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Interstellar Communications
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Mikael Hasselstein
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 11, 2014 5:02 pm    Post subject: Re: Interstellar Communications Reply with quote

crmcneill wrote:
Indeed. Considering even the Wookieepedia page references Star Wars, 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

I think I like the second option better. There are quite a lot of references to subspace, even if it's (probably) Trek-derived.

So, I propose this: subspace is broad-broadcast, FTL, and limited range - the range in LYs equal to the scan range of the sensors (/3 for starfighters) as we discussed in the other thread. It can, however, be picked up by subspace relay stations, to be transmitted towards a destination that can be reached by the broadcast of that relay station, or it can be broadcast to another relay station (and so on).

The trick with this is programming the destination. I'm guessing that you need to dial in a final-destination relay station near to where you think your recipient will be. I don't imagine that all relay stations broadcast everything. They have to know what to transmit and what to leave out. The ability to get this right would be dependent on your Communications skill


crmcneill wrote:
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.

Given that I am going for the separability of subspace from hyperspace, and that the HoloNet is clearly on hyperspace, I'm going to the phonelines vs. cable interpretation. That said, I can imagine that when the Republic implemented the HoloNet, they did so by building the new system on top of some of the existing relay stations, and even some of the old hyperspace beacons.

But if you can dig up good counterarguments from the literature, then I'm certainly willing to be convinced that I'm wrong.

crmcneill wrote:
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.

You're probably right.
It's interesting that we're discussing this in the context of some of the internet crackdowns that we're hearing about in some countries - e.g. the Twitter/YouTube bans in Turkey. I'm not trying to start a current-events discussion, but it's still interesting to note the parallel.
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CRMcNeill
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 11, 2014 9:10 pm    Post subject: Re: Interstellar Communications Reply with quote

Mikael Hasselstein wrote:
I propose this: subspace is broad-broadcast, FTL, and limited range - the range in LYs equal to the scan range of the sensors (/3 for starfighters) as we discussed in the other thread.

I just double-checked the stats, and the X-Wing's Scan range is actually 50, not 75, so to generate a 25 lightyear range, we would need to divide by 2, not 3. I also think subspace comms should include a directional beam system allowing for longer range, perhaps double the basic Scan range (i.e. an X-Wing could make a general broadcast out to 25 lightyears or focus his comm transmission in a specific direction and be heard out to 50 lightyears).

I would also suggest that, where subspace is a broadcast, hypercomms are linear, in that you need to beam what amounts to an S-Thread at another receiver, with the carrier signal from the local hypercomm relay satellite providing a source to target in on.

Quote:
It can, however, be picked up by subspace relay stations, to be transmitted towards a destination that can be reached by the broadcast of that relay station, or it can be broadcast to another relay station (and so on).

The trick with this is programming the destination. I'm guessing that you need to dial in a final-destination relay station near to where you think your recipient will be. I don't imagine that all relay stations broadcast everything. They have to know what to transmit and what to leave out. The ability to get this right would be dependent on your Communications skill.

Again, I feel that the nature of subspace comms vs. hyperspace comms should be localized vs. galaxy wide, with subspace relay networks being primarily within a sector or close group of sectors, and any long ranged comms requiring the use of the Hypercomm network. Subspace relays would be used to facilitate such a local network, and could also provide an interlink between subspace and hyperspace comm systems, but the difficulty of relaying messages in the manner you suggest would increase in difficulty with every link (i.e. relay station) in the chain.


Quote:
Given that I am going for the separability of subspace from hyperspace, and that the HoloNet is clearly on hyperspace, I'm going to the phonelines vs. cable interpretation. That said, I can imagine that when the Republic implemented the HoloNet, they did so by building the new system on top of some of the existing relay stations, and even some of the old hyperspace beacons.

Perhaps the old relay stations and the subspace relay stations are the same thing, in that they could receive and transmit on both hyperspace and subspace, and could interconnect the two, receiving a hypercomm transmission and transmitting it out to a local recipient via subspace comms, and vice versa for outgoing messages. Using hypercomm to relay messages in the manner you suggest above would simplify things by having fewer links in the transmission chain.

