INTERNET TRANSIT PROVIDER Tata Communications has announced a low-latency Ethernet service that offers firms service level agreements (SLAs) on network performance down to the nearest millisecond.
Tata Communications, one of the few tier-1 transit providers, announced it is launching low-latency network from six point of presence (POP) sites in Asia, the UK and the US. According to the firm the network can be used to execute stock exchange trades, with the firm telling The INQUIRER that it has seen interest from other industries where latency is an important performance metric.
John Hoffman, head of Ethernet product management at Tata Communications told The INQUIRER, "We will provide measurements on a RFC 2544 test that gives you a latency measurement on every packet size, so you can understand what the measurement was there, then we have our actual measurement POP to POP and we would provide data to see what, if any, variation is taking place. The final piece of data we would show [customers] is the SLA and that is a little bit higher. So for instance London to Hong Kong was 183.07ms but my SLA on that would be higher, we will round it up to the millisecond level."
Hoffman said that by providing millisecond level SLAs there is no opportunity for overselling bandwidth, something that the vast majority of transit and hosting providers do to try to turn a profit. He said Tata's low latency network uses separate network boards in routers and switches and in some cases bandwidth from outside Tata's considerable cable network.
Initially Tata will make its low-latency network available from six POPs in Singapore, Tokyo, Chicago, New York, London and Hong Kong, but added that other cities that will have low-latency POPs on its network include Johannesburg, Mumbai and Doha.
While transit providers such as Tata, AT&T, Level 3 and Cogent provide SLAs on uptime, for a growing number of applications high latency is like having no connectivity at all. µ