Zeptonics, a new Sydney-based financial technology firm, today announced production of a switching device with a latency of around 130 nanoseconds, the fastest in the world.
The ZeptoMux is the first of many next-generation solutions for latency-sensitive financial clients that are in development at Zeptonics. Founded and largely staffed by former quantitative traders and trading system developers, Zeptonics was conceived to solve problems encountered during the principals' trading careers. Founder Matt Hurd said Zeptonics fills an important gap in the market.
"The team at Zeptonics are re-thinking traditional approaches to latency challenges," he said. "With hardware, for example, most network switches include features that deliver flexibility, but deny you the opportunity to aggressively minimise latency. When designing the ZeptoMux, our engineers stripped out all non-essential functionality and created a streamlined 'race car' device to replace the broad-purpose 'sports car' switches currently used by the industry."
The 130ns ZeptoMux is an Ethernet device that delivers a fibre-to-fibre performance (including SFP+s) that's significantly faster than any switch on the market. A 10GbE 23-to-1 multiplexing switch, it is optimised for trading applications. The 24-port single rack unit appliance is scheduled for general availability in August.
Hurd said the ZeptoMux is designed to funnel messages from multiple downstream nodes to a single upstream service, and back again, as quickly as possible.
"That makes it perfect for co-located trading environments, and other speed-sensitive network scenarios," he said. "Unlike general purpose n-to-n switches, the ZeptoMux is an n-to-1-to-n device that's specifically engineered for financial market funnels, where low latency performance is in highest demand."
Through its rare combination of hardware know-how, software expertise and trading experience, Zeptonics plans to deliver a range of other hardware and software solutions to brokerages, trading firms, market operators, data centre providers and telco vendors. Offerings will include risk-protected broker gateways, network taps for security and performance monitoring, additional network devices, and bespoke consulting services.
Next out of the Zeptonics lab will be the ZeptoLink, a 50-port layer 1 device with a latency of around 5 nanoseconds. This electronic patch panel will be ideal for broadcasting market data, publishing volatilities, reconfiguring connections and performing other time-critical tasks in the trading ecosystem.
"Zeptonics is raising the bar and establishing a new paradigm in low latency technology through hardware and software innovation," said Hurd. "The world's fastest switching device is just the beginning."
 In a lab environment, the median delay from the start of packet entry to the start of packet egress was measured at 130ns (with an InterQuartile Range of 8ns) on the upstream path and 123ns (with an IQR of 7ns) on the downstream path. Measurements were taken on 1 million packets, using passive optical splits and 1310nm SFP+ transceivers with an Endace DAG 9.2X2 packet capture and timing card.