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$1.5 Billion: the Cost of Cutting London-Tokyo Latency By 60ms

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the aussies-still-jealous dept.

Network 158

MrSeb writes "Starting this summer, and thanks to the continuing withdrawal of Arctic sea ice, a convoy of ice breakers and specially-adapted polar ice-rated cable laying ships will begin to lay the first ever trans-Arctic Ocean submarine fiber optic cables. Two of these cables, called Artic Fibre and Arctic Link, will cross the Northwest Passage, which runs through the Canadian Arctic Archipelago. A third cable, the Russian Optical Trans-Arctic Submarine Cable System (ROTACS), will skirt the north coast of Scandinavia and Russia. All three cables will connect the United Kingdom to Japan, with a smattering of branches that will provide high-speed internet access to a handful of Arctic Circle communities. The completed cables are estimated to cost between $600 million and $1.5 billion each. As it stands, it takes roughly 230 milliseconds for a packet to go from London to Tokyo; the new cables will reduce this by 30% to 170ms. The latency drop will mainly benefit algorithmic stock market traders, but other areas like education, telemedicine, and POTS will also enjoy the speed-up. Perhaps more importantly, almost every cable that lands in Asia goes through a choke point in the Middle East or the Luzon Strait between the Philippine and South China seas. If a ship were to drag an anchor across the wrong patch of seabed, billions of people could wake up to find themselves either completely disconnected from the internet or surfing with dial-up-like speeds. The three new cables will all come down from the north of Japan, through the relatively-empty Bering Sea. In addition, the Arctic Ocean, where each of the cables will run for more than 5,000 miles, is one of the least-trafficked parts of the world. That said, the cables will still have to be laid hundreds of meters below the surface to avoid the tails of roving icebergs."

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158 comments

Bering Sea? (4, Funny)

wolrahnaes (632574) | more than 2 years ago | (#39423213)

Next, on Discovery's Deadliest Cabling Job...

Expanding bandwidth, ignoring latencies. (3, Interesting)

unixisc (2429386) | more than 2 years ago | (#39423397)

Why not just leave the latencies alone? It's not like one gets cumulative latencies - the 230ms is constant in time.

I guess the Bering Sea will be the crosspoint b/w the Siberia-Alaska railline that the Russkies want to build, and this cable that runs from the Arctic to the South. Probably run it along the Kamchatka peninsula coastline, then across to Sakhalin, Japan, then on to Taiwan, Philippines and along the S China Sea to Singapore on one end, and on the other, from Philippines, run it along to Papua New Guinea and then Australia and New Zealand. From Singapore, they could run a line to India, and get enhanced bandwith in that country.

Re:Expanding bandwidth, ignoring latencies. (2)

currently_awake (1248758) | more than 2 years ago | (#39423495)

You get the added benefit of not routing your economy through the NSA.

Re:Expanding bandwidth, ignoring latencies. (2)

EdIII (1114411) | more than 2 years ago | (#39423663)

As if the UK is going to be any better? If it is a race to fascist totalitarianism than the UK is currently leading with the US and Australia trailing behind....

Re:Expanding bandwidth, ignoring latencies. (1)

necro81 (917438) | more than 2 years ago | (#39425883)

The length of the cable is significantly shorter (by thousands of km), therefore the latency is pretty much guaranteed to be shorter. I don't think latency is as big a motivation as some would believe, but reduced latency is always a plus.

The NEW LCD cables! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39423279)

* Note: May have abnormally large undocumented input latency.

Quake Servers (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39423295)

Oh awesome, now I can play on japanese quake servers!

Also good for gamers (1)

idontusenumbers (1367883) | more than 2 years ago | (#39423299)

Quake 3 on a 230ms connection would be awful. 170 might at least be playable.

Re:Also good for gamers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39423373)

Quake 3 on a 230ms connection would be awful. 170 might at least be playable.

Actually it's immensely fun! :D

Re:Also good for gamers (2)

mercnet (691993) | more than 2 years ago | (#39423427)

I played on a 56k modem that averaged to about 500ms. You quickly learn how to lead railgun shots.

Re:Also good for gamers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39424023)

You think you're old? I used 16K modems for arpnet and early games. Kid, get off my lawn.

