Latency: The Need for Speed

Internet Network

By Alan MauldinMar 8, 2016

Photo: Riot Games

Reducing the latency (delay) of network traffic between locations has been the focus for financial firms engaged in high-frequency trading for several years, but this is also a goal for gaming companies as well. In a series of blog posts, Riot Games discussed how they have designed their own latency-optimized network. When linking destinations around the world, comparing the latency of the various submarine cables is critical.

Submarine cables are laid to follow precisely designed routes that avoid major fishing areas, anchoring zones, sensitive environmental areas, and earthquake-prone locations. As a result, the latency on submarine cables varies considerably, given the fact that no two cables follow the exact same path.

In this chart you can see that the latency on trans-Atlantic cables can vary up 30 milliseconds. Hibernia Express and AEConnect, both of which entered service in the last six months, provide extremely short paths across the Atlantic. Ultimately, customers seeking the lowest-latency paths between specific locations must also consider the sum total of the latency from backhaul between submarine cable stations to data centers, and not just the subsea portion of the route.

Trans-Atlantic Latency by Cable telegeography-transatlantic-latency.png


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Alan Mauldin

Alan Mauldin

Alan Mauldin is a Research Director at TeleGeography. He manages the company’s infrastructure research group, focusing primarily on submarine cables, terrestrial networks, international Internet infrastructure, and bandwidth demand modeling. He also advises clients with due diligence analysis, feasibility studies, and business plan development for projects around the world. Alan speaks frequently about the global network industry at a wide range of conferences, including PTC, Submarine Networks World, and SubOptic.

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