Author Topic: Why no fragmentation in the Star League Communications Network?  (Read 2358 times)

Giovanni Blasini

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Did any of the Houses even have the capacity to maintain the HPGs? I don't mean the knowledge, I mean the industry.
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Death by Lasers

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  It makes a certain amount of sense though.  No state can reproduce or defend their communications network, better to turn if over to a neutral third party than have it bombed in minute two of the conflict and being unable to replace it.

  As far as the setting is concerned the HPG grid is a like a glass house.  As soon as people start throwing stones its gone and no amount crying will bring it back.  Now not only can you kiss your dreams of intergalactic conquest goodbye but your now having to run your interstellar empire via the 28th century equivalent of snail mail.

 
« Last Edit: 17 May 2017, 00:20:28 by Death by Lasers »
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Tai Dai Cultist

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Did any of the Houses even have the capacity to maintain the HPGs? I don't mean the knowledge, I mean the industry.

They were inventions of the Hegemony, and IIRC they were solely run and maintained by the Star League.  An external agency in ComStar running your Comms for you is just a continuation of the status quo for the Great Houses.  Same shit, different logo.

Wrangler

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HPG system wasn't highly covered. It's basically a Telegraph system for the stars using Hyperspace technology Jumpships use.  They have to be well coordinated to receive a signal.  In the MW novel (not MWDA), Imminent Crisis, an EARLY HPG was known to be on New Syrtis and was to planned to be used if ComStar decided take sides during the war. 

My guess/impression was that HPG was patchy during the later Star League era.  I don't recall them getting detail how all these worlds of the Star League were communicating until the events HPG coming online. Pony Express through JumpShip trade routes?  Alot worlds would ended up isolated with infrequent communcation if they weren't on those trade routes (if that how they kept these worlds inline together with their respective interstellar nation state.)
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solmanian

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Signing up with a house make you a prime military target. C* affiliation will make armies think twice about blasting your compound.
Making the dark age a little brighter, one explosion at a time.
Have you met the clans? Words like "Naïve" and "misguided" are not enough to describe the notion that a conquest of the IS by the clans would result in a Utopian pacifistic society.

Dayton3

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I thought it was heavily implied if not outright stated that all the House Lords went along with the idea of Comstar because

1) They needed communications across the Inner Sphere for more reasons than can be listed here.

2) They needed an "honest broker" between the powers for a whole host of reasons ranging from a common currency to prisoner exchanges.

3) Allowing the early formation of Comstar and with it the neutrality of Earth meant the House Lords had one fewer headache. 

4) Most figured that once they conquered rest of the Successor States they would snap up Comstar was well anyway.

bigmac

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We all know the story.  Between the conclusion of LIBERATION and the enactment of EXODUS, the Great Houses recruited a number of former SLDF commands to their ranks.  So...why was there no similar recruitment of HPG staff, and moreso, why were they apparently so unanimously behind Blake?  When he enacted SILVER SHIELD, the whole net went down.  No one said "You know what, no.  I'm not crippling this planet's communications just because Blake asked nicely."  The Precentors on the various capitals held off the House Lords with excuses for days.  So...why?  Why didn't some SLCOMNET personnel side with the realm they were stationed in and fragment the network?  The unanimity with which they backed Blake, and later the quasi-religious reformation of ComStar, just seems really strange to me.  I mean, by 3025 all that stuff is entrenched and ROM is the most powerful intel network anywhere.  Betray ComStar and you'll disappear (at best).  But in the early years, before ROM even existed?  It seems like you'd see some people somewhere deserting ComStar and taking the knowledge of HPG operation with them.

The answer to your question is very simple.  The only manufacturer of Hyper Pulse Generator equipment in known space before the arrival of the Clans was Communications Enterprises, Inc. on Earth.  ComStar controlled the spare parts.  Only ComStar had the ability to fix the transmitting stations.  This is how Jerome Blake was able to create ComStar by convincing the leaders of the Successor States that ComStar would maintain and repair all HPG stations with complete neutrality.  SLCOMNET personnel had the practical training and some of the personnel had the theoretical training to operate and repair the network but they lacked the ability to manufacture the parts needed to keep the network operational.  Remember that the combination of the First Succession War (through collateral damage) and the Star League Civil War devastated the HPG network.  ComStar was only able to bring back to operation 80% of the original Star League HPG network in the Inner Sphere by 3025.  So during the Succession Wars, the leaders of the Successor states were solely dependent on ComStar to keep their HPG transmitting stations operational.

bigmac

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still trying to figure out this Microsoft Edge - sorry for the duplicate
« Last Edit: 18 May 2017, 21:37:32 by bigmac »

solmanian

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Also, isn't there a maximum range for HPGs (making it easier to isolate them)? Otherwise, wouldn't C* be picking up transmissions from the homeworlds long before the clan invasion?
Making the dark age a little brighter, one explosion at a time.
Have you met the clans? Words like "Naïve" and "misguided" are not enough to describe the notion that a conquest of the IS by the clans would result in a Utopian pacifistic society.

