Zeptonics previews 5nanosecond dual-purpose network device – ZeptoLink

Sydney and New York - 20 June 2012

Zeptonics, a new Sydney-based financial technology firm, today announced an exciting new network device that delivers re-configurable network connections and packet replication with a negligible latency, making it ideal for ‘fan-out’ trading applications such as market data distribution and network monitoring.

The ZeptoLink is a 50-port layer 1 circuit switch that can electronically create a circuit between any of its ports, forwarding data in around 5ns – five one-billionths of a second – about the same time it takes light to travel through 1m (3ft) of optic fibre.

Each incoming network connection can be forwarded to more than one port, so it’s perfectly suited for packet replication and network monitoring, both with virtually no latency.

But the ZeptoLink’s unusual, patent-pending architecture lends itself to another use – as a new kind of top-of-rack device, an electronic patch panel that enables remote, hands-free network reconfiguration.

“We set out to build the world’s fastest data broadcast hardware, and we’ve achieved that by a huge margin,” said Dr David Snowdon, a Hardware Principal at Zeptonics. “But it turns out the ZeptoLink has another capability which is just as valuable.”

As a 1-to-1 top-of-rack device, the ZeptoLink promises convenience, flexibility and a reduction in total cost of ownership for businesses both inside and outside the trading industry. Instead of people having to physically go into a co-location environment or data centre to move cables around, ZeptoLink will enable connections to be re-patched remotely via a management interface.

As a 1-to-n edge device, the ZeptoLink will deliver competitive advantage to brokers, market operators and trading firms, by performing nearly 100 times faster than the multicast-capable packet-switches they currently use to broadcast market data, publish volatilities and monitor system performance.

“Our core mission at Zeptonics is to aggressively minimise latency in trading systems, and our design philosophy is to sacrifice flexibility, if necessary, in the pursuit of speed,” said Snowdon. “It’s a little ironic that, in addition to delivering a speed benefit in its primary use case, the ZeptoLink also delivers a flexibility and convenience benefit in another use case we weren’t even anticipating.”

“Considering both aspects of the device, the ZeptoLink could be deployed in almost any data centre to improve network speed, re-configurability and risk controls,” he said.

The ZeptoLink will be available in late 2012, and Zeptonics is currently fielding beta testing enquiries.

As a downstream-facing ‘fan-out’ device, the ZeptoLink is an ideal counterpart to the upstream-facing ‘funnel-in’ ZeptoMux[1], the world’s fastest switching device that Zeptonics announced in early June.

Interested parties can see a demonstration of the ZeptoLink and ZeptoMux at the SIFMA expo in New York this week.

The next innovation to emerge from the Zeptonics lab will be a new firewall designed to protect networks while minimising latency. Other solutions in development include the world’s fastest trade matching engine, risk-protected broker gateways, and bespoke consulting services.

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