I know in one of the NJO novels, a planet on the edge of Unknown Space was used as a relay point between the Republic and the Chiss, so planet based relay stations certainly exist. However, such stations would also be more vulnerable to conventional attack than the zero-mass hypercomm satellites.

As far as the old hyperspace beacons, I would say rather that the technology was incorporated, but not the actual ancient beacons themselves. Satellites broadcasting a constant carrier wave would be consistent with the Galactic Positioning System mentioned above, and their relatively tamper-proof state combined with ships using the navigation data to refine their own internally generated coordinates would go a long way towards preventing the piracy techniques described under the hyperspace beacons.
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Mikael Hasselstein
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 11, 2014 9:39 pm    Post subject: Re: Interstellar Communications Reply with quote

crmcneill wrote:
Mikael Hasselstein wrote:
I propose this: subspace is broad-broadcast, FTL, and limited range - the range in LYs equal to the scan range of the sensors (/3 for starfighters) as we discussed in the other thread.

I just double-checked the stats, and the X-Wing's Scan range is actually 50, not 75, so to generate a 25 lightyear range, we would need to divide by 2, not 3. I also think subspace comms should include a directional beam system allowing for longer range, perhaps double the basic Scan range (i.e. an X-Wing could make a general broadcast out to 25 lightyears or focus his comm transmission in a specific direction and be heard out to 50 lightyears).

Huh... okay. Maybe I read ...
On the Holocron's X-Wing page, it is listing a lot of different sensor packages, depending on the model.

crmcneill wrote:
I would also suggest that, where subspace is a broadcast, hypercomms are linear, in that you need to beam what amounts to an S-Thread at another receiver, with the carrier signal from the local hypercomm relay satellite providing a source to target in on.

Well, if the HoloNet is the hypercomm we're discussing, then your suggestion is true by default. However, am I correct when I think you mean for hypercomm technology to be different from the technology on which the HoloNet is based? Or are you saying that the HoloNet is just the broadband version of the Hypercomm system. Then, the Emperor's restriction of the HoloNet is a fairly mild restriction, if it means that anyone who can pay can still access the hypercomm system/network.

crmcneill wrote:
Again, I feel that the nature of subspace comms vs. hyperspace comms should be localized vs. galaxy wide, with subspace relay networks being primarily within a sector or close group of sectors, and any long ranged comms requiring the use of the Hypercomm network. Subspace relays would be used to facilitate such a local network, and could also provide an interlink between subspace and hyperspace comm systems, but the difficulty of relaying messages in the manner you suggest would increase in difficulty with every link (i.e. relay station) in the chain.

Agreed. Even if we were to go with my subspace relay stations idea, I would imagine that the fidelity of the signal would be lost over time, as well as just diminished by the routing difficulty. the longer the distance the signal has to travel, the less real-time it will become, just like long-distance phone calls not too many decades ago.

crmcneill wrote:
Perhaps the old relay stations and the subspace relay stations are the same thing, in that they could receive and transmit on both hyperspace and subspace, and could interconnect the two, receiving a hypercomm transmission and transmitting it out to a local recipient via subspace comms, and vice versa for outgoing messages. Using hypercomm to relay messages in the manner you suggest above would simplify things by having fewer links in the transmission chain.

If I understand you correctly I would agree, with the following hesitation:

I like the idea of the Emperor's restriction on the HoloNet to be a bit more draconian than just the prohibition on the bandwidth for 3d holographic communication. Such a limited prohibition just seems lame to me.

crmcneill wrote:
As far as the old hyperspace beacons, I would say rather that the technology was incorporated, but not the actual ancient beacons themselves.

I'm not exactly sure what you mean here.
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CRMcNeill
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 11, 2014 10:42 pm    Post subject: Re: Interstellar Communications Reply with quote

Mikael Hasselstein wrote:
Huh... okay. Maybe I read ...
On the Holocron's X-Wing page, it is listing a lot of different sensor packages, depending on the model.

