Trading Data Delays - What To Do?

There's been lot's of reports of massive data lags this week and we thought we'd take some time to explain why this is and what to do when you see future lags. 

The lags this week were seen with CQG, Tradovate and GAIN data feeds. What many people don't realize is that CQG supplies the data to Tradovate and GAIN. So if CQG lags, they all do. For Tradovate and GAIN users, you got the same lag as CQG users.

Does this mean that CQG is bad?

Absolutely not. Over the 10+ years we've had close relationships with data providers, we've seen all of them 'glitch out' from time to time. Sometimes it's a one day event and other times, the provider takes a while to sort out the issue. None of them are immune. From my perspective, the tech team at CQG are great, responsive and very fast to jump in when there's an issue we need help with.

This does NOT mean that all lags are from the data provider. 

What you should do when you see a delay?

The symptoms of lags you can see when trading are: 

  1. Charts and Time & Sales/Market Depth out of synch - and you never know which is correct.
  2. Data stops coming in/platform pauses for a number of seconds.
  3. Fills occur at seemingly wrong prices (because price on your screen does not reflect current market).

When you see a delay, you need to figure out who to call - is it the platform or is it the data provider or your network provider? It could be any. Here's how to figure it out.

Reconnect - Data providers use "server farms" and sometimes you are simply unlucky enough to be connected to a server that has fallen behind. Think of it like a "bad line" when you make a phone call. You may have noticed that you can also get a "bad line" on Skype - even though there is no "line" - it's the same concept basically.

Connect to Another Feed - Get a demo feed from here and connect to that or if you have 2 broker feeds, compare the DOMs for the two of them.

Check Task Manager - Open Task Manager and check the CPU and memory utilization of your trading platform. If it's maxed out, then it could be a platform issue. Note that single-threaded platforms will only run on one of your PCs cores (Jigsaw daytradr can use all cores at the same time), so sometimes when you see the CPU at 12.5-13% on an i7 - that could mean a core is being maxed out. An i7 has 8 cores, so 100% of one of those cores is 12.5% of the total. 

Do the Wiggle Test - If your platform has CPU issues, you will not be able to drag the windows around easily. You will click and drag - but they won't follow the mouse. 

Do a bandwidth test - Services like SPEEDTEST allow you to test your bandwidth. If you are trading futures - check it against a server in Chicago and for stocks check New York. 

With this information - you'll have a good idea who to call first. That saves you a lot of time in running around hearing people say "it's not our fault". Share with them what you found and they'll appreciate you bringing them the info that helps them debug it. Videos & Screen shots also help.

At the time of writing, it's Labor day weekend which typically signals the return of vacationing traders. We'd typically see an increase in volume at that point, so be on guard for data issues for the next 2 weeks.

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