Re:Also good for gamers (4, Funny)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 2 years ago | (#39424213)

I think chess games via postal service may win the latency contest.

Re:Also good for gamers (1)

MiniMike (234881) | more than 2 years ago | (#39425951)

Oh you kids and your new-fangled postal service! When I was a kid we would carve our next game move onto a rock and wait for the glacier to deliver it. And we liked it that way.

Now where did my fiber go....

Re:Also good for gamers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39424441)

hc gamers often says 20ms ping is "good" but then again, theres scientific evidence even 10ms latency can be detected by some people...

anime (1)

SnarfQuest (469614) | more than 2 years ago | (#39423303)

If it means I can watch anime better, then it's worth it. Girls in maid uniforms operating giant robots rule!

Forget the lasers... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39423331)

...fire up the neutrino cannons!

Millisecond trading (5, Interesting)

Michael Woodhams (112247) | more than 2 years ago | (#39423345)

Investing in shares for time spans of months is of general benefit to the economy, directing investment dollars to those best able to use them. Millisecond trading is of no benefit to anyone except millisecond traders, and any money they make is at the expense of people trying to do something productive. I propose that stock markets shift to a 'clock pulse' trading model: Trade bids for (e.g.) Apple are accumulated for (e.g.) 5 seconds and then all sales are resolved without regard for the order in which the bids arrived. This will cause no problems to real investors, but will rid us of the millisecond leaches.

However, I am not experienced with the share market, so constructive criticism is welcome.

Re:Millisecond trading (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39423405)

Actually investing in shares doesn't really help the economy at all. When you buy a share the only person who benefits is the person who sold it to you. It helps the company not at all. The only reason companies care about their share price is because the upper management is appointed by people who currently own those shares and hope to get rich(er) by selling them one day.

Re:Millisecond trading (1)

Michael Woodhams (112247) | more than 2 years ago | (#39423463)

IPOs and share issues help the economy, but nobody would buy these shares if there wasn't a way to recover the investment (hopefully with a profit) later. The only shares I own were purchased directly from the issuing company. (Which reminds me - it is over a year since I looked at their value. Crud - they're both doing horribly.)

The share market also provides a mechanism for takeovers and mergers.

Re:Millisecond trading (1)

umghhh (965931) | more than 2 years ago | (#39425751)

I think GP's post was aimed at the leaches i.e. automatic trade machines and other such things used in so called High Frequency Trading which is a legalized fraud (as they can look in the future of other traders). There was interesting debate [economist.com] recently so you can have a look and see for yourself.

Re:Millisecond trading (2)

0123456 (636235) | more than 2 years ago | (#39423481)

When you buy a share the only person who benefits is the person who sold it to you. It helps the company not at all.

While I generally agree that the stock market is mostly legalised gambling with trillions of dollars, the last company I worked for was only able to buy up a couple of its ailing competitors by a mix of cash and share swaps; had the price been significantly lower that would not have been possible because it would have required far too much cash.

Re:Millisecond trading (1)

0olong (876791) | more than 2 years ago | (#39423419)

What you propose is irrelevant. The stock markets are operated by the same people that benefit from HFT. They have no incentive to change. If you don't like that, make your own market place. Of course, to do so requires a lot of money and power, which you probably don't have unless you're one of said people to begin with.

Re:Millisecond trading (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39425105)

> If you don't like that, make your own market place. Of course, to do so requires a lot of money and power[...]

What about voting laws forbidding continuous quotation, and have just one daily or monthly fix ?

Re:Millisecond trading (1)

DarkOx (621550) | more than 2 years ago | (#39425823)

Outside of the occasional "flash crash", which by the way have been mostly handled by the SEC reversing sales and pushing the reset button pretty effectively, I see HFT as mostly harmless. It might not add any value to the enterprises being traded but it makes the market better for investors not worse over all. The more orders out there at any time means the better shot an actual investor has at having their order filled when the want it.

Liquidity in the market is a good thing. I don't have to wonder if my shares will sell, I know I can push the button if selling and KNOW there will be buyers, or I can push buy and KNOW there will be sellers for the other side of the transaction.

