Feeds

back to article Microwaves thrash fibre on speed... if you like two-nines uptime

“Time? They ain’t making any more of it, so you gotta get in and get out, or you’ll get your f*****g face ripped off,” screamed an old Chicago Merc floor trader at my grad school class during a field trip. I nodded, like the rest of the class, figuring he knew what he was talking about and also not wanting to provoke this human …

COMMENTS

This topic is closed for new posts.

This post has been deleted by a moderator

Anonymous Coward

Re: Two Nines uptime...

That would be one less 9 than Azure surely. Three 9s is roughly 9 hours downtime a year. And the recent Azure outage was about 9 hours...

2
1
B-D
Joke

The only problem with microwaves

Is having to wait a minute for the container to regain rigidity.

5
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: The only problem with microwaves

Sounds like you're using an inferior container format.

1
0
Bronze badge

Getting rid off latency

Going to a radio link instead of fibre is a good trick, exactly the sort of thing the rapid traders want.

How long before they start recruiting comms intercept and jamming experts?

2
0
Silver badge
Flame

Run for the hills

Our societes are based upon financial transactions which involve no human interaction. (B)(M)illions of transactions per second which have the possibility of creating disasterous results for many of use should one of the algorithms fail.

Traders require faster and faster connexions and an increasing amount of transactions in order to obtain micro-centime profits on illusonary sales. Tha'ts just so sad and also frightening.....

I very much doubt that even traders understand how things really work today. They are basically playing the largest MMORPG in existence and they are using our money to do it......

13
0
Silver badge

Re: Run for the hills

And financial market trading which is required to support real trade in goods and services is a tiny proportion of total trades - nearly all of the market is just speculation.

That means when it goes wrong, there is proportionally almost nothing real to absorb the costs and we get left with the bill. That's why the market "jitters" are so damaging, it isn't underpinned with anything solid. Its a roulette game where everyone believes they can always win.

But back to the topic, could microwave be usable in place of fibre for Australia's NBN? 99% uptime is probably better than I'm getting with ADSL during the rainy season!

1
0
Silver badge

Re: Run for the hills

There is nothing wrong with speculation - as long as you are not forced to put your own money into it. Well, it seems like you are, thanks to central banking and "inflation targets" politicians can spend and pretend no-one is off the worse for it. Want to keep your savings and retirement benefits? Better go into "speculation".

Of course, once SHTF, those same politicians turn around, decry "speculation" and the oh-so-evil "speculator" (calling him "Jewish" is no longer à la mode, luckily) and want to put taxes on it. It's like hyperactive evil, childish and retarded gnomes in expensive suits who want want to fuck you up every time, all the time.

2
0
Meh

Re: Run for the hills

Heavy rain is one of the factors that causes that 1% downtime on microwave links. So maybe not.

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: Run for the hills

In the area of New York, presumably one of the other factors in 1% downtime is low flying arcraft manned by Saudi freedom fighters?

0
3

Re: Run for the hills

@OP

Sorry, as dramatic a picture as you paint, I don't think it's true to reality. An alogrithm (in this context) is simply a set of rules and those are rules written by people. Sure, the process may be automated but so what? Very few people work from purley mechanical systems because they are always prone to losses at some point because market conditions change.

"They are basically playing the largest MMORPG in existence and they are using our money to do it......"

So, have a go yourself. Anyone can access the markets, it's not difficult. Then you can risk your own capital, make your own gains - REAL GAINS, REAL LOSSES all based on your own ability and decisions. But be warned, the potential for success with financial and personal freedom is as real as the potential for loss and failure.

1
1
Silver badge

Re: Run for the hills

And you are stuffed if someone builds something in your line of sight.

What about the area around (or behind) the microwave target? Are you going to wake up in your penthouse apartment to to find the eggs in your refrigerator already cooked?