Frabby

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Also, isn't there a maximum range for HPGs (making it easier to isolate them)? Otherwise, wouldn't C* be picking up transmissions from the homeworlds long before the clan invasion?
The only signals you could pick up would be radio signals that travel through space, at the speed of light. But a signal from the Clan homeworlds wouldn't be anywhere near the Inner Sphere by this time, plus it would have to have been an extremely powerful signal to arrive in the IS in any recognizable form.

HPG messages, by comparision, don't travel through space. HPGs create a point within up to 30 (for class B) or even 50 (for class A) light-years from whence normal omnidirectional radio waves emanate that carry the signal. Those radio waves will typically be very weak, and probably won't go out beyond a few light minutes. Standard operational procedure for HPGs even seems to be to transmit directly to a shielded receiver room within the target ComStar station or aboard a spaceship so you can't eavesdrop.
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solmanian

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Aiming at a target tens of lights years away, especially mobile one like a spaceship, seems unfeasible. Hack even hitting a planet (which is also mobile, but at least has a predictable course), would require enormous computing power, no to mention meaning to hit a specific location on the planet.
Making the dark age a little brighter, one explosion at a time.
Have you met the clans? Words like "Naïve" and "misguided" are not enough to describe the notion that a conquest of the IS by the clans would result in a Utopian pacifistic society.

Frabby

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Yet for all we know, that's exactly how they operate.
(And they can jump entire kilometer-long starships with pinpoint accuracy so surely "jumping" a mere radio signal wave is considerably easier.)
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glitterboy2098

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i suspect there was fracturing. and that the states did try and grab HPG stations. (or rather, blockaded/besieged those that didn't just surrender. i doubt they would risk damage to them by active assaults.

i suspect that Comstar demonstrated the concept of interdiction and did some under the table blackmail to get the successor states to back off and return the network.

Cyc

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That's what did happen during the Purification, House Davion offered sanctuary to any techs who wanted to escape the religious transformation of ComStar only to return those that accepted when Toyama threatened Interdiction.

russtarvin

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Re: Why no fragmentation in the Star League Communications Network?
« Reply #44 on: 12 December 2017, 03:07:43 »
Forgive the old post.  One other thing.  The name First Circuit was based solely on the design of the HPG network.  To me that suggests that the messages are routed thru hubs so that they routed out again. I think of them like UPS wearhouses that get a large shipment and then parcel it out to the locals. Just my 2 cents.

Frabby

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Re: Why no fragmentation in the Star League Communications Network?
« Reply #45 on: 12 December 2017, 06:45:22 »
That's actually a pretty good point.
But then again, the so-called "ComStar Clock" was never truly explained. And I am unsure how mobile HPGs like they seem to be mounted on every last WarShip factor into this. (Seriously. There have to be more mobile HPGs on WarShips than stationary planetary HPGs.)
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Kidd

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Re: Why no fragmentation in the Star League Communications Network?
« Reply #46 on: 12 December 2017, 07:32:49 »
Complex equipment requires constant maintenance, and human know-how needs preservation. Within a couple of years of neglect, machinery can break down to a degree that only a major overhaul requiring expert skills can fix. Knowledge and skills transfer is a major, major issue till today in all kinds of corporate, technical and defence industries* - we still essentially follow a master-apprentice skill transfer paradigm, and skills degrade with lack of use. That's 2 potent weapons Blake would have had in his hand against any planets not conforming to his communications protocol. So did he wield it?

As a matter of course, the Star League Ministry of Communications had controlled HPG technology extremely closely, not allowing the Great Houses any technology transfers or even enough info to reverse-engineer their own HPGs. Just like Royal equipment, the League was already monopolising HPGs and HPG tech from the start. We can infer therefore that a lot of safeguards were already in place, including Blake picking ultra-loyal chief tech officers to run the HPGs, so that the Great Houses would not even be able to subvert a Comstar officer with the know-how to help them put together a HPG.

Nonetheless, maybe they did compromise a few officers and steal a few pieces of tech. Maybe Blake's counter-espionage success rate was only 80%, just like the SLDF - but 20% of a working HPG plan doesn't equal a working HPG. And in the nuclear fires of the Succession Wars that followed, probably the Great Houses lost what little they had managed to steal, just like all the other Lostech.

Don't forget that when ROM was founded they then probably did, er, retro-actively seal off any such leaks with kill squads and sabotage.

*For example, the Russian Navy has basically lost the skill to design large military vessels, which is why they needed to buy Mistrals LPDs from France. Meanwhile the Royal Navy is trying desperately not to go the same way, and pays through the nose to ensure the UK continues to preserve an indigenous warship design capability.

