CME and Nasdaq Launch Microwave Link

Terry Flanagan

CME Group and Nasdaq OMX are launching a microwave link between the CME data center in Aurora, Illinois, and the Nasdaq OMX data center in Carteret, New Jersey.

“The connection utilizes innovative wireless technology to deliver market data faster than any fiber-based network,” said Julie Menacho, executive director of co-location business development at CME Group.

The connection, which will be used for market data only, not order routing, will offer market data delivery from Carteret to Aurora in under 4.25 milliseconds (one-way) versus 6.65 milliseconds on the fastest fiber route.

The CME Aurora data center will host a depth of book market data feed for 20 Nasdaq OMX ETFs, while the Nasdaq Carteret data center will host inside and depth of book market data for CME Group equity, currency and fixed income futures.

Although several of CME Group’s customers have undertaken to build their own microwave transmission facilities, it’s proven to be expensive and technologically difficult.

“That was difficult for them to navigate, so over the last 10 months we found a best-of-breed microwave provider to offer this service between Aurora and Carteret,” Menacho said. “CME Group is committed to delivering technology to the marketplace that is significantly lower than procuring microwave bandwidth independently.”

Strike Technologies, a trading technology provider, was selected to provide the Aurora-Carteret microwave link following an exhaustive search.

“Both CME and Nasdaq saw an opportunity to create a more efficient method for transmitting market data,” said Shawn Melamed, global head of commercial products at Strike Technologies.

Despite its limited bandwidth, microwave offers an effective means of sending market data from each location, using custom low-latency message transport. “They will use our network to transit proprietary data feeds optimized for low-bandwidth microwave,” said Melamed. “The protocol filters data to transmit correct depth of book, as well as correct for transmission errors.”

While microwave networks can be affected by severe weather events, the offering is designed to provide reliability of 99.7% while still providing ultra-low latency data.

A separate direct high-speed trading link, constructed by Verizon, will connect CME Group’s data center in in Aurora, Ill. to New York metro financial markets, offering an ultra-low latency round-trip route that bypasses traditional area “data hotels”.

The CME Group Aurora data center is home to the CME Co-Location Services offering, which caters to more than 100 direct customers, including global banks, hedge funds, futures commission merchants, proprietary trading firms, service providers and asset managers, who now have additional capabilities available for trading on CME Group’s platforms and exchange market data in a low-latency environment.

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