Communications

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Transmission

  • Basic EM transmission still viable for short-range communication, though in addition to speed-of-light delays, bandwidth is limited
    • Usually transmitted on the radio spectrum when used even in the modern era; thus commonly still referred to as RF (radio frequency) communication as well
  • Subspace radio provides for both faster transmission time and wider bandwidth
    • Basic functioning involves focused high-energy subspace fields to oscillate the underlying structure of subspace in the form of a directed packet holding the desired encoded information
    • Packet propagates linearly towards destination, not omnidirectionally; if not intercepted, eventually degrades back into normal space as a brief burst of EM radiation
      • Some (but not all) of the original information can be recovered from the degradation
      • Current physical limitations have degradation at 22.65 light years from point of transmission (Reference: TNG Technical Manual)
        • Theoretically distance could be increased through encoding message in deeper layers of subspace, but this would require much greater energy
    • Unmanned subspace relay stations established approximately every 20 light years in most territories to allow for greater communication range
    • Varying time delay seemingly independent of distance; possibly network stability or density a factor? Most likely subspace conditions a factor as well
      • Within Federation territory, seems to range from real-time to days
        • Real-time communication to distant locations seems always possible, just a question of some sort of resource: bandwidth? energy?
          • Possible that more informationally-dense packets legitimately take longer to arrive?

Implementation

Civilian

  • Comm bracelets commonly used by civilians for communication by the 24th century (DS9 Novel: Gamma: Original Sin)

Starfleet

  • Real-time holographic communication common in mid-23rd century, but eventually fell out of favor due to bandwidth requirements (DIS; DIS Novel: Desperate Hours)