RCN Metro is laying fiber for a low-latency co-location and exchange-only network connecting the major bourses and data centers in the New York and New Jersey financial hubs, according to John Romagnoli, senior manager of product development at RCN Metro. The firm will deploy services on the network by year end, he said, eventually offering speeds up to 100 gigabytes per interface. The project will be “100 percent complete” in six months, he said. First described yesterday at the Wall Street Technology Association’s (WSTA’s) Emerging Hot Technologies conference in New York, Romagnoli, said “Project Mercury” will be the first to offer Wall Street “extreme low-latency, fault-tolerant and high-capacity” using “ROADM” provisioning technology. Roadm, or “Reconfigurable optical add-drop multiplexer,” enables providers remote routing, monitoring and provisioning of network bandwidth from a workstation, as needed. It makes, proponents say, for easier management to avoid bottlenecks, thus leading to faster transmission speeds than fiber optic networks with traditional controls can offer. “We’ll be the first to offer and support this to the financial services industry,” Romagnoli said. “Bandwidth will be deployed via software changes which will take days rather than weeks and months. It will be no less than a two terabit network from day one.” Because it’s RCN’s own network, the routing “allows us to cut several milliseconds of latency off a centralized model, which typically would have one or two data centers go back to a carrier POP,” Romagnoli added. “What we’ve done is cut that centralized mindset out of the design and connected everything to bypass that middleman, drastically reducing latency. As you can see, we’re connecting all the major data centers [and] as many exchanges as we can.” A network map Romagnoli provided at the conference showed the system connecting Bats, Nasdaq, NYSE Euronext; and co-location data centers offered by Equinix, Sungard, Switch and Data, Savvis, the Secure Financial Transaction Infrastructure (SFTI) and Telx. SFTI is a fiber network developed after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks by SIAC – now NYSE Technologies – the technology provider to the New York Stock Exchange, with a ringed architecture, diverse fiber pathways and built-in redundancies, business continuity features now ubiquitous but previously lacking in financial networks. RCN in April 2006 acquired Con Edison Communications, the former telecommunications arm of Con Edison, which provides fiber pathways for SFTI through Con Edison’s electrical conduits, which are underground fiber routes distinct from those used by other carriers, which often run stands through Verizon’s Empire City Subway pathways. Romagnoli did not respond to requests to confirm participants in the network. The exchanges and data center providers listed on the network map could not immediately be reached. When asked whether low latency was still relevant given regulatory proposals to ban flash trading, Romagnoli said: “It’s still important, because almost every technology is based upon a low latency foundation. No one is ever going to say give me a slower network.” This article can also be found at SecuritiesIndustry.com.

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