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Interstellar Communications
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Mikael Hasselstein
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 09, 2014 2:31 pm    Post subject: Re: Interstellar Communications Reply with quote

crmcneill wrote:
Mikael Hasselstein wrote:
I also (mis)understand(?) that the method by which the signal gets broadcasted is different. The way I conjure sub/hyper-space communications (is there a difference?) is that the signal gets sent far and wide, whereas the holonet gets broadcast on a narrow beam along S-threads.

But if hypercomm could broadcast far and wide with unlimited range, there would be no real need for the Holonet, as limitless range would eliminate the need for a satellite array to relay the signal. It's certainly possible that hypercomm communications independent of the Holonet's satellite network do exist, but I would cap the range.

Ah, misarticulation on my part. I should have said "not-as-far but wide," as opposed to far-and-narrow for the HoloNet.
I think both the bandwidth argument and the range are valid for making the HoloNet a desirable medium. There's also the fact that a narrow beam is less easily intercepted. Also, it's clear to me that HoloNet communications are much faster.

crmcneill wrote:
Quote:
So is this 'HyperNet' over sub/hyperspace networks, as opposed to HoloNet networks - or are these not actually separate networks?

My take is that they use the same satellites but one has a massively higher bandwidth than the other.

Hm... It'd be interesting to know if canon has established something in this regard. I did find something about subspace relay stations in 'the Abduction', pgs. 26-27, which I have used to flesh out the Wookieepedia page on them.

My guess is that the subspace network is much older and relies on a hodge-podge of stations across the galaxy. The HoloNet, being of more recent vintage and clamp-down by the Empire, would be more tightly controlled, and many of the Republic-era relay stations would have been updated or eliminated, as well as protected by defenses to prevent slicing in and other tampering.

I suspect that the New Republic would have made the attempt to consolidate and update the networks, but I don't really care - I like the Rebellion Era Wink
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griff
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 09, 2014 11:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Episode II, a star fighter can send a message "in care of the old folk's home" for out pass the outer rim to core worlds. Is this the system of relay stations. It seems to provide near instantaneous communications.
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garhkal
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 10, 2014 1:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Maybe as a jedi knight, his ship had access to Old republic mil sats which had higher power relay units..
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griff
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 10, 2014 9:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

When I first heard that line I imagined a grandma and grandpa plugging in wires to relay the message like operators in the 1930s hooking up phone lines.
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CRMcNeill
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 10, 2014 11:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Per the ImpSB, the Holonet was established by the Old Republic and was available for public use. However, it was horrendously expensive to maintain, and that expense was maintained by the taxation of worlds who used it (every world in the Republic, basically). As part of the Tarkin Doctrine, the public use side of the Holonet was severely curtailed (although the taxes were left in place). It's likely that Obi-wan was using the same basic Holonet, using a directional transceiver to offset the low power output of a comm system that would fit on a starfighter.

As far as the "care of the old folk's home", that was likely nothing more than a voice activated pass code to engage a specific scrambling or encoding pattern to prevent eavesdropping on a private conversation.
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DougRed4
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 10, 2014 11:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm not getting the "old folks home" reference. What part of EII am I not remembering?
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CRMcNeill
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 10, 2014 11:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

DougRed4 wrote:
I'm not getting the "old folks home" reference. What part of EII am I not remembering?

Obi-wan reporting in from Kamino after finding out about the Clone Army and meeting Jango Fett.
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CRMcNeill
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 10, 2014 12:33 pm    Post subject: Re: Interstellar Communications Reply with quote

Mikael Hasselstein wrote:
I should have said "not-as-far but wide," as opposed to far-and-narrow for the HoloNet.
I think both the bandwidth argument and the range are valid for making the HoloNet a desirable medium. There's also the fact that a narrow beam is less easily intercepted. Also, it's clear to me that HoloNet communications are much faster.

IMO, hypercomms should have greater comm-to-comm range than subspace (something in the area of 10x range would not be amiss). I'd also be willing to say that only hypercomms can actually access the Holonet. IMO, separate subspace networks could also exist, but these would be much more localized, either within a sector or a small group of sectors, with transmission delays and general quality dropping off rapidly as the distances between transceivers increases.

Tight beam transceivers are a great way to boost range without increasing power for any form of communication. In many ways, it would parallel the Scan, Search and Focus modes on Sensors, in that a Scan broadcast would go out equally in all directions, while a Search broadcast would have greater range focused to a single Fire Arc, and a Focus broadcast would be extremely hard to intercept and only focused on a single target. IMO, S-Threads are the hypercomm equivalent of the latter: a tight beam, linear transmission focused on a single target. Each hypercomm relay satellite would maintain S-Thread links with half a dozen to a dozen of the nearest relay satellites, as well as localized Hypercomm transceivers for local traffic.

