Over in Europe, Colt Group (LON:COLT, news) has raised the ante in the low latency wars between London and Frankfurt, but this time it’s not about tightening fiber tails and such. In fact, it’s not about fiber at all, but microwave. The pan-European operator announced that it will be augmenting its low latency fiber connectivity with a parallel microwave option, potentially cutting current speeds by 40%.
Of course, microwave has two big advantages over fiber in a raw speed contest. Light simply moves 50% faster in air than it does in fiber, and it’s much easier to take a truly direct route since you only have to place dots on the map (towers) rather than the full line (fiber). The drawbacks are that it’s more expensive, less reliable, and of much lower potential capacity. But when the payoff for being first is big enough microwave can win, and on a relatively short route through heavily populated terrain like London-Frankfurt the effect is especially pronounced.
Pairing a low latency fiber offering with a parallel microwave offering gives Colt the best of both worlds in the financial vertical: the fastest speed with fiber-level reliability backing it up at a very low latency as well. I’ll be curious to see if the other participants on this route follow suit. Colt’s offering goes online next month.
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