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Star Trek: Federation Communications

Written: 1998.08.01

Federation communications technology is extremely primitive. They are limited to the inferior subspace communications technology which we discarded eons ago in favour of the almost-instantaneous cross-galaxy communications network that has come to be known as the Holo-Net. Because of this limitation, the Federation needs vast networks of subspace relays to maintain their communications network and they are incapable of real-time communications across the galaxy even with the aid of this network! We have learned two things about Federation subspace communications technology:

  1. Subspace transmission range is limited to 22.65 light years (TM pg. 99).

  2. The speed of subspace comm/sensor transmissions is warp 9.9997 (TM pg. 111), which is approximately 200,000c.

This means that a subspace communication would cross a 100,000 light year wide galaxy in 6 months, which would make subspace transmissions significantly slower than hyperdrive-equipped Imperial warships. Our strategists feel that we should press this advantage as much as we can; it is not often that an adversary's communications systems are so slow that we can outrun their transmissions with our ships!

Our strategists feel that a marauding force could theoretically destroy Starfleet's ability to communicate by mounting a highly dispersed attack not on Starfleet ships and defensive installations, but on these relay stations, which are easily destroyed but number in the tens of thousands. The relay network is a serious strategic weakness of the Federation, but no one has exploited it for three reasons.

  1. Most enemies do not have the vast number of ships required to destroy the relay stations in a short time-span.

  2. Most enemies do not have the propulsion technology to perform such a widespread operation in a reasonable timeframe.

  3. Most enemies also use subspace communications technology and need the relay network themselves.

The Empire does not have these weaknesses. Some Federation cultists claim that the Empire possesses less than 1,000 ships based entirely on the pirate Han Solo's dialogue when he enters the Alderaan system in ANH. However, Han Solo went on to claim that it was impossible to destroy a planet (even though it had just been done) and that the Death Star was too big to possibly be a space station (even though it was). His accuracy and impartiality are both definitely in question. It is not surprising that he chose to reject the stability offered by the Empire and instead turn his talents toward the side of chaos.


The Federation's primitive communications technology is a serious weakness which we plan to exploit in the coming conflict. By destroying their communications network and taking advantage of our superior propulsion technology, we can neutralize their command and control network and render them effectively leaderless even before we destroy their homeworld.

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