Less transactions would mean potentially having to wait for a buyer or seller (okay not really pre-HFT electronic trading was already pretty quick) or worse having my order actually move the market by driving up or down the bid, in order to find buyers or sellers strike prices. By having tons of HFT machines out there ready to pounce on any movement of a few hundredths of cent off the current ask, actual investors get a solid price book.

Re:Millisecond trading (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39423433)

Cross-exchange arbitrage strategies are typically performed by servers located as close the the midpoint of the cabling between them as possible. Perhaps it's time to speculate on Alaskan rack space.

Parasitic trading (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39423499)

Parasitic trading is tolerated not desired. It diverts profit from investors into traders, reducing the number of investors in a market by reducing the profits they can make and thus reducing the capital available to companies. Fewer companies go to the stock market to obtain capital as a result.

So yeh, you basically understood it correctly, however it has little to do with 'share' trading, rather derivatives.

The derivatives market far outweighs the shares market these days. These are pure bets stuff like: "derivative X pays out k(Z-W) for each cent asset Z rises above (K+U+Y)/3.... ladies and gentlemen place your bets I will spin the wheel". It's a bookies pure bet.

Unlike a proper bookies, Wallstreet pays out more money that it receives, so banks around the world place bets on these derivatives in order to make money. The banks and Wallstreet can afford to buy cables, it's pocket change since the underlying asset may only be a shopping mall worth $50 million, but the derivatives derived from that can be worth billions since it's a virtual asset with no real value beyond the fact it pays out a profit.

In a good year (when they take more money than they pay out) Wallstreet awards themselves big fat bonus's, in a bad year, the Fed extends them more credit against smaller assets. So overall, because they pay out more than they take in, their borrowing leverage increases. Today it's something like 30:1 or more.

The Fed says 'the loans were good we got all the money back', but that's a lie. They print money against 'Linden dollars', Wallstreet buys assets that pay out enough to cover the interest with that cash, Wallstreet borrows against those new assets, and pays back the money borrowed against the 'Linden dollars'. The Fed says 'hey look we got all our 'Linden loans' back', Wallstreet gets to own a real asset, everyone holding dollars has been silently robbed by inflation.

But hey - faster internet! /rant

Yay self-destruction (4, Insightful)

billcopc (196330) | more than 2 years ago | (#39423347)

"The latency drop will mainly benefit algorithmic stock market traders"

In other words, these cables will help machines ruin the global economy.

A part of me is kind-of glad they're speeding this up. We all know the system is destined to break, so the sooner that happens, the sooner people will wake the fuck up and demand change.

Re:Yay self-destruction (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39423375)

Stock market doesn't mean shit about the economy. It's not a "good economy" when stocks go up--it's just inflation.

Re:Yay self-destruction (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39423977)

It's funny. But idiot's like the GP don't understand that speculators like me make money up and down in the market. I don't care one way or the other, I can make money in either direction.

Re:Yay self-destruction (4, Insightful)

isorox (205688) | more than 2 years ago | (#39424053)

It's funny. But idiot's like the GP don't understand that speculators like me make money up and down in the market. I don't care one way or the other, I can make money in either direction.

For every cent you make, someone else loses it. You're like the sad people in vegas that spend their lives camped on the slots, the only difference is you gamble with other peoples money.

Re:Yay self-destruction (4, Insightful)

bgarcia (33222) | more than 2 years ago | (#39424607)

For every cent you make, someone else loses it.

Yes, because there is a fixed amount of wealth in the world in all of history, and nobody ever increases society's wealth, correct?

Re:Yay self-destruction (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39424735)

Well, most assuredly no leeching micro-sec stock trader ever increased anything but his own personal wealth

Re:Yay self-destruction (2)

Wildclaw (15718) | more than 2 years ago | (#39425085)

Yes, because there is a fixed amount of wealth in the world in all of history, and nobody ever increases society's wealth, correct?

Except that we weren't talking about wealth, we were talking about currency. And excluding stabilizing inflation mechanics, yes the currency is basically fixed.

To actually increase wealth, you need to have people being able and wanting to spend money on actual wealth refinement, and people able and willing to provide said work.

