McKay Brothers, a firm that sells high capacity links to trading firms, is connecting the financial districts of New York City and Chicago with a new network that aims to execute the fastest trades in the country. This new network, however, won’t be built on private fiber lines. Instead, McKay is taking to the airwaves, building a chain of tower-mounted microwave radios between the Big Apple and the Windy City.

Why is microwave faster? Electromagnetic waves travel at different speeds depending on the materials they traverse, said Gary Croke, director of product marketing for Aviat Networks(s avnw), the vendor McKay selected to supply its Eclipse Packet Node radios. Optical fiber has a much higher refraction index than plain old air, thus slowing down light waves moving through it, Croke said in an e-mail interview. By sending microwaves over the air, McKay is able to cut down the round-journey of…

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