Further ratcheting up the rhetoric in the latency war over in the financial vertical, New York City area metro specialist Lexent Metro Connect has built an ultra-low latency network for neutral datacenter heavyweight Equinix (NASDAQ:EQIX, news, filings). The new fiber path connects two of Equinix’s datacenters in Secaucus with several of the usual carrier hotel suspects in NYC: 60 Hudson Street, 32 Avenue of the America, 75 Broad Street and 111 Eighth Avenue. No big deal there, the special part according to Lexent and Equinix is that it takes the “shortest path across the Hudson” and manages a route latency of just 100µs.
Now, it’s not like there are all that many paths ‘across the hudson’ nor do many of them go in lazy circles as they go over or under it, most of the extra distance that could really be eliminated comes on either side of the river – that wording is mainly a marketing description. But still, 100µs is pretty good, it translates to roughly 30km at the speed of light if my calculations are correct. I think it’s about 15-20km by car on that route depending on which locations you pick, maybe 10km as the crow flies. There’s only so much distance left on that route to squeeze out.
I still wonder just why the financial industry needs this. I know that quicker response times can mean an advantage over the competition, but what value does it really generate to the economy? A leg up over the trading competition only works until they buy a similar connection, one I’m sure Lexent and Equinix would be willing to sell them. And after everyone has one, aren’t they still sharing the same pie they were before?
Not that I’m complaining, this little arms race has been one of the few bright spots in bandwidth buildouts this year. Next thing you know, they’ll be trying to leverage quantum tunneling to get data faster than the speed of light permits. I wonder what kind of fiber you’d need for that sort of thing…