The FIX Protocol
B2BITS FIX Engines
B2BITS Testing Services
The FIX Protocol
1. What is FIX?
FIX stands for Financial Information eXchange. It is an open
protocol owned and maintained by The FIX Protocol
Organisation. Essentially it is a universal messaging
'language' that brokers, fund managers and exchanges use to
communicate securities transactions. However, in itself it is not a
software application; it only dictates the format that the message
and the means of maintaining the conversation must take.
FIX messaging has multiple advantages over conventional trading
by phone and fax:
- Speed - execution occurs more rapidly after decision
- Reduction in error rates - through less manual involvement
- Time saving - traders can deal with more clients and trades as
each trade takes less time to execute and not all trades require
2. What is FAST?
FIX Adapted for STreamingSM (FAST) protocol is a
technology standard developed by The FIX Protocol
Organisation, to optimize communication in the electronic
exchange of financial data on the network. FAST, at its core, is a
data compression algorithm allowing significantly reduce bandwidth
requirements and latency between sender and receiver. It is used to
support high-throughput, low latency data communications between
financial institutions. In particular, it is a technology standard
that offers significant compression capabilities for the transport
of high-volume market data feeds and ultra low latency
3. Who uses FIX?
Brokers - enables brokers to accept more incoming trades by
reducing the time taken to process each trade.
Exchanges - enables exchange members to contact multiple
exchanges via a single process and to send orders more quickly and
more cheaply. With the performance levels achieved by FIX Antenna, we are ready to enable
exchanges to self-distribute quotes using the FIX protocol -
possibly over UDP - we can facilitate this at both the distributor
and recipient site.
ECNs and Crossing Networks - enables ECNs to come to market with
no need to force proprietary communications technology onto
clients, reducing barriers to entry and increasing potential client
base, as well as the benefits to all exchanges mentioned above.
Portfolio Managers - use FIX to access more pools of liquidity,
get better prices and trade more efficiently. By using FIX, rather
than phone or fax, portfolio managers can connect to significantly
more brokers and ECNs. FIX also enables brokers to receive
real-time market information either to track their existing
positions or to receive general market data including news, IOIs,
advertisements and quotes.
4. Why FIX rather than a proprietary electronic
To use an analogy, it is rather like working on a trading floor
of 20 people each of whom speaks a different language. Learning 19
languages would be a waste of resources and time; therefore most
people would only learn the few languages they absolutely needed to
conduct their business, tolerating some inefficiency in their work
to avoid up front costs. The better solution is to all learn one
common language - an Esperanto for financial markets - this is the
role that the FIX (Financial Information eXchange) Protocol
B2BITS FIX Engines
1. How does B2BITS FIX engine range differ to that of
The common language of FIX needs a translator from internal data
representations - a FIX Engine - in order that a firm can begin to
gain the business benefits of FIX. The business difficulty has been
that to build or buy such a translator has been expensive, so
comparatively few could justify such expenditure. FIX engines have
been affordable to, and implemented by, only the largest buy-side
and sell-side firms.
B2BITS has from the outset developed its software in order to
fulfil the original vision of the FIX Protocol as a lingua franca
for all financial market participants through the introduction of
engines (FIX Antenna) and services at affordable
FIX Antenna C++ is the fastest
performing engine in the marketplace, achieving 30,000 messages per
second on entry level hardware.
B2BITS views software without support as incomplete. We do not
charge license fees. All our products are sold on the basis of a
comprehensive contract which includes:
- A full technical support agreement
- All subsequent improvements to the software, including changes
to the FIX protocol and any improvements in functionality
- All improvements made on request by individual clients are
passed back to the supported user base unless deemed proprietary by
- Access to other value-added services such as testing and
In this way B2BITS' single incentive is to provide the best
possible service to our clients, as our revenues are dependent on
renewal of these support agreements.
2. Who are B2BITS' Clients?
References from the companies are available on request. We have
over 70 companies worldwide using our software.
3. FIX Engine - FIX Antenna Java
FIX Antenna Java offers outstanding
reliability, ease of implementation, and supports transformation
between different FIX versions and between FIXML and tag value
We have recently released the latest version of FIX Antenna Java
which has resulted in a significant performance improvement. The
Java engine is now capable of over 25,000 messages per second on
single processor hardware. Again this is class leading
4. FIX Antenna QF Adaptor
Antenna QF Adaptor was developed in response to high demand
from the open source QuickFIX© community users to achieve
substantial improvement of the latency characteristics of their
trading applications. It provides means for smooth migration
performance FIX Antenna C++ engine with no or minimal effort.
Users can get economical advantage of continuing using the open
source interface where performance of QuickFIX is sufficient and
leverage FIX Antenna C++™ on latency/ throughput critical
5. FIX Engine - FIX Antenna C++
FIX Antenna C++, formerly known as FIX
Antenna V12, is the industry leader in performance, benchmarked at
30,000 messages per second on a single processor machine.
FIX Antenna C++ also received the highest user satisfaction
rating for a Sell-Side FIX Engine Vendor in the FIX Protocol
Committee commissioned report European FIX User Survey. FIX Antenna
was rated on three metrics and received 4.5/5 for "technical
performance" 4.5/5 for "functional coverage" and 5/5 for "support
staff". In the overall ratings FIX Antenna was top with 4.7/5.