And if you want to know why so much of economic theory is bullshit, you just have to look at how much of it ignores if people actually are able/willing/wanting to spend/work.

Re:Yay self-destruction (1)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 2 years ago | (#39424253)

using hundreds of millions dollars worth of work time for it means shit for economy though..

and probably the op was referring to stocks getting prices not based on their worth, but by algorithms which trade with other algorithms which trade based on what other people trade and not based on what the actual company worth is or is going to be.

who gives a shit though? also automatic traders will have serves in japan if they're trading in japan so this(new cabling) isn't really going to matter at all to them. this will matter if you want to skype to your friend in japan/china though. skype and chinese players digging for wow gold. that's who it matters to.

Re:Yay self-destruction (2)

petermgreen (876956) | more than 2 years ago | (#39425575)

also automatic traders will have serves in japan if they're trading in japan so this(new cabling) isn't really going to matter at all to them

The traders it matters to are those engaging in arbitrage.

Many things (stocks, commodities, derivitives whatever) are traded on more than one market. Each market develops a price for the thing. Prices in the different markets are held reasonablly close by people engaging in arbitrage (buying in one market and selling in another). The lower you latency you have to BOTH markets the lower the risk that prices will shift to an unfavorable position while you are in the middle of executing your arbitrage.

Hundreds of meters below the surface? (2)

Compaqt (1758360) | more than 2 years ago | (#39423359)

Surface of the water or of the seabed?

I'd say you wouldn't need more than a few meters below the seabed.

On the other hand, since the depth of the ocean may vary considerably, what sense does it even make to say they're burying it hundreds of meters below the surface of the water?

That's like specifying underground land line depth in feet below the mesosphere.

Re:Hundreds of meters below the surface? (1)

bryan1945 (301828) | more than 2 years ago | (#39423729)

I was kind of wondering the same thing-
"That said, the cables will still have to be laid hundreds of meters below the surface to avoid the tails of roving icebergs."
I thought all ocean cables were put on the seabed floor, which generally are fairly deep.

Re:Hundreds of meters below the surface? (2)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 2 years ago | (#39424225)

Because the surface is where the hazards float: Shipping and iceburgs. The most dangerous thing you'll find on the bottom are sharks, that are rather fond of cables. It's the magnetic field from the repeater power current - screws with the shark's field sense, makes them confused.

Not much ship traffic but if something does happen (1)

erice (13380) | more than 2 years ago | (#39423383)

Making repairs is a going to be major undertaking.

Looking at the map, latency could be reduced further by routing via the North Pole. Of course that makes the troubles with laying and repairing the cables even worse.

Neutrinos (4, Interesting)

mbone (558574) | more than 2 years ago | (#39423441)

If you want to cut latency, communicate through the Earth with neutrinos [scientificamerican.com]. If we could just get the bit rate up some (from the current 0.1 bps), you could communicate to anywhere on Earth with a one way time of 40 milliseconds.

Re:Neutrinos (3, Insightful)

Michael Woodhams (112247) | more than 2 years ago | (#39423787)

That would be from anywhere on Earth with a high intensity particle accelerator to anywhere on Earth with a huge particle detector buried hundreds of metres underground.

Re:Neutrinos (4, Interesting)

erice (13380) | more than 2 years ago | (#39423795)

That's true as long as it doesn't take any time to detect and decode a signal sent with neutrinos. Neutrinos are not electrons and trying to extract a signal from them is challenging enough that, in the near term, the computational latency would likely dwarf the transit time.

Re:Neutrinos (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39424925)

Slashdot definitely needs new moderation options. I suggest these from Mythbusters: Confirmed, Plausible and Busted. Your post is +5 Busted! ;-)

Re:Neutrinos (1)

InterGuru (50986) | more than 2 years ago | (#39425379)

It's already been done [physicsworld.com].

The first ever transmission of information using a beam of neutrinos has be achieved by physicists in the US. The demonstration is highly preliminary – it operates at less than 1 bit/s – and will require a lot of development before it can have any useful application. Nevertheless, the work proves a concept that physicists have been contemplating for years and that could ultimately be used in situations where other means of communications are not feasible.

.

