by Mike Persico, Anova Founder & CEO

 

Reflections

As I sat down to pen this article, it was interesting to reflect back and realize that wireless networks in the metro have been actively deployed since 2010 (and earlier on the long-haul corridor of CME-NJ).  For those unaware, Anova built the world’s first millimeter wave links from 755 Secaucus to 111 8th Ave, which at that time effectively connected the BATS data center to an NYSE SFTI PoP.  It passed full 1Gbps of traffic and ushered in a new era of exchange-to-exchange connectivity.  Now, a dozen years later, we find ourselves in an oh-so-familiar spot of creating and deploying equally ground-breaking technology – the only long-distance, low latency full 10GbE radio for trading networks.  

Why is this important?  Haven’t firms become better at doing more with less?  Think about shortwave use applications (which are measured in bytes) and 1Mbps bandwidth slices that are commonly utilized on long haul microwave networks.  Certainly, this is the case: if capacity is at a premium, then one must adapt.  You utilize what you have access to and go from there.  However, none of that changes the overarching fact that more is still better.  More bandwidth solves a myriad of issues from latency decreases through serialization delay to the ever-increasing phenomenon of price feed micro-bursting to the simple but substantial benefit of being able to move more strategies off legacy fiber and onto a more optimized and competitive transport medium.

Product Roadmap

In 2010, the focus was always on latency.  How can we straighten the path? How can we reduce the overhead of the equipment?  Those were the primary concerns of all of the market participants – customer and vendor alike.  As time passed, the paths were optimized to adhere to meters off the geodesic lines between locations, and equipment latency was shaved down to the nanosecond level.  And there were those that proclaimed the “race to zero” was open.  But it wasn’t, and isn’t.  Not by a long shot.  Capacity has become the new latency and ultimately, those that possess more can do more.   It doesn’t guarantee profits, nothing does, but it certainly allows for a bigger canvas to paint.  Anova always believed that this would be the next battleground, which is why our optical engineers spent several years of R&D in our California facility (cleverly named Anova West, by the way) to retrofit our proprietary 2.5GbE radios to a 10GbE throughput.  

In December of 2020, the units were fully tested and ready for production.  By May of 2021, we deployed an end-to-end full 10GbE network from Carteret to NY5, achieving again, what many did not believe possible.  The radios achieve 150ns of one-way latency and a full 10GbE of throughput, making them the first of their kind.  Further, they are non-reliant on a traditional spectrum, making them interference-proof in the congested corridors of the New Jersey equity triangle and other areas of metro exchange connectivity.

Specific Benefits of a 10G Trading Network

Without getting too technical, it probably makes some sense to discuss the concept of buffers and how they affect a trading network. Specifically, buffers are very high-speed memory used to store packets when a network device is experiencing data rates higher than ascribed port rates. The two main causes of buffer congestion are when an ingress interface is transmitting data faster than the egress interface can transmit, or when multiple ingress interfaces transmit concurrently to one egress interface. Buffering and queuing are the leading sources of latency in an Ethernet switching system, which almost all trading networks are at some point. However, buffers are required when you experience congestion so that traffic is not discarded, forcing retransmission or causing loss. The sizing and allocation of buffers is a very important factor, requiring a balance between congestion management and ultra-low latency.

The translation to all of this is that if your wireless radios cannot handle the backbone traffic, they will buffer it at the switch level, or in the worst case, drop it.  As a wireless market data distributor, Anova has regularly seen its aggregation of raw equity feeds from a single exchange exceed 3.85Gbps and in certain cases, spike over 6Gbps!  These incredibly brief increases in data rate, called microbursts, are almost always affiliated with the market open or close.  Microbursts are created when the amount of egress bandwidth on an interface is overrun by the incoming packets sent to that interface for a very short period of time, typically microseconds. This means that the 3Gbps wireless networks deployed by other vendors are likely to get oversaturated with market data and even the purported best-in-class 7Gbps LMDS networks are in serious jeopardy of being insufficient to handle the data rates that are soon to be the norm.  Conversely, Anova’s 10Gbps backbone is positioned to accept microbursts without buffering, delivering the most deterministic and most reliable exchange feeds in the marketplace today.

Aside from buffer elimination, the second prime benefit is the latency benefit from using larger bandwidth for your own proprietary normalized market data, signal, or order execution.  Specifically, the current bandwidth “slice du jour” is 100Mbps, as most wireless backbones are 1Gbps or slightly higher.  With Anova’s 10Gbps backbone, we are now able to offer firms a dedicated 1Gbps for their own internal use, giving a massive latency benefit in serialization delay benefit alone.  Per the chart below, by moving from a 100Mbps circuit to a 1Gbps, firms would save a net 4.61 microseconds in a reduction of the sending window at a 64-byte frame size!  This figure exponentially trumps the 100s of nanoseconds that separate the current metro wireless networks in terms of mean end-to-end latency.

  

 

 

Honestly, it’s beyond easy math here – an Anova 1Gbps is far superior to any sort of sub-1G bandwidth, particularly if your company uses packet sizes above 64 bytes.  We are talking about tens and tens of microseconds of a benefit.

Summary

As wireless networks continue to evolve and market data feeds continue to grow, capacity now looms larger than ever in importance.  Latency benefits, microburst protection and strategy optimization all serve as major upsides to having more capacity though Anova’s native 10GbE platform.  Going forward, we’re going to continue to push the boundaries of what’s possible on all fronts of wireless radio/network development – latency, capacity and availability.  

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Or for more information about Anova Financial Networks, please call 516-567-6383, email [email protected] or visit www.anovanetworks.com.