Trading times are on the brink of becoming even quicker with today's launch of the world's fastest switching device with a latency of 130 nanoseconds.
"There was a time not that long ago when nobody cared about network devices and they were viewed as a necessary but not terribly important part of the trading process," said Josh Rose, principal at Zeptonics, who are manufacturers of the switch.
"The reason that was true was you might have several trading engines making a decision and those engines might have taken a millisecond to take in market data, run a model or a series of models and generate orders on the exchange.
"In an environment where it's taking a millisecond or 500 microseconds to make a trading decision - to be able to save a couple of hundred nanoseconds in network time really didn't matter that much.
"What's changed is that those modern trading engines now run at say one to five microseconds - we even have some experience with sub-microsecond trading engines."
Being able to save 200 nanoseconds either side of the trade in network time now matters much more, said Rose, where savings represent a higher portion of time budgets for trading firms.
The focus on low-latency has resulted in a stripping out of all non-essential functionality for the trader, according to David Snowdon, principal - hardware at Zeptronics.
"The way a switch is normally used in a data sense or in a company is every computer connected to the switch will be able to talk to any other computer connected to the switch.
"What we observed with an exchange is, you don't really want all the participants to be able to talk to each other over these switches. The only real communications path that you want is between the client and the service - the clients themselves don't need to talk to each other and in fact, you don't want them to talk to each other.
"All of the products on the market at the moment allow communications between all these different ports, so they do far more than they need to," Snowdon said.
"You're not using most of the functionality of the switch and that means we can design a much simpler product with much lower latency."