With regards to the satellites themselves, it was discussed in another chapter that the satellites are potentially anchored in hyperspace, using static hyperspace field generators that allow them to hold position. This renders the satellites relatively tamper-proof, as they will only drop out of hyperspace if they receive a specific code transmission, which is generally only used to perform maintenance or upgrades on the relay satellite.

In the final books of the NJO, the Yuuzhan-Vong actually managed to destroy the Holonet by releasing thousands of drones that sought out and attacked the Holonet relay satellites, forcing the Galactic Alliance to rely on Corvette-sized vessels equipped as Comm Relays. With that in mind, I would say that actual destruction of individual Holonet relay satellites in near impossible without specialized equipment, in that even gravity well projectors won't force a satellite to drop out of hyperspace.

Another interesting possibility is transmission skipping. Out here on the road, 99% of the CB radio traffic is in the form of long range radio transmission (from hundreds of miles away) that are being reflected off of the upper atmosphere. It comes in with relative clarity here, but skips over the intervening territory almost completely. I don't think there is a Star Wars parallel, but it would not be too far fetched for subspace or hyperwave transmissions to be bounced off of higher or lower dimensions so that the transmission is picked up hundreds of lightyears away, but completely undetectable in the space in between.

The subspace relay station you mentioned could be part of a local network, or it could be an interface point, where a local subspace network is connected to the Holonet via Hypercomm transceiver.

The effect of rapid communication on coordination of military activities rears its head in the Empire's cutting-off of access to the HoloNet, in that only the Empire now has the ability to coordinate military operations on a near-galactic scale. Since the Alliance is cut off from the HoloNet and must rely on slower, more secure modes of communications, Alliance HQ is limited to a more hands-off approach to day-to-day operations. It can generate strategic guidelines, shift forces from sector to sector to meet varying needs, as well as initiating important operations on its own, but it lacks the ability to exercise timely command of local operations.
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garhkal
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 10, 2014 4:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

griff wrote:
When I first heard that line I imagined a grandma and grandpa plugging in wires to relay the message like operators in the 1930s hooking up phone lines.


True it did sound like a code phrase to get some special routing done.
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Mikael Hasselstein
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 10, 2014 4:31 pm    Post subject: Re: Interstellar Communications Reply with quote

crmcneill wrote:
IMO, hypercomms should have greater comm-to-comm range than subspace (something in the area of 10x range would not be amiss). I'd also be willing to say that only hypercomms can actually access the Holonet. IMO, separate subspace networks could also exist, but these would be much more localized, either within a sector or a small group of sectors, with transmission delays and general quality dropping off rapidly as the distances between transceivers increases.

I'm willing to accept that, but we should probably put our mental maps on a literature-based foundation. I was glossing over the difference between hyperspace and subspace, because I found that they were being used interchangeably, eg:

Wookieepedia page on Subspace Tranceiver wrote:
Subspace transceivers, also known as subspace radios and hypertransceivers, were standard devices used for instantaneous, faster-than-light communications between nearby systems. Similar to its shorter-ranged cousin, the comlink, subspace transceivers relied on energy to broadcast signals.


Of course, I think we should take hyperspace and subspace (and 'otherspace'? ... nah!) apart from one another, but that means that we're adding a separate type of communication to the list - either that, or we figure that the phrase "subspace" was an unfortunate phrase that Star Trek imposed on us, and it's never been something distinct to begin with. It has a fairly thin representation in the literature (judging by the number of citation at the bottom of its Wookiee page, as compared to hyperspace.

crmcneill wrote:
Tight beam transceivers are a great way to boost range without increasing power for any form of communication. In many ways, it would parallel the Scan, Search and Focus modes on Sensors, in that a Scan broadcast would go out equally in all directions, while a Search broadcast would have greater range focused to a single Fire Arc, and a Focus broadcast would be extremely hard to intercept and only focused on a single target.

Agreed - additionally, there's the greater difficulty to intercept, as you have to be located in the specific places that the bean is running through.

crmcneill wrote:
IMO, S-Threads are the hypercomm equivalent of the latter: a tight beam, linear transmission focused on a single target. Each hypercomm relay satellite would maintain S-Thread links with half a dozen to a dozen of the nearest relay satellites, as well as localized Hypercomm transceivers for local traffic.
Yes - now the question of HoloNet being a fundamentally different technology, or simply a broader bandwidth version of the latter.
Are we talking DSL (broadband on phone lines) or are we talking cable (as a separate network from phone lines)?

crmcneill wrote:
With regards to the satellites themselves, it was discussed in another chapter that the satellites are potentially anchored in hyperspace, using static hyperspace field generators that allow them to hold position. This renders the satellites relatively tamper-proof, as they will only drop out of hyperspace if they receive a specific code transmission, which is generally only used to perform maintenance or upgrades on the relay satellite.