That's the peril of using the Wiki pages as a reference. When I am stat checking, I go to the WEG books, as you can't always tell what stat on the Holocron is somebody's homebrew.

Mikael Hasselstein wrote:
Then, the Emperor's restriction of the HoloNet is a fairly mild restriction, if it means that anyone who can pay can still access the hypercomm system/network.

I'm thinking a much greater discrepancy between the bandwidth of the two types. For starters, while the high-end Holonet can handle real-time full holo two-way transmissions (which means it can likely handle pretty massive data transfers), the hypercomm would be much more like a dial-up connection, with short text-format messages going through relatively quickly, but pre-recorded 2D AV files taking hours to transmit. It would still be useful under the right circumstances (local governments and large trading houses would still be able to take advantage of it), but the disparity in speed of conversation would be on par with the difference between you and I speaking face to face as opposed to replying to each other's posts here on the Forum.

Mikael Hasselstein wrote:
crmcneill wrote:
As far as the old hyperspace beacons, I would say rather that the technology was incorporated, but not the actual ancient beacons themselves.

I'm not exactly sure what you mean here.

The description of the hyperspace beacons is that they were basically deep-space navicomputers that shared data between each other. The nature of that data sharing allowed Hutts and pirates to infiltrate the system and send false nav coordinates that would cause ships to jump into the wrong location, where pirate vessels would be waiting.

The introduction of nav-computers meant that ships could carry their own nav data with them instead of having to rely on external sources. However, the sharing of nav data to assist in making accurate jumps is still in use (see the Navigation Division in the Sector Fleet OB). The ability to transmit the data to other beacons would be incorporated into the new HoloNet relay satellites, but unlike the hyperspace beacons, the relays would be anchored in hyperspace itself, and essentially invulnerable to physical tampering (although slicing a hypercomm relay is always a possibility).

Basically, the technology used by the hyperspace beacons (the nav computers and the FTL data-sharing capacity) still exists, even though the beacons are beyond outdated.
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 11, 2014 11:26 pm    Post subject: Re: Interstellar Communications Reply with quote

Mikael Hasselstein wrote:

Well, if the HoloNet is the hypercomm we're discussing, then your suggestion is true by default. However, am I correct when I think you mean for hypercomm technology to be different from the technology on which the HoloNet is based? Or are you saying that the HoloNet is just the broadband version of the Hypercomm system. Then, the Emperor's restriction of the HoloNet is a fairly mild restriction, if it means that anyone who can pay can still access the hypercomm system/network.


Perhaps there are 2 separate levels.. Military/high govts can access the quicker/farther reaching holonet, but it is a major power hog. While civilians and other govts just use hypercoms?
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 11, 2014 11:40 pm    Post subject: Re: Interstellar Communications Reply with quote

garhkal wrote:
Mikael Hasselstein wrote:

Well, if the HoloNet is the hypercomm we're discussing, then your suggestion is true by default. However, am I correct when I think you mean for hypercomm technology to be different from the technology on which the HoloNet is based? Or are you saying that the HoloNet is just the broadband version of the Hypercomm system. Then, the Emperor's restriction of the HoloNet is a fairly mild restriction, if it means that anyone who can pay can still access the hypercomm system/network.

Perhaps there are 2 separate levels.. Military/high govts can access the quicker/farther reaching holonet, but it is a major power hog. While civilians and other govts just use hypercoms?

Aha - and at one time there was a HoloNet Neutrality bill on the floor of the Senate, and it failed to muster votes, and died in committee... Wink
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 12, 2014 8:05 am    Post subject: Re: Interstellar Communications Reply with quote

garhkal wrote:
Perhaps there are 2 separate levels.. Military/high govts can access the quicker/farther reaching holonet, but it is a major power hog. While civilians and other govts just use hypercoms?

