As HFT network operators evaluate their options to support trading and information centers often separated by hundreds of miles, the goal is ultra-low latency, and variations in transmission delay can make millions of dollars' worth of difference to high-frequency traders.
While fiber can deliver adequately high speed over short distances, such as found within a data center building, it suffers latency delays of about eight microseconds per mile over longer distances. For example, for one of world's most popular routes from Chicago to New York, typical round trip latencies with adequate transmission capacity measure around 16 milliseconds for premium "dark fiber" service (a connection that doesn't have to be shared with other customers).
Microwave, on the other hand, is nearly twice as fast as the speed of fiber over long distances, making wireless transmission the ideal choice for trading, not for the entire market but for a select group — such as HFT traders — with a clear strategy and algorithmic tools who can truly benefit from the faster transmissions.
With microwave the obvious choice, the very next consideration is choosing the microwave radio vendor and type of systems. To minimize the overall latency for a particular route, the goal of network planners is to simultaneously minimize the number of microwave links and the average latency per link, while maximizing system availability and transmission capacity. Other parameters in network planning are the choice of frequencies, site-specific conditions, and equipment configurations.
That's where Exalt comes in. To optimize this set of complex, interrelated parameters, Exalt has applied its advanced DSP and RF technologies specifically geared toward ultra-low latency designs. The company's unique technology, Exalt Adaptive Latency Control, is a breakthrough approach to slashing latency in HFT networks with superior ease of deployment, diagnostics, and economics. The field-proven Adaptive Latency Control architecture has been delivering high performance in production HFT networks for over a year along with these other significant advantages:
- Easy Maintenance and Sparing — It is expensive to maintain a spare of each type of radio in the network. Exalt's field replaceable diplexer design means that providers need only stock one system as a spare for the network with low cost diplexers that define radio sub-bands thereby reducing sparing and maintenance costs.
- Multitude of Spectrum Choices — It is not always possible to obtain a license for a specific frequency, so Exalt supports a multitude of licensed and license-exempt frequency bands. Designers can choose from multiple options for each link in the network. And because, in rare cases, operators may need high speed connectivity faster than a license can be obtained, Exalt offers a its all-indoor system supporting both the 5 and 6 GHz frequency bands. Once a license is granted, the network operator can turn this system from unlicensed to licensed without changing out any equipment.
- Environmental Options — Different microwave sites call for different system configurations. Exalt offers a complete line of all-indoor, all-outdoor, and split-mount system configurations so network engineers can choose exactly the system they need at every site.
- Upgradeability — Most microwave systems require forklift upgrades to take advantage of new developments in microwave technology, but Exalt's platform approach to microwave design enables systems to be upgraded through software license keys – the hardware never needs to be replaced.
Exalt's commitment to the HFT market is for the long-term. The company will continue to drive microwave technology in the evolution of HFT networks to drive performance and deliver the ultimate in speed, reliability, and flexibility.