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IT Networking News

Low-Latency Network To Connect London And HK

 by Sophie Curtis

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A high-speed fibre network between London and Hong Kong could help decrease financial trading times

Financial traders and law firms are set to benefit from a new low-latency network between London and Hong Kong, which can conduct data on a round trip from Europe to Asia in around 176 milliseconds.

The cable network, run by UK-based trading technology company BSO Network Solutions, has been in place for some time, but previously had to route around large parts of Russia, due to difficulties laying fibre in that country.

However, a new lower latency and higher availability ‘Transit Mongolia’ connection has helped to reduce the time of a round trip by more than 20 milliseconds during the last 12 months. Improvements have also been made at BSO’s Ancotel point-of-presence (POP) in Frankfurt and Mega-I POP in Hong Kong.

“These modifications and improvements to the BSO Network Solutions’ Backbone enable us to offer the fastest network from London to Hong Kong,” said Scott Ritchie, Managing Director of BSO Network Solutions, in a statement.

New ‘Transit Mongolia’ connection

Ritchie told eWEEK Europe that large sections of the network run through Russia and China, both of which have assets and infrastructure that is either only used for internal projects or is “protected” (ie. hidden) for historic or security reasons. Recently, however, Western companies have been gaining a better understanding of how existing assets can be used for commercial benefit.

“In this instance, the improvements were made through better utilisation of the existing infrastructure through the Western Sector of the cable system through Europe and more significantly we have been able to replace the Trans-Siberian Section by activating capacity on the Transit Mongolia Path,” said Ritchie (pictured).

“This not only improves our latency but also adds further resilience to our Backbone as our former path has not been decommissioned but is being used as further protection to the new Ultra-Low Latency long haul route,” he said.

The new super-fast connection could allow high-frequency traders and professional service specialists such as law firms to gain a competitive advantage by rapidly sending and receiving large volumes of data from Europe to Asia. BSO’s deployment over Ethernet and Virtual Private LAN Services (VPLS) also makes networks more stable and secure, the company claims.

According to Ritchie, the media industry could also benefit from low-latency networks, due to the increasing demand for content and digital distribution throughout the production phase.

“Latency is a tool for any network engineer in any industry. It is about the return that a company wants to generate,” said Ritchie. “As is so often the case, the Traders are the early adopters and they are really starting to reap the benefits, getting access to new markets, new customers and new revenue.

“In today’s economy I believe that getting access to these three things should be every company’s goal,” he added.

New transatlantic submarine cable

Last week it was announced that a new transatlantic submarine communications cable would be installed on the Atlantic seabed at a reported cost of $300 million (£189m). The high-speed fibre optic cable, known as the Hibernian Express, will eventually stretch to 3,741 miles (6,021km), as seabed survey work begins on the east coast of America.

The cable will offer sub 60ms latency, and it will connect financial traders in New York and London. The company behind the project, Hibernia Atlantic, said the cable would initially be lit with 40Gb technology, which could be upgraded to 100Gb technology in the future.

“Demand for low latency routes has grown exponentially over the past several years,” said Bjarni Thorvardarson, CEO of Hibernia Atlantic at the time. “Project Express will offer the lowest latency from New York to London and provide demanding customers the speed and accuracy they require.”

The technology is available to the market now and CommScope said the Amsterdam Internet Exchange is already using it to achieve greater performance.

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Healthcare IT Infrastructure News

CeBIT: Quarter Of Germans Happy To Have Chip Implants

The head of Germany’s main IT trade body told the audience at the opening ceremony of the CeBIT technology exhibition that one in four of his countrymen are happy to have a microchip inserted for ID purposes.

Professor August Wilhelm Scheer made the comments at an event this week to announce the start of the show which runs until Saturday in the German city of Hanover. With around 4000 companies from over 70 countries expected at the event, CeBIT continues to be the largest tech show in Europe according to its organisers.

As well as foretelling the imminent demise of the CD and DVD, Professor Scheer said that implanting chips into humans was going to become commonplace. “The speed of the development is not going to be reduced this decade,” he told an audience of tech execs and politicians including German Chancellor Angela Merkel. “Some developments can already be seen. CDs and DVDs are going to disappear as material sources of information. Wallpaper will be replaced by flat screens and many of us will have chips implanted beneath our skin by the end of next decade.

Rather than being based on pure speculation, Scheer said that his organistion BITKOM had actually conducted research which had shown that a quarter of Germans would be happy to have a chip implanted if it meant they could access services more easily.

“We just carried out a survey and one out of four people are happy to have a chip planted under their skin for very trivial uses for example to pass gates more quickly at a discotheque for example and to be able to pay for things more quickly in the supermarket,” said Scheer. “The wilingness of the population to accept our technology is certainly given.”

Tech implants are already gaining ground in the field of healthcare. Last August saw the first US implant of the Accent RF pacemaker. Combined with remote sensoring capabilities, the Accent allows doctors to more efficiently monitor patients, while patients enjoy the convenience of care from home.

As well as his predictions for more outlandish technologies, Scheer also made reference to the rise of cloud computing and the disruptive effect it was having on the software industry. “Cloud computing is something that is going to revolutionise the software industry and mix everything up,” he said. “That is forseeable already but there are going to be many surprises on top of that.”

Scheer also commented on Europe’s role as an innovator and user of technology but admitted that countries such as China and India were threatening to catch-up and even overtake. “We are the number four in Germany when it comes to be using of technology,” he said. “Europe by the way is the largest user and we are even ahead of Asia. But the Asian countries are of course going to catch-up.”

Green IT was one of the major focuses for the CeBIT event last year with around 2000 square meters given over to a dedicated Green IT World.