Why Traders Should Never Deal with Data Lag Again

A few weeks back Jim, a newer client, called in panicked. He was super frustrated that he had just upgraded his trading computer to a new model and now had a horrible case of data lag. He wasn’t able to trade at all at this point. He was upset. Wouldn’t you be? If you’ve been in a situation like this before, you know what this does to a perfectly good day – takes it down a notch or two. Traders shouldn’t have to deal with data lag. In fact, I’m on a mission to call data lag extinct. Really, it shouldn’t happen.

Jim and I walked through some steps to troubleshooting his issue. "Jim – look, I don’t want to overlook anything in solving this quickly for you. How’s your internet speed?" I asked him. He assured me his connection was high speed. "Do me a favor, let’s test it really quick to we can mark it off our list of possible sources." Much to his surprise, the results were not good. In fact, his speeds were yo-yoing up and down to the point that every few minutes he pretty much had no connection at all. He was surprised. "I just assumed because my computer was working one minute and not the next that something was up with the hardware," Jim responded.

We have all done this. We assume the problem is a big issue and overlook the small stuff. Granted, sometimes it’s a bigger issue. This wasn’t the case for Jim. He was panicked, couldn’t trade and immediately started thinking his whole setup was broken. Even a small kink in the chain can cause issues that cost us time and money.

That’s why there is so much value in knowing a few simple tips and tricks to solve computer issues as they come at us. Because they will. We can’t circumvent that – as much as we would like to.

If you ever come up against a data lag issue yourself, here is what you need to know:

1. What’s The Most Common Causes Of Data Lag?


Underpowered Processors

If you have an EZ Trading Computer, I assure you all of our machines can process real time data. However, lots of traders have older machines. This might be the source of your issue. Computer hardware has a shelf life of five years before it becomes so outdated that it is unable to keep up with advances in software and data speeds – especially for traders. Even computers you could go buy right now off the shelf at your local store, with i3 or i5 processors, aren’t going to get the job done for you.


Internet Speed

We often make the mistake of taking our internet speeds for face value. We check a box with our internet provider saying we want a certain speed, and assume that is what is being delivered to us at all times. This most often just isn’t the case. If you live in a neighborhood or area that has lots of users on your provider’s lines, it’s likely that your connection might ebb and flow depending on how many other users are logged on. Be persistent with contacting your internet provider if you are experiencing less than ideal internet speeds.


2. Why You Should Think About Upgrading Your Set Up


Upgrading Your Trading Computer

Ideally, your current computer should have a lifespan of 4-5 years. This is the easiest metric for you to use to know if you should upgrade. If your computer is from 2010-2011, you should consider upgrading. The primary reason for this is that older technology can’t compete against newer processors. Newer software has a much greater demand on your computer then it did 4 years ago. When it comes to technology, everything evolves together – processors, complexity of data, software, etc. Consider this: An Intel processor from 2015 is 191% faster than an Intel processor from five years ago.


Get The Fastest Connection Possible

We all want to spend one dollar and get two back. The point is you have to spend money to get access to the return on your investment. Paying for a high speed internet connection is one area that you should spend money. Don’t skimp here and select mid-tier speeds. In fact, get the highest speeds possible. As a trader myself, I have never once regretted paying my monthly internet bill. My internet connection is crucial to my ability to trade successfully.


3. Tests You Should Be Performing On Your Computer


Testing Your Processor

I can’t say enough about benchmarking your processor. This score allows you to view the processors performance abilities and compare this score to other processors. At EZ Trading Computers, we say that a minimum processor benchmark score for traders is 7500. I prefer a score more towards 10,000 (In fact, all of EZ Trading Computers installed processors score above 10,000). This allows some extra head room for you to grow with the machine over the next few years. I recommend using cpubenchmark.net. Punch in the model of your current processor and compare that to the processor in the computer you would like to purchase.


Testing Your Internet Speeds

Data lag should be a thing of the past. This means that you will have to keep your Internet provider in check. You can quickly and easily test your internet speed at speedtest.net. This is the exact tool that I used to help troubleshoot my client Jim’s computer problem.


If you experience data lag, you should:


Always make sure you are getting the internet speeds you are paying for from your provider.

PAY for the highest speed Internet speeds available to you.

Never trade on an underpowered computer – it’s definitely a gamble.

Run the tests listed above, and if you find out your machine is underpowered – upgrade. NOW. I guarantee it will be worth the investment.

Don’t put off installing any security upgrades, software upgrades, virus protection, and maintenance in general. It’s super important.