Server cages inside the Equinix NY4 data center in northern New Jersey. (Photo: Equinix)

Server cages inside the Equinix NY4 data center in northern New Jersey. (Photo: Equinix)

HFN Lights Up Wireless Route Between Two Major New Jersey Trading Hubs

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Hudson Fiber Network has lit up a new wireless network connection between two of northern New Jersey’s most important high-frequency trading hubs: Equinix’s NY4 data center in Secaucus and CenturyLink Technology Services’ NJ2 facility in Weehawken.

The wireless route provides redundancy to the physical fiber route HFN has been operating between the two facilities, but the company says it is also about 40 percent faster than the fastest fiber route. That kind of reduction in latency has attracted interest from a multitude of financial-services companies, Keith Muller, HFN’s CEO and co-founder, said.

The NY4 data center at 755 Secaucus Road in Secaucus hosts primary infrastructure of exchanges operated by BATS Global Markets. The operator uses the facility to house BATS – the third-largest equity market in the U.S. – as well as EDGA and EDGX, which are securities exchanges BATS gained control of when it merged with their owner Direct Edge in August 2013.

HFN likely to benefit from BATS relocation to NY4

BATS was hosted at CenturyLink’s NJ2 data center at 300 Boulevard East in Weehawken before the merger, but in February of this year the company said it would move the exchange to NY4, where Direct Edge exchanges were located, to consolidate operations.

HFN may benefit from this relocation, since financial service companies with large footprints at NJ2 may want a low-latency connectivity option to NY4 to connect to the BATS exchanges without moving their servers, Muller said.

The route does not have too much competition, since the only other direct connections between the buildings are operated by two financial institutions, Muller said. He declined to say who they were, but BATS said it would keep a Point of Presence (PoP) at NJ2 to offer members direct connectivity to its exchanges at NY4. The other provider is most likely Nasdaq OMX, since it advertises connectivity services (including wireless connectivity) in both locations.

From Secaucus to Weehawken in 30.5 microseconds

HFN conducted the first latency tests on the new radio-frequency route about one week ago, reporting latency of 30.5 microseconds. That is latency before the signal enters the company’s Enyx box, which splits the service into different bandwidths, Muller said. The box adds another 4 microseconds, so total latency before the signal enters customer equipment is 34.5 microseconds, which is still a lot faster than the 59-microsecond latency on HFN’s fastest fiber route between the two locations.

The Enyx box also manages failover between fiber and wireless service in case there is an interruption to either one. “The unique thing about that box is when we have the fiber plugged into it, it’s an active-active-type solution,” Muller said. That means both the fiber and the hybrid route are constantly active, and packets lost on one route are picked up by the other and the data is reassembled at the other end.

HFN offers similar “hybrid” connectivity to the NASDAQ OMX data center in Carteret and to the NYSE Euronext facility in Mahwah.

The company uses wireless connectivity technology by ULL Networks – a Cary, North Carolina-based company. HFN is an exclusive provider of ULL services in the New York-New Jersey metro. When the two companies announced the partnership in April 2013, they said the goal was to eventually extend ULL services provided by HFN to four Equinix facilities in the metro: NY1 and NY4 in New Jersey and NY8 and NY9 in New York City.

NY8 and NY9 are located at 60 Hudson Street and 111 8th Avenue, respectively – New York’s most important network interconnection hubs.

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  1. It's crazy how much is spent on reducing latency from .000059 to .000035 seconds between two buildings. Yet, apparently that's what gives traders a competitive advantage. I wonder what the cost per microsecond reductions figures out to be?