Latency? We don't need no stinkin' latency (1)

hemo_jr (1122113) | more than 2 years ago | (#39425637)

Using neutrinos is positively slow compared to quantum entanglement communication. This would eliminate latency completely and allow the masters of the universe to do their trades even faster than OPERA thought their neutrinos were going..

Re:Latency? We don't need no stinkin' latency (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39425977)

"eliminate latency completely"

"allow the masters of the universe to do their trades even faster"

Now I'm not sure if it's a bad thing or a good thing that quantum entanglement can't be used for communication...

$600 million or $1.5 billion? Depends (4, Funny)

hoggoth (414195) | more than 2 years ago | (#39423447)

The higher estimate of $1.5 billion is contingent on using Monster Cables.

Re:$600 million or $1.5 billion? Depends (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39423459)

Such a ridiculous figure to spend on infrastructure!!

That amount could support a middle eastern war for almost a week!

Re:$600 million or $1.5 billion? Depends (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39425445)

Dwight: With the energy needed to keep Meredith alive, we could power a small fan for 2 days.

You made me lol.

Re:$600 million or $1.5 billion? Depends (3, Funny)

0123456 (636235) | more than 2 years ago | (#39423485)

The higher estimate of $1.5 billion is contingent on using Monster Cables.

Wall Street can afford to buy the best.

Re:$600 million or $1.5 billion? Depends (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39423555)

...Monster Cables...

As long as it's the Godzilla one.

Posting doesn't match up with the speed of light (1)

NumberField (670182) | more than 2 years ago | (#39423473)

The entire circumference of the globe is about 24000 miles, which takes light 128ms (in a vacuum). The article's claim that the current time to send a packet from London to Tokyo is 230ms therefore seems doubtful. In this time, light can go 42840 miles in a vacuum -- or nearly twice around the the entire distance around the world (24091 miles). Light in a fiber is about 35% slower, but this still leaves time for 37177 miles.

Re:Posting doesn't match up with the speed of ligh (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39423489)

Because internet traffic isn't converted or delayed while it goes around the world.

Re:Posting doesn't match up with the speed of ligh (3, Insightful)

ModernGeek (601932) | more than 2 years ago | (#39423491)

Yeah, but the packets have to be routed, and that takes time, too.

Re:Posting doesn't match up with the speed of ligh (2)

doshell (757915) | more than 2 years ago | (#39423511)

You also have to account for the queueing delay at the routers, which are store-and-forward devices. That said, I really have no clue whether 230ms is a realistic number.

Re:Posting doesn't match up with the speed of ligh (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39423673)

If it travels through USA, it seems reasonable:

$ ping visitfinland.ru
PING visitfinland.ru (109.70.163.2): 56 data bytes
64 bytes from 109.70.163.2: icmp_seq=0 ttl=55 time=199.910 ms
64 bytes from 109.70.163.2: icmp_seq=1 ttl=55 time=198.688 ms
64 bytes from 109.70.163.2: icmp_seq=2 ttl=55 time=203.657 ms
64 bytes from 109.70.163.2: icmp_seq=3 ttl=55 time=202.524 ms
64 bytes from 109.70.163.2: icmp_seq=4 ttl=55 time=202.258 ms
64 bytes from 109.70.163.2: icmp_seq=5 ttl=55 time=201.571 ms
64 bytes from 109.70.163.2: icmp_seq=6 ttl=55 time=200.485 ms
^C
--- visitfinland.ru ping statistics ---
7 packets transmitted, 7 packets received, 0.0% packet loss
round-trip min/avg/max/stddev = 198.688/201.299/203.657/1.579 ms

Those pings were sent from California.

Re:Posting doesn't match up with the speed of ligh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39424199)

These pings were sent from the east coast of Canada...

cloud@cloud00:~$ ping visitfinland.ru
PING visitfinland.ru (109.70.163.2) 56(84) bytes of data.
64 bytes from ip2-163.seclan.com (109.70.163.2): icmp_req=1 ttl=56 time=133 ms
64 bytes from ip2-163.seclan.com (109.70.163.2): icmp_req=2 ttl=56 time=135 ms
64 bytes from ip2-163.seclan.com (109.70.163.2): icmp_req=3 ttl=56 time=135 ms
64 bytes from ip2-163.seclan.com (109.70.163.2): icmp_req=4 ttl=56 time=133 ms
64 bytes from ip2-163.seclan.com (109.70.163.2): icmp_req=5 ttl=56 time=134 ms
64 bytes from ip2-163.seclan.com (109.70.163.2): icmp_req=6 ttl=56 time=133 ms

Re:Posting doesn't match up with the speed of ligh (4, Informative)

Sneeka2 (782894) | more than 2 years ago | (#39423695)

I really have no clue whether 230ms is a realistic number.

