The scale of infrastructure involved in connecting the far corners of the world is something to marvel at. Data that travels along these networks journeys thousands and thousands of miles to get your information where it needs to be. Just look at the traditional routes that are buried in the seabed that go via the US and Middle East. While these networks do provide connections between Europe and Asia, in recent years, there has been a massive growth in businesses looking for shorter, more direct connections between the two regions. On what was a premium and niche network, demand has increased by 40 per cent in the last five years alone making it more a commodity.

To meet customer needs for a quick and reliable route, NTT has taken capacity on the new TEA-2. A fully terrestrial path that runs from Europe to Hong Kong over DWDM networks and extends to Tokyo, it provides customers with a direct network and offers lower latency to the traditional routes. The TEA-2 network encompasses around 6000 miles over land via the Russian Steppes (around a quarter of the Earth’s circumference, and three times longer than the total length of the UK’s motorways!) and should any problems arise, service can be restored easier and a lot faster than subsea cables.

John Hammond, VP Business Network Services at NTT Europe, has been involved with these routes for the last four years and explains some of the major benefits, “The increase in demand for this type of network is a good indication of the importance many businesses are placing on having a fast, direct connection between their Asian and European operations. One of the primary advantages of the TEA-2 network is that it makes up part of NTT’s ‘Gateway to Asia’, providing businesses with a direct connection to the region. The route, which terminates in NTT’s Hong Kong Financial Data Centre, opening early in 2013, offers latency of no more than 195m/s in comparison to 350m/s and 260m/s for alternative, subsea networks.”

Businesses needing low levels of latency are becoming ever more critical for many industries. Financial trading for example, relies on these fast connections so that traders can react quicker to changing market conditions, allowing them to make more transactions and increasing the company’s profitability. Around 34 transactions occurs every millisecond on the London Stock Exchange, representing an average of £6,500 per transaction – increasing the speed of the connection by 100m/s can have a massive impact. Low-latency connections are also in use in the wider business world. It can improve internal IP telephony and unified communications, making video calling a much smoother experience and is important when using the connection for large-scale backups or running intensive, business critical applications such as Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems.

The TEA-2 network is an exciting development in global data network and shows how infrastructure is responding to the needs of businesses around the world. Only five years ago this type of network would have been seen as a luxury, but NTT saw it as a requirement to having capacity on a low-latency, land-based network within the reach of many global businesses.

If you want to know more about the TEA-2 network, check out the NTT Europe website, tweet us or drop us a line.

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