That's also what I'm reading here: Hyperwave Tranceiver

crmcneill wrote:
Another interesting possibility is transmission skipping. Out here on the road, 99% of the CB radio traffic is in the form of long range radio transmission (from hundreds of miles away) that are being reflected off of the upper atmosphere. It comes in with relative clarity here, but skips over the intervening territory almost completely. I don't think there is a Star Wars parallel, but it would not be too far fetched for subspace or hyperwave transmissions to be bounced off of higher or lower dimensions so that the transmission is picked up hundreds of lightyears away, but completely undetectable in the space in between.

I think that's something worth thinking about, once we get the fundamental understandings worked out.
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DougRed4
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 10, 2014 5:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

crmcneill wrote:
DougRed4 wrote:
I'm not getting the "old folks home" reference. What part of EII am I not remembering?

Obi-wan reporting in from Kamino after finding out about the Clone Army and meeting Jango Fett.


Ah, okay. Thanks, crmc!
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griff
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 10, 2014 8:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

May be "old folk's home" was the fact he was trying to reach Yoda and Mace.
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 10, 2014 10:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Obi-Wan Kenobi:
Quote:
Arfour, relay this, "scramble code five," to Courscant: care of "the old folks home."


The "old folks home" is just a code designation for The Jedi Council.
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CRMcNeill
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 10, 2014 11:27 pm    Post subject: Re: Interstellar Communications Reply with quote

Mikael Hasselstein wrote:
I was glossing over the difference between hyperspace and subspace, because I found that they were being used interchangeably, eg:

Indeed. Considering even the Wookieepedia page references Star Trek, it might be simpler to just drop Subspace Comms entirely and make all superluminal communication hyperspace based. Subspace comms would be replaced by localized hypercomms that would provide direct communication as well as connection to the nearest HoloNet/HyperNet satellite relay.

Failing that, I would say instead that subspace is the only medium available for local FTL communication, and that hypercomms can only be used to connect to the low-bandwidth end of the HoloNet.

Quote:
now the question of HoloNet being a fundamentally different technology, or simply a broader bandwidth version of the latter.
Are we talking DSL (broadband on phone lines) or are we talking cable (as a separate network from phone lines)?

I'm thinking DSL, as in same tech and satellite network, but one is vastly more capable than the other.
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Last edited by CRMcNeill on Wed Oct 19, 2016 1:01 am; edited 2 times in total
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CRMcNeill
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 10, 2014 11:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Also, here is the relevant text from the ImpSB
    During the time of the Old Republic, there was a HoloNet which transmitted information throughout the constituent worlds. The HoloNet was extremely expensive to maintain, but it provided the Republic with a sophisticated, flexible means of communication. Consisting of hundreds of thousands of non-mass transceivers connected through a vast matrix of coordinated hyperspace S-threads (popularly known as Simu-Tunnels), as well as the computing power to sort and decode all of the information, the HoloNet was the only method available for real-time holographic transmissions
    between worlds.

    It was horrendously expensive to maintain, costing many thousands of credits per full-channel transmission second per transceiver. The HoloNet was used almost exclusively by the government and the larger commercial houses of the Old Republic. But it did connect the constituent worlds, giving a sense of belonging to the average citizen.

    Smaller commercial concerns and individuals never used the HoloNet directly; they relied on the literally millions of traders who traveled the commerce corridors of the Old Republic.

    Soon after Palpatine assumed the throne he dismantled the HoloNet, achieving two objectives. First, he made it difficult for any foes not in the Senate to coordinate any resistance to his designs. Any individual system, no matter how wealthy or influential, could easily be crushed by the Empire. Second, the constituent worlds were used to absorbing the cost of the HoloNet, even though most worlds received little benefit from the system during the final days of the Republic's collapse. This gave the Emperor an enormous flow of credits with which to initiate the rapid build up of Imperial forces, manning and outfitting more troops in the first six months of his reign than the Republic had ever mobilized at any one
    time.

    Governor Tarkin urged the Emperor to reinstitute HoloNet technology on a much smaller scale, for use by the Imperial Navy only, and then only at
    the level of the Sector Group.

I am not in complete agreement that Palpatine had to be convinced by Tarkin to keep the HoloNet operational in this fashion; considering the control he wanted to exercise, he would need some form of direct-line, real-time communications to do so, and the HoloNet was the best way to do that.
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