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Report from the OFC/NFOEC Service Provider Summit

By C. David Chaffee

By C. David Chaffee, Chaffee Fiber Optics

Andrew Bach, keynote speaker for the Service Provider Summit at OFC/NFOEC Wednesday morning, presented the daunting challenge the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) is facing--having to transmit millions of trades in microsecond timeframes.

Bach painted the picture of an ever-growing network demanding the newest communications technologies for the Exchange to simply keep up with the ballooning number of trades at real-time speeds. “A delay of five or six microseconds could cost several hundred thousand dollars,” he noted.

Bach made it clear that the NYSE is living in a terabit world. “Get me one terabit pipes, please,” said Bach. The Exchange currently uses 2.5 Tbps and the demand for more is going up quickly, said Bach.

What are the volume levels like? There are between 100,000 and 400,000 messages delivered every second on the NYSE itself. By the end of the decade, Bach said the exchange expects to grow to 10 million messages every second.

Whatever delay there does seem to be is related to the need for the exchange to store the information in its New Jersey data center, according to Bach. This is critical for investigations that might come in the future.

The NYSE is “now a heavy consumer of dark fiber; we are lighting it ourselves,” says Bach. An important advance has been the Exchange's ability to operate the data center remotely, a condition that was necessary recently as the result of blizzards in the area did not allow people to be physically present at the center as markets stayed open.

The Exchange currently uses 6,000 routers and switches, 200,000 1Gbps ports or below, and 10,000 10 Gbps ports, according to Bach.

What are the challenges? “As the bandwidth keeps going up and up, the jitter has to be brought down to near zero if not zero,” according to Bach. “We have far too many switches waiting in case something breaks. If I cant start putting in one terabit links, it's just not worth it.”

Likewise, latency needs to keep becoming less of a factor. It is one reason why the data are not encrypted for security purposes. However, as Bach points out, the data are no longer of use after a second or two anyway as they become stale after the newest trade.

Something else on Bach's wish list? Hollow core fibers, which he believes will also speed trades.

C. David Chaffee ( owns Chaffee Fiber Optics, a Baltimore-based firm that specializes in analyzing developments in fiber optics and publishing on the state of the industry.

Posted: 10 March 2011 by C. David Chaffee | with 0 comments

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