Wrangler

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Re: Why no fragmentation in the Star League Communications Network?
« Reply #47 on: 12 December 2017, 08:08:23 »
I wanted add this from Era Report: Age of War and the old Star League Sourcebook.

Quote from: Era Report: Age of War / What Didn't Exist
t for all of the amazing strides forward, some technologies taken for
granted today simply did not exist in the 2400s and 2500s. Hyperpulse
Generators (HPGs), for example, are especially notable for their absence
in this time. Information, news, entertainment, and military orders all had
to travel via JumpShip couriers. This helps to explain why the huge campaigns
of this period tended to peter out quickly; commanders would often
have to launch reconnaissance missions to check on their own forces,
greatly restricting the pace and scope of interstellar operations.

Quote from: Star League (Source book)
First, (Ian) Cameron had to lay the foundation. In addition to
revitalizing the HAF, he further expanded the Department of
Foreign Relations. He also began to fund several research
projects to improve interstellar communications, a step whose
ramifications would later became especially important.

The High Council would be the
pinnacle of the Star League government as well as a communications
nexus for the swift dissemination of information to all the
member-states.

Quote from: Star League (Source book) / Economic and Scientific Advances
In 2614, First Lord Cameron appointed Joshua
Hoshiko as Minister of Communications. The next year,
Hoshiko enlisted Cassie DeBurke, a brilliant young professor
from the University of Terra (located near the Court
of the Star League), to study the problem further.

Burke realized that the cost to transmit matter through
In 2598, Nicholas Cameron married Lydia Petersen,
the Duchess of Bryant, just before his unit shipped out to
serve in the Periphery Territories. As a member of the
Department of Star League Education and Information,
Duchess Lydia was involved in the public relations
Jump points might be prohibitive, but the cost to campaign to persuade the citizens of the Periphery Territorial
transmit bundles of energy-modulated energy, such as simple
radio waves-was within the range of modest reactors. If this idea
could be converted into practical technology , it would make possible
the instantaneous transmission of messages to receivers 50
light years away.
For the next 15 years, Professor DeBurke and her research
staff worked secretly and feverishly on her theories. The culmination
of their work was the first HPG station, built just outside the
Court of the Star League, which transmitted the first HPG message
on New Year's Day 2630. Once this revolutionary system
was set up all over the Inner Sphere, it took a mere seven days to
broadcast from Terra to Tharkad. Messages to the most distant
Periphery planet took less than six months to arrive, at least twice
the speed of the previous transmission time.

The point there was a sort of HPG system running during the late league before ComStar existed, but not one that was solid.
Era Report was bit newer, being able highlight difficulties of lack of one, which the modern Inner Sphere faces in the Dark Age.
There so few functional HPG that it's impossible for armies to really to be coordinated.

Everything took longer to do for interstellar armies.  It would explain why the Star League's war efforts in the Periphery during the Reunification War took so long, like 10 years.  They were dependent with commanders in the region to carry out their plans while they were straining JumpShips to relay information to and from Terra keep them on course.  The did have the black boxes back then but they were as effective.

What is interesting is that i was poking at Tactical Operations.  The Mobile HPG (space based) has been around since 2655, but the smaller 12 ton HPG been around since 2765.
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SCC

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Re: Why no fragmentation in the Star League Communications Network?
« Reply #48 on: 13 December 2017, 02:22:32 »
Complex equipment requires constant maintenance, and human know-how needs preservation. Within a couple of years of neglect, machinery can break down to a degree that only a major overhaul requiring expert skills can fix.
This is BT, such maintenance is not required for things to work.

Maelwys

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Re: Why no fragmentation in the Star League Communications Network?
« Reply #49 on: 13 December 2017, 13:15:08 »
The point there was a sort of HPG system running during the late league before ComStar existed, but not one that was solid.
Era Report was bit newer, being able highlight difficulties of lack of one, which the modern Inner Sphere faces in the Dark Age.
There so few functional HPG that it's impossible for armies to really to be coordinated.

It wasn't a sort of HPG system, it was a fully fledged one that connected everything. Which is sort of amazing when you consider how fast that happened...

ColBosch

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Re: Why no fragmentation in the Star League Communications Network?
« Reply #50 on: 13 December 2017, 19:51:48 »
Two quick points. First, as I wrote in Era Digest: Age of War, slow communications was a big part of why that period ended up so bloody at times. Local commanders had too much power at their fingertips, no proper oversight, and often had unclear objectives or rules of engagement. Any perusal of Earth's Colonial Age will reveal just what happens in such situations.

Second, the exact nature of the pre-HPG communications network has been left deliberately vague. We know it relied on courier JumpShips, but no real details. I strongly suspect this is because of the fanbase's typical reaction to any hard numbers: a concerted attempt to disprove them.
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