I currently get a 431ms Japan <> UK ping on a pretty mediocre Japanese ADSL line in the country side.
So, yes, that's realistic.

Re:Posting doesn't match up with the speed of ligh (1)

isorox (205688) | more than 2 years ago | (#39424099)

I really have no clue whether 230ms is a realistic number.

I currently get a 431ms Japan <> UK ping on a pretty mediocre Japanese ADSL line in the country side.
So, yes, that's realistic.

I imagine the route goes via the highly-congested south-east asia area, or possibly even via the U.S.

London to Tokyo is about 6,000 miles via Sibera. Via undersea cables through the red sea it's nearer 12,000 miles. Via the states it's also about 12,000 miles.

I haven't got any private lines to Tokyo, but my line to Singapore runs about 220ms IIRC.

Re:Posting doesn't match up with the speed of ligh (1)

AHuxley (892839) | more than 2 years ago | (#39423615)

Uk, many severs (US base), water, loops around natural and unnatural problems, Japan (US base), many severs.
Even if the UK and Japan side offer real dedicated vs best effort, you still have to move around both regions before you hit pure new optical.
Peering, telco deals can all send your packets for small or long loops before they get to fancy new projects.

Re:Posting doesn't match up with the speed of ligh (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39423697)

Light doesn't flow cleanly through fiber, it bounces around *a lot*. There is also the delay of routing, and as you mentioned, the lower speed of light in glass.

Re:Posting doesn't match up with the speed of ligh (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39423709)

Latency is to-and-from. Also, the path isn't direct. The sea floor is first mapped, and the route is planned to avoid natural obstacles. An example would be New York to L.A. is 2443 miles, but driving distance (according to Google Maps) is 2790 miles, a 13% difference. Ocean floors have mountain ranges, cliffs, tectonic features etc... that all need to be avoided.

The cable being layed is generally a one-size-fits-all design once it's in deep water, what with it being hundreds of miles long. It's cheaper to map and avoid obstacles, then design a cable that can cope.

Re:Posting doesn't match up with the speed of ligh (1)

mr_walrus (410770) | more than 2 years ago | (#39423871)

fibre optic repeaters (amplifiers) had huge latencies (relatively speaking.)

Re:Posting doesn't match up with the speed of ligh (1)

MiG82au (2594721) | more than 2 years ago | (#39423911)

You must live in a vacuum if you've never pinged overseas and gotten a result longer than 2*distance/c. Also amazing is that you're not able to imagine why going through *at least* a half a dozen routers and many repeaters would slow the signal down.

Re:Posting doesn't match up with the speed of ligh (1)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 2 years ago | (#39424277)

and distance between tokyo and london (short) is just 5900 miles.

(but of course the cable doesn't go direct.. just saying that circumference of the globe isn't that useful to use in that)

Re:Posting doesn't match up with the speed of ligh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39425729)

What does the speed of light in a vacuum have to do with the speed of light in fiber optic media? How about the latency added by routers (and buffering)? Think McFly!

Re:Posting doesn't match up with the speed of ligh (1)

petermgreen (876956) | more than 2 years ago | (#39425803)

Unfortunately fibers don't run in straight lines from place to place and there are processing/routing overheads too. Even so based on my own test it seems the authors of TFA are making the newbie mistake of confusing one way latency with round trip time (round trip time ~= 2x one way latency).