1
1
Boffin

Re: Run for the hills

If transactions can stand a tax of somewhere between 0.1% and 1% there must be some value in it for the rest of us. If they haven't, such transactions have no inherent right to exist. Charging such a tax would have a dramatic calming effect on these hyperactive markets. Professor James Tobin didn't get a Nobel prize without good reason.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tobin_tax

2
0

Re: Run for the hills

re: Line of sight - just how tall a tower will you need to get line of sight over 800 miles?

0
0

Re: Run for the hills

I presume you mean the bits generated in your computer and/or exchanges server as "REAL GAINS" ... . I can already imagine you eating the bits for dinner then.

The monkeys generating buy/sell orders over atlantic make no REAL GAINS. They do have a small arbitrage effect that is somewhat useful . But if 95% of the markets is arbitrage and only 5% are the guys who actually produce goods/services then by what logic can you say that market prices are rooted in something real (as in REAL gains/losses).

But hey shoot yourselves - I'll just let you guys play around the table (if you have music) while myself investing in real production capacity (agriculture).

0
0
Black Helicopters

Re: Run for the hills

> And you are stuffed if someone builds something in your line of sight.

Cue your competitors building a 'capenhurst tower' between the endpoints ...

(go see Richard Lamont's pages if you've not come across it before)

0
0
Silver badge

Going Postal

When people "explain" finance to me, I always refer to Going Postal. At the end of that book, financiers enter the fray. There is a brilliant passage which reads (approximately):

And they saved the city with gold more easily than any hero could have with steel. .... But it was not so much gold, or even the promise of gold, but more the dream that gold would be there at the end of the rainbow. Provided you did not go and look, of course. And that is called Finance.

You are a wise man, Terry Pratchett.

11
0

Business Continuity & High Availability

In any such trading environment, where they have plenty of (our) money to burn, I'd expect any sensible business to deploy both simultaneously and just use which ever was fastest for each message.

So 99% of the time they would have the speed benefit of the microwave link, but would fall back to the extra 0.99% availability of the fibre link rather than being down.

5
0
Bronze badge

Route variables missing

Having used microwave links etc. I find myself asking about the physical network architecture and hence actual data path.

One of the nice things about point-to-point microwave circuits is that they tend to take the shortest route and involve the lest amount of equipment. Whereas fibre being a physical cable is more problematic as their routing has to take greater account of the terrain.

I suspect that McKay Brothers will probably be wanting to become the preferred network for many existing Spread Networks customers with these customers using their existing Spread Network connections as fall back when McKay's connection QoS drops out of it's optimum operating window.

1
0

So how about...

...vacuum fibre? (ie instead of a glass core, a vacuum-enclosed tube instead [glass, or perhaps carbon nanotubes as they're the "in" thing])

How would that compare (assuming we could make them)?

1
0

Re: So how about...holey fibres bankman!

Already being made. See here for more info-

http://www.orc.soton.ac.uk/67.html

Challenge at the moment is making them in long enough lengths. Splicing also becomes.. challenging.

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: So how about...holey fibres bankman!

Came here to say the same as Jellied Eel. Even ignoring the multi-demented RI of a brick madness, hollow fibres alone made this pitifully naïve:

Water has a refractive index of about 1.33; a brick would be much higher. Air has a refractive index of 1.0003, while fibre optic cable is about 1.5 or so. So the maximum theoretical speed of microwave transmission is a lot higher than you can get via fibre.

0
0
Bronze badge
Boffin

Is nobody going to mention the obviously missing data buffers? Data is never sent raw, it gets bundled up into packets, encoded, buffered, framed, stored, forwarded, decoded, possibly re-transmitted, possibly re-routed, decoded again, debundled ...

1
0
Anonymous Coward

.5c

Given the speed in the article (356.9*10^10 MPH) I make the speed of the link to be roughly 0.5c - so obviously there are other factors than the refractive index of the media at play here. Is the speed of the microwave link really a significant factor here, or is this just wang-waving?

1
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: .5c

err, 10^6, not 10^10. Everything else stands.

