Gaming The Global Interconnection Landscape 

Ivo Ivanov, the CEO of DE-CIX an International, operator of the largest neutral interconnection ecosystem, which recently celebrated its 25 year anniversary, reflected on how latency is becoming the new currency, coining business strategies around the globe going forward. Celebrating InterGlobix Magazine’s first-year Anniversary, Ivo Ivanov is honored to be featured in the 5th edition, and largest to date,  along with many telecom industry leaders. Digital infrastructure and digital everywhere is DE-CIX’s mission, improving digital life for everyone. 

Ongoing digitalization has been accelerating despite the massive increase of digital use during the global pandemic. Economic activity and enterprises integrate and adapt from the analog to the digital sphere, including “virtual desktop to e-health, e-manufacturing, and the digital car – which all have something in common: they all depend on the purely physical characteristics of the speed of light.”

We may think of the speed of light as no greater velocity, it’s inconceivably fast and imperceptible. Let’s take this idea and stretch it. When adding distance between data traveling far, this causes lag we experience with pan-oceanic or long-distance video conferencing and calls. The delay may be a fraction of a second but not the same as communicating to real-time.

In the digital infrastructure industry, latency is known for measuring delay within distance that data travels around the world with examples like our audio and video signals, packaged digitally and sent across cyberspace. The goal for best performance practice is to minimize latency meaning that digital applications need to get closer to the users. 

In the digital world, time is money more than ever. Reaction time and latency are interconnected, as it takes time for data to be sent for processing or analysis and for a reaction to occur or a result to be visible. For getting a smooth reaction and good user experience when using applications that are hosted in the cloud, it’s vital to have low latency when making online purchases, gaming, E-learning and high definition streaming  etc.  

From a business perspective, latency issues cost you money and can relate to revenue. “Roboticics, AI-supported research and development, and the advances in the product development of the digital car would not be conceivable without the performance, security, and resilience that comes with the lowest possible latency.” 

Latency can be a lifeline, sensitive to our digital world. Real time first responders, e-health applications sending warning signals in emergencies, financial trading and sophisticated e-manufacturing systems are imperative to perform at their best. It’s necessary for a low millisecond range, seamless transmission of data with high levels of resilience/security, elements that are also closely related to low latency. 

“Therefore, when it comes to quality and infrastructure services, latency is the new currency,” says Ivo Ivanov, CEO of DE-CIX. In general use today, for a decent user experience, maximum latency for applications should not exceed around 65 milliseconds. In comparison “no more than 20 milliseconds is already necessary to enjoy an excellent level of performance”

Assuming the speed of innovation can continue to align with latency technology development, we anticipate the uppermost limit reduces to 20ms.Today applications, in reference to distance like “interactive online gaming and live streaming in HD/4K needs to be less than 1,200 km (745 miles) from the user’ In order to claim the lower latencies ( 1-3 milliseconds) the optimal range needs to be between 30-50 miles (50-80km). 

A world when a single cloud infrastructure or data centers were once centralized per continent serving people and business needs, now implement mini data centers in each interexchange. It’s the game of interconnection by keeping up with constant change and the growing dependency on low latency in the future of digitalization.

To hear from Ivo directly, click this link for a short clip about Latency as the new currency.