SIX Swiss Exchange announced on Wednesday that it has started using microwave-based trading connections in Europe. The Zurich-based stock exchange launched the service in partnership with 12 Horizons, a microwave solutions provider. The two firms have formed a joint venture, 12H AG (12H), that will be responsible for providing microwave trading capabilities to traders.
Although fiber-optic cable is usually thought of as providing the fastest online connections, microwave technology is twice as fast. The technology isn’t new – the first microwave transmission took place in 1931 – but in recent years traders have managed to harness its power for high-frequency trading (HFT).
By using microwaves, traders can cut a few milliseconds off of their execution times. Not much for the layman but a huge amount for those engaging in HFT. Traders want to take advantage of lightning fast price fluctuations so speed is of the essence. SIX also claims that using their technology will improve liquidity, tighten spreads and enhance risk management capabilities.
SIX is now the first exchange in the world to operate and own a European microwave trading network. The exchange’s system will connect Zurich to London, Milan, and Frankfurt. It will also connect Milan to London and Frankfurt. 12H will be responsible for providing the technology that supports microwave trading but SIX will manage all customer relationships related to the service.
Commenting on the new service, Thomas Zeeb, SIX’s Head of Securities & Exchanges, said: “Introducing microwave technology represents a significant step towards creating the exchange services of the future and our strong commitment to provide customers with a single source for the best low latency services from and to Zurich.”