6. FIX Engine - FIX Antenna .NET
FIX Antenna .NET has been designed to
provide native support of Microsoft .NET technologies enabling
quick and easy integration into any custom .NET application. While
enabling all the benefits of Microsoft's .NET framework it retains
all the benefits of B2BITS class leading FIX engines. The .NET
engine delivers performance of over 35,000 messages per second on a
single CPU. The .NET benefits include the ability to manipulate
messages with the use of class hierarchies, properties and
namespaces, XML based documentation for all messages, and the
ability to generate structured messages. FIX Antenna .NET provides
an extremely easy way to integrate support of the FIX protocol into
any .NET application. It is specifically designed to improve the
productivity of .NET programmers even if they are novice FIX
7. FAST Antenna Codec
Antenna Codec is specifically designed to deliver high
performance. It has been benchmarked to decode more than 100,000
FIX messages per second and to encode more than 100,000 FIX
messages per second, 900,000 entries per second and 10,000,000
fields per second on average. This level of performance makes it an
ideal solution for exchanges, and sophisticated trading algos
consuming market data. FAST Antenna Codec is currently used in some
of the most demanding environments in the world.
8. What is FIXEdge?
FIXEdge is a server application that provides
FIX connectivity for standalone client applications. Client
applications communicate with FIXEdge through one of multiple
transport protocols (e.g. Simple Sockets, TIBCO, CORBA) employing
transport adaptors. It is designed to be as easy as possible to
install, configure, administrate and monitor trading information
flows. It is written in C++ and has a performance profile suitable
for the needs of all clients up to and including large sell-side
institutions and large volume traders.
The FIXEdge project was started with Sun Microsystems to be
marketed as a package that included two Sun servers configured in a
HA cluster with the FIX Antenna C++ Sun edition pre-installed and
configured (refer to Sun B2BITS
FIXEdge data sheet). Eventually, the project grew into an
autonomous selling product with a wide range of features that were
not included in the original package. The FIXEdge product has been
endorsed by companies such as Autex, Thomson Reuters and OMGEO as a
preferred connection mechanism.
9. FIX Engine Performance
FIX Antenna C++, our flagship product, is the fastest engine
currently available in today's market place. It can deliver over
60,000 messages per second on a single CPU and has been benchmarked
at 30,000 messages per second across 200 sessions. This level of
performance means it is an ideal solution for exchanges, sell sides
and program trading operations. FIX Antenna C++ FIX engine is
currently deployed in some of the most demanding environments in
10. What asset classes (Equities, FX, Derivatives,
Fixed Income etc.) can I use FIX Antenna to trade?
The FIX Antenna family of engines supports all asset classes
specified within the FIX protocol. This includes: Equities, Foreign
Exchange, Futures, Options and Fixed Income.
11. What versions of the FIX protocol do B2BITS
All of our commercial engines (Java, C++ and .NET) support FIX
versions 4.0, 4.1, 4.2, 4.3, 4.4, 5.0, 5.0 SP1, 5.0 SP2 and FAST
1.1. As part of the support and upgrade package which all our
Clients have, we supply upgrades to newer versions of the protocol
at no extra charge. This ensures your implementation stays abreast
of new developments as they occur, without any extra cost.
FIX Antenna C++:
FIX Antenna Java:
- Any platform with a JVM (Java Virtual Machine) available
FIX Antenna .NET:
13. APIs and Integration Paths
B2BITS offers a variety of APIs and integration paths to its FIX
Engines in addition to the engine's native API. You may select a
single or multiple API or integration paths. There is no additional
charge for delivering or supporting the interface.
The following interfaces are available:
- MQ Series
- Simple Sockets
- ACTIVE X / COM
14. How much does this cost?
B2BITS operates an annuity model for its' software. The license fee is
included with the annual support, upgrade and maintenance
fee. The fee starts as low as $2,000 per production machine*.
We also offer licensing models with extended support, OEM licensing
models, as well as discounts based on number of purchased licenses.
We do not charge additional fees for the number of messages or the
number of sessions. Backup, development and testing licenses can be
purchased at 50% of the production license cost.
For more details on software licensing options refer here or
contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or
+1 (888) 378-0666.
*Price is given for "Basic package"
with basic functionality and limited support.
15. Is software escrow available?
B2BITS offers on-demand licensed software source code escrow as
an additional means of your business risk mitigation. To
guarantee software availability for supporting our customers'
critical business operations, in 2009 we entered into cooperation
with NCC Group, one of the
world's leading software escrow providers, by depositing the source
code for our proprietary solution -FIXEdge application server. Later on we also
added the source code of our flagship FIX engines -FIX Antenna C++ and FIX Antenna Java - to the deposit storage
provided by NCC.
B2BITS Testing Services
1. FIX Antenna Certification and Testing Service
Antenna™ Certification and Testing Service enables trading
parties who use the FIX protocol to substantially reduce the time
and cost of compatibility testing. FACTS 2.0 allows sell-side and
buy-side firms to quickly and easily detect and mend a full range
of problems related to violations of the FIX protocol specification
and of application level conventions.
FACTS 2.0 is a script-based testing service that can be
customized to mirror the FIX implementation of any sell side or
exchange. It tests both session-level and application-level
messages. It is interactive and offers an immediate diagnosis of
any problems discovered.
FACTS 2.0 is ideal for testing compliance to the FIX Protocol
Ltd 'expected behaviours' specification. It was designed in
conjunction with Kevin Houstoun, at SSB-CitiGroup. Kevin sits on
the European Steering Committee of the FIX Protocol
2. FIX Log Analyzers
FIX Eye and FIX Grep are the new
generation forensic tools to work with FIX logs. These utilities
are the result of many years of experience in FIX support. It is
the next generation of log browsers, which go beyond traditional
parsers and are equipped with full knowledge of FIX objects and
their state management.