That's the basic proposition here, that Holonet and Hypercomm use the same satellite relay network to communicate, but that Holonet has a vastly higher bandwidth than Hypercomm.
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 12, 2014 4:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

How would they be using the same satellites if they have different bandwidths?
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 12, 2014 4:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It would be like highspeed Internet now; the same cable carries the different speeds to all the users, but each user gets only the speed they pay for.
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 12, 2014 4:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Exactly.
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 14, 2014 2:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

So:
Holonet = Broadband
Hypercomm = Dial Up
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 14, 2014 2:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

atgxtg wrote:
So:
Holonet = Broadband
Hypercomm = Dial Up

Not a 100% match, but certainly in comparison to connection speeds.
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 14, 2014 3:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

atgxtg wrote:
So:
Holonet = Broadband
Hypercomm = Dial Up


I'm not sure if the analogy completely works, but let's incorporate all four of the communications we've been talking about (other than courier or physical carrier):

1. Comlink/radio waves. They're like the cheap walkie-talkies that kids could buy for $10 in the 1980s. You can communicate maybe a block away. (in the SWU, that would be about 50km, though higher power/larger size communications units can probably boost signals and receptivity.)

2. Subspace. Similar concept as above, but it is faster-than-light, and has a range based on the power of the transmitter. Usually between 25 and 100 light-years. There is also a satellite network system that allows you to relay your signal from subspace relay station to another subspace relay station, to another, etc. until it finds its intended destination. Unfortunately, the fidelity and speed tends to suffer, the more it is relayed from station to station, because subspace just doesn't allow the same speeds that hyperspace does.

So, it's kind of like a cell phone, which allows you to communicate with a cell tower, which can relay your message through a network, to another cell tower, and then to another cell phone. Also, you can communicate directly to another cell phone, provided it is within range of the first cell phone's broadcast. I think some cell phones have this walkie-talkie capability.

Crmcneil is suggesting that you can choose to narrow-cast or broadcast. The former of which allows you to focus the directionality of your signal in order to increase its range. I'm not yet sure I agree, but I'm thinking about it.

3. Hypercomm
Is indeed the pauper's means of connecting to the galaxy-wide communications network, which allows you to communicate across the galaxy in real-time... except that not all connections are treated equally. I think of it as dial-up without net neutrality.

In other words, if Comcast (ie. the Empire) controls the network, and if you're not one of Comcast's favored customers, then your internet experience (already slow, because you're on dial-up) is just not the same as when you're one of Comcast's favored customers, looking at Comcast's favored things for you to look at (Xfinity as opposed to Netflix or Hulu)

Even so, you're still paying top-credit to access the hypercomm network.

4. HoloNet Oh yeah, you're styling now! You get full-spectrum 3d holo communication in as-fast-as-possible time, across the galaxy. But you're also the Empire, and you choose who gets what level of communication.

If you're, say, broadcasting your HoloNet communication from Coruscant to a star destroyer in some out-of-the-way system like Hoth, then your communiqué is using the best HoloNet relay stations, through the fastest S-threads, but you'd still better have that star destroyer get out of the asteroid field if you want to have it receive the transmission if full 3D correctly.

Because you control the spacewaves, you can broadcast from the HoloNet to hypercomm/subspace receivers to get your propaganda out, but this is not 2-way communication. It's kind of like TV, and some people will have 3d TV sets, some might have 2d sets, and other people do audio only. Some really poor schlepps have to download audio podcasts to listen to it no earlier than when they can get their hands on it.

Does this capture what we're all thinking?
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 14, 2014 3:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Apart from subspace satellite or relay networks being pure speculation, yes.

Subspace in the RAW is generally described as direct connection only, so while we may theorize that localized subspace relay networks may exist independent from the Holonet, there is nothing in the official material explicitly stating that they do.
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Mikael Hasselstein
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 14, 2014 6:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

crmcneill wrote:
Apart from subspace satellite or relay networks being pure speculation, yes.

Subspace in the RAW is generally described as direct connection only, so while we may theorize that localized subspace relay networks may exist independent from the Holonet, there is nothing in the official material explicitly stating that they do.


I beg to differ. In The Abduction of Crying Dawn Singer, there is a clear reference, description, and statline for a subspace relay station. (pgs. 26-27)
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