Tracing route to www.jp [210.157.1.134]
over a maximum of 30 hops:

    1 1 ms 1 ms 1 ms gw-umain.ee.umist.ac.uk [130.88.118.250]
    2 1 ms 1 ms 1 ms gw-rh.its.manchester.ac.uk [130.88.250.14]
    3 12 ms 1 ms 1 ms gw-uom-rh.its.manchester.ac.uk [130.88.250.78]
    4 1 ms 1 ms 1 ms gw-man-rh.netnw.net.uk [194.66.26.105]
    5 10 ms 1 ms 1 ms so-1-2-0.leed-sbr1.ja.net [146.97.42.169]
    6 2 ms 2 ms 2 ms ae12.manc-sbr1.ja.net [146.97.33.157]
    7 2 ms 2 ms 2 ms ae1.man11.ip4.tinet.net [77.67.94.169]
    8 168 ms 168 ms 175 ms xe-4-1-0.sjc12.ip4.tinet.net [89.149.186.205]
    9 159 ms 159 ms 159 ms pacnet-gw.ip4.tinet.net [77.67.68.234]
  10 277 ms 277 ms 277 ms gi1-0-0.cr2.nrt1.asianetcom.net [202.147.0.58]
  11 270 ms 270 ms 270 ms ge-2-1-0-0.gw3.nrt5.asianetcom.net [202.147.0.182]
  12 279 ms 279 ms 279 ms GMO-0003.gw3.nrt5.asianetcom.net [203.192.150.246]
  13 274 ms 271 ms 271 ms c7-e-1-1.interq.or.jp [210.172.191.122]
  14 272 ms 273 ms 271 ms g-svc3-po-1.interq.or.jp [210.172.191.134]
  15 269 ms 269 ms 271 ms dfltweb1.onamae.com [210.157.1.134]

Trace complete.

So were are talking 270 milliseconds to get from my desktop at uni to a machine somewhere in japan AND BACK. Based on that the articles 230ms "current best case" figure is belivable as a round trip time but not as a one way latency.

76.58 ms claimed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39423487)

if you actually go to ROTAKS site at http://www.polarnetproject.ru/project.html , you'll see that in addition to Arctic cable they are also building a ground network with 77ms from London to Tokyo. Oh wait, the traffic will go through the evil Soviet Russia...

Why focus on Trading when we talk about latency? (5, Insightful)

grelmar (1823402) | more than 2 years ago | (#39423507)

There are so many internet applications where low latency is a win. VOIP, remote systems management, two-way graphical applications that for various reasons are location sensitive (there's more of these types of apps then you realize - think proprietary software that would be either illegal or economically dangerous to physically locate outside of NA or the Eurozone, including geophysical analysis software for mining/oil exploration, among other things)...

There are lots of scientific applications where latency is critical.

But oh, that would be difficult to discuss. Much easier to relate everything to a vilify-able application.

Come on, for once, talk about the benefits of a mega infrastructure project.

Oh, right... Slashdot. My bad. That's just not what we do here.

Re:Why focus on Trading when we talk about latency (2)

ThatsMyNick (2004126) | more than 2 years ago | (#39424095)

The only ones willing to pay a premium for the low latency are the HFT folks. I dont think, the masses who use VOIP, choose their ISP based on the ping time to UK (most go for the obvious bandwidth). I agree, it is a win for a lot of people, but it is paid for (atleast the initial costs) by High Frequency Traders.

Hosting @ Tokyo? (1)

coder111 (912060) | more than 2 years ago | (#39424283)

I am slightly confused. Unless you want to do arbitrage between London Stock Exchange & Tokyo Stock Exchange, why not host your algorithmic trading servers at Tokyo? I think these days stock exchanges themselves offer hosting for lower ping times...

Anyway, lower latency is always good, I don't really care if it's going to be used for HFT or not.

--Coder

Re:Hosting @ Tokyo? (1)

bjourne (1034822) | more than 2 years ago | (#39424475)

Because you want to do arbitrages between London and Tokyo? :) That's basically all HFT is about - finding which two exchanges values a stock differently and cashing in on the difference.

Still can't win call-in shows (1)

acidradio (659704) | more than 2 years ago | (#39423545)

No matter what they do to fix this, no matter what they do to reduce the latency I NEVER win any radio call-in shows. You would think this would help me be caller #25 but it never works. It's always busy or I just don't make that number :(

Re:Still can't win call-in shows (1)

Sneeka2 (782894) | more than 2 years ago | (#39423741)

Well, soon you'll be able to try your luck on Arctic call-in shows. I'd say the chances should be pretty decent there.

