK. We created a monster.

    • since trading is a zero-sum game

      Yes, but with the addition of leverage they can magically create more money. Not that that has ever caused any issues...
    • by bryan1945 (301828)

      Where did I read this, here or in IEEE?- A new datacenter is being put up to process transactions in NY state. It is touted to be "equal access," but in reality it's not. Those big guys pay for servers right next to the transaction servers and may have faster comm links. I forget the rest of the details, but in the end the promised equal access to normal folk is a smoke screen.

      But you're right, no one in the trading industry is going to care as long as they can edge out someone by $0.01 on a million shar

  • Routers using quantum entanglement to transmit data over long distances. Whee!

    • Doesn't work. All you'll get out of it will look like random noise. It's not until you received the key via normal transmission that you can decode the message.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I understand why financial institutions want the lower latency but what work could a law firm be doing that could in any way benefit from 20 ms faster packets?

    • by cosm (1072588)

      I understand why financial institutions want the lower latency but what work could a law firm be doing that could in any way benefit from 20 ms faster packets?

      So they can sue faster!

    • First to file patents?
  • by grimsnaggle (1320777) on Saturday September 24, 2011 @10:52PM (#37505916)

    Wolfram Alpha [wolframalpha.com] tells us that the direct path round trip by fiber would take 90 milliseconds. I'm rather impressed that it takes less than twice that to do the trip in reality, what with all of the additional routing delays and non-ideal paths that the data must take.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Wolfram Alpha [wolframalpha.com] tells us that the direct path round trip by fiber would take 90 milliseconds. I'm rather impressed that it takes less than twice that to do the trip in reality, what with all of the additional routing delays and non-ideal paths that the data must take.

      1) C is speed of light in vacuum, fiber is not vacuum, hence speed of light in this case is not necessarily C
      2) No routing equipment can do calculations faster than C (unless you had the perfect parelel processor and OS), so you have packet, then A -> D conversion, then OSI model parsing, then protocol-specific filtering, then routing, then route-based filtering, then D -> A conversion, then send packet back out
      3) Repeat step 2 for each hop
      4) Last hop, repeat step 2, but add "request/response" process

      • 1) You're the only one mentioning c (it's usually lower case), and I'm not sure why.
        2) Having "perfect parelel [sic] processor and OS" are not necessary to gain a boost over a single processor. The overhead just needs to be particularly small in this case.
        • by ThorGod (456163)

          The answer, obviously, is kuantum cantangueled routers.

          (misspelling on purpose)

          • Yes! Since quantum entanglement doesn't transfer information, maybe this type of trading would end. Maybe they'd catch on, though, and want a real method with low latency. Oh, I know! You could just distort the geometry of the earth by screwing around with the distribution of mass and energy, thereby modifying the metric tensor! Idiots--why lay cable when you can physics your way out of it?
      • C is speed of light in vacuum, fiber is not vacuum, hence speed of light in this case is not necessarily

        It looks like this GP used wolfram alpha's "light in fiber" travel time so he covered that one.

      • 1) C is speed of light in vacuum, fiber is not vacuum, hence speed of light in this case is not necessarily C

        Have you actually looked at his link? The only c he entered was part of the word "distance". And the number he wrote in his comment is (rounded) twice the number Wolfram Alpha gives for the travel time of light in fiber (light in vacuum has a travel time of only 32.2 ms, according to WA, so the round trip calculated with that would only be 64.4 ms.

        2) No routing equipment can do calculations faster th

    • by Anonymous Coward

      repeaters, routers, non straight lines, multiple telcos, etc, etc, 176 is pretty good.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Why not just VPN into the destination country. Ping times like you're there since you're virtually on that network.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Damn!
    I need to get one of those new low-latency networks!

  • by bedouin (248624) on Saturday September 24, 2011 @11:42PM (#37506062)

    I can't wait to get my spam and server bot attacks even faster than before.

  • Having just dealt with a fuckton of spam, I'm hoping routing around large chunks of Russia will be the rule from now on.

  • Those 20ms shaved off the previous route could make for a super-fast sting operation against those using the old system.

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