0
0
Bronze badge

Re: .5c

Probably they are timing the round-trip time. It's a good idea to get confirmation from the far end...

i always worked on latency of 1ms per 100km or 60 miles (round trip).

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: .5c

Yup. Clearly "just wang-waving"

Marketeers hoping exchange procurement personnel are too stupid to see through ill-educated adman rhetoric.

0
0
Silver badge
Megaphone

Ooo you're so clever!

"It’s all about something called the refractive index, which is essentially how well (or poorly) light passes through a material."

Tsk.

For a site which deals with crypto and quantum mechanics on a regular basis (and sometime both together), that was rather patronizing. Plus it's basically wrong, in that the transparency of a material is a measure of 'how well light passes through'. In this context the refractive index is a proxy for the local value of c.

2
0
Silver badge
Thumb Down

"Fastest connection"

This is why I detest using "speed" as a measure in telecoms. They didn't have the "fastest connection", they had the "lowest latency". It's meaningless without bandwidth considerations (which are meaningless on their own too - I could send terabytes/day via the Royal Mail).

0
0
Silver badge
Pint

Water has a refractive index of about 1.33; a brick would be much higher.

You, sir, have qualified for understatement of the century.

0
0
Bronze badge

Re: Water has a refractive index of about 1.33; a brick would be much higher.

@theodore

Refractive index is a completely different thing to opacity. A brick is moderately transparent in some parts of the electromagnetic spectrum (think of parts of the radio spectrum for instance). As it happens, refractive index is just the inverse ratio of the propagation speed of light in the medium to that in vacuum, and is not, directly, related to opacity. For most mediums the speed of light is also a function of wavelength (or frequency of course). That's why in (most) materials transparent to light, a degree of dispersion occurs with different colours. Indeed that's a potential issue with fibre optics which is why the narrow spectrum emission lines of lasers are preferred.

Anyway, the upshot of this is that the refractive index of brick, in those parts of the spectrum where its relevant, is nothing like infinite. (For parts of the spectrum where it is opaque, refractive index is a meaningless term). For very high refractive indexes you need a Bose-Einstein condensate, not a brick...

1
0
Anonymous Coward

microwave down a tube

can we do this?

0
0
Megaphone

Re: microwave down a tube

That would be a waveguide, made of copper, and is often what is used for microwave transmission between the transmitter on the ground and the (dish) antenna up on the tower. Usually has positive pressure (air or nitrogen) rather than a vacuum, because moisture in the waveguide attenuates the signal and perfect seals are rare/impossible. So what's the speed in a pure nitrogen environment?

Icon: kinda looks like a parabolic dish...

0
0

Re: microwave down a tube

Yes - it's called a waveguide.

But they don't like bending, or being strung across everybodies heads like a microwave beam would be.

Also, in a tube the EM wave only travels at what's called the Group Velocity which might only be 60% of the free-air velocity, making it all pointless anyway.

0
0
Silver badge
Boffin

Faster? But what does it really mean?

8.x vs 12.x miliseconds.

So what?

Trading systems have servers local to the market and then a client who can be anywhere. So that the latency only impacts traders who are doing some cross market hedging or making markets.

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: Faster? But what does it really mean?

It matters a lot if you are market making or arb'ing between matching engines in New York and Chicago.

0
0
Silver badge
Coat

One of the very few facts I can actually remember from school is that clove oil has the same refractive index as glass.

Sorry, it's still not relevant or helpful, is it? I'll get my coat.

1
0
FAIL

I cry BOGUS!

The numbers posted here cannot be right. As Wikipedia puts it, this article appears to be full of original research.

1) 356.9 million miles per hour is a little more than .5c, so if that was the primary source of lag, the index of refraction of your microwave medium (air) would be almost 2!!! (Idx = c/v --> 671 M MPH / 356.9 M MPH = 1.88)

2) Another tidbit: 356.9 million MPH x 8.23 ms = 815 miles. And here I thought the "round trip" distance from Chicago to New York City was 1630 miles....

0
0
This topic is closed for new posts.