Couldn't we ban them from using it? (0)

Casandro (751346) | more than 2 years ago | (#39423805)

I mean I'm all for cutting network latency, but do we have to give it to banks so they will destroy our lives?

Re:Couldn't we ban them from using it? (1)

rahvin112 (446269) | more than 2 years ago | (#39424027)

A 1ms reduction in communication time can be worth millions of dollars for stock traders in Britain. If you know about a change in stock prices on a foreign market faster than your competitors then you can react quicker. You might be thinking that 1ms isn't enough time to matter but because most trading is computer based these days 1ms can make a HUGE difference because computers are doing the trading.

Almost the entire cost of this cable is already paid for and it's stock brokers that are paying for it precisely because that reduction in latency can make them more effective than their competitors. Be happy that they are paying for infrastructure that everyone else will be using.

Re:Couldn't we ban them from using it? (1)

Casandro (751346) | more than 2 years ago | (#39424067)

It's not like stock brokers somehow do something productive. All they _can_ do is to suck out money from somewhere or sometime else, sometimes even causing a _lot_ of damage doing so. So if we close the stock markets, or at least heavily regulate them, we'd all live better. Trim down the financial sector to the parts which actually benefit the population.

And I bet... (-1, Troll)

__Paul__ (1570) | more than 2 years ago | (#39423837)

...that American conservative politicians will appreciate getting their German pr0n that much more quickly.

Re:And I bet... (-1, Troll)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 2 years ago | (#39424239)

Nonsense. Those patriotic politicians will only watch the finest of American made gay porn! U S A! U S A!

In case you ever wondered how a sea cable is fixed (3, Informative)

bedouin (248624) | more than 2 years ago | (#39423931)

See this [slate.com].

Re:In case you ever wondered how a sea cable is fi (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39424767)

Good video here:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m6qTk5WNq9E

Re:In case you ever wondered how a sea cable is fi (1)

vinlud (230623) | more than 2 years ago | (#39425169)

But how do you pull up a cable from the ocean floor when it has all kinds of other cables crossing it?

Re:In case you ever wondered how a sea cable is fi (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39425935)

I find that this article is even better
http://books.google.com/books?id=ICoDAAAAMBAJ&lpg=PP1&pg=PA22#v=onepage&q&f=false

As someone working in Australia... (2)

dackroyd (468778) | more than 2 years ago | (#39424443)

with a head office in the UK, I think this is awesome.

Currently the packets between Oz and the UK either go through central Asia, where there is massive packet loss, or they go the long way round - across the Pacific, across the USA and then across the Atlantic.

The new route will probably shave 40ms off the ping time from Oz to the UK as well as be pretty reliable - and also not subject to US data monitoring.

Re:As someone working in Australia... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39424871)

curious... i'm in new zealand.. and the route usually goes via the US... 265 to 280 msec. but the route to osaka japan is around 140 msec.. this new route is going to be 170 from somewhere in japan.. not sure where.. but down to 170 msec. which means it should be higher latency

that said our routes go via australia.. which is 25 msec to sydney.. maybe northern parts of australia to uk could be lower?

asian latency from here can be pretty random.. some can go through the US... and sometimes the US is faster.. although japan/singapore/hong kong seem to go more direct usually.. pakistan etc often has terrible routing.

More coffee (1)

docilespelunker (1883198) | more than 2 years ago | (#39424539)

Any latency gain from a shorter cable will be dwarfed by the random caffeine deficiency induced latencies of the traders.

Surely swapping in a stronger brand of coffee would be vastly cheaper!

Besides helping a few traders.. (1)

Koos (6812) | more than 2 years ago | (#39424983)

There is also the good side that this will bring serious bandwidth to places where dialup over satellite is currently the way to get a bit of Internet. Scarcely populated places in northern Canada and Alaska will appreciate the chances of a bit more bandwidth!

Deja vu! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39425603)

Isn't this the plot to Cryptonomicon? Epiphyte(2) Corp., anyone?

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