Stats for a Planet-wide satellite communication system


General Discussion


Hello,

What would be an example of a Planet-wide satellite communication system? What tier, control modules, security, hacking DCs would be involved for this type of system?


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A personal comm unit has a planet-wide range, and does not appear to require any network (for example, there are no rules at all for what sort of planets it does or does not work on) - especially given the existence of the System-Wide and Unlimited variants.

Which is to say, as far as the rules go, there would be no rules for what you're asking about because it wouldn't exist in the first place.


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I imagine it would depend on the planet. A recently colonized world might have a sparse satellite network that is only maybe Tier 4 or so, assuming you treat it as a single computer rather than a number of computers. A heavily developed world like Verces, by contrast, probably has a network that is Tier 10 with every possible add-on and some new ones on top of it.


Metaphysician wrote:
I imagine it would depend on the planet. A recently colonized world might have a sparse satellite network that is only maybe Tier 4 or so, assuming you treat it as a single computer rather than a number of computers. A heavily developed world like Verces, by contrast, probably has a network that is Tier 10 with every possible add-on and some new ones on top of it.

But what is the purpose of a satellite network in Starfinder? As Nerdy Canuck pointed out, L bulk personal comm unit can talk to another L bulk personal com unit on the other side of a planet. A system wide comm unit is only 20 bulk and can talk to someone on the other side of the solar system from the convenience of your home office. No satellites required.

The only point of satellites in Starfinder would seem to be as space defense or space/ground surveillance platforms. Communications don't have to bounced around the planetary horizons.


On a populated enough world you might well need some sort of addressing system. "Call Xenocrat." "There are 22 Xenocrats listed and 2092 related names. Do you wish to contact them all? Please be aware that mass communication for commercial purposes is a felony under section 3.4 (ii)..."

Sovereign Court

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Xenocrat wrote:
Metaphysician wrote:
I imagine it would depend on the planet. A recently colonized world might have a sparse satellite network that is only maybe Tier 4 or so, assuming you treat it as a single computer rather than a number of computers. A heavily developed world like Verces, by contrast, probably has a network that is Tier 10 with every possible add-on and some new ones on top of it.

But what is the purpose of a satellite network in Starfinder? As Nerdy Canuck pointed out, L bulk personal comm unit can talk to another L bulk personal com unit on the other side of a planet. A system wide comm unit is only 20 bulk and can talk to someone on the other side of the solar system from the convenience of your home office. No satellites required.

The only point of satellites in Starfinder would seem to be as space defense or space/ground surveillance platforms. Communications don't have to bounced around the planetary horizons.

I wouldn't infer too much about a civilization's tech stack from a short description of a piece of equipment. For everyday gaming purposes, that comm unit just works. The civilian infrastructure implied is not relevant enough to spend page count on in the CRB for 99% of Starfinder players.

But you want an explanation? Easy enough. On a sparsely populated planet, comm units just directly communicate. The radio space isn't congested enough for that to be a problem. On a billion people planet though, efficient bandwidth management is needed to fit everyone's communications in, so you need a satellite/cable infrastructure to route stuff through, cache common data resources, do lookups to find the right person etc etc.

Your question is a bit similar to "why do we have cable networks on earth when satellite communication has been around for a while". Just because it works on one scale doesn't mean it suffices for a much bigger scale.


Ascalaphus wrote:
Xenocrat wrote:
Metaphysician wrote:
I imagine it would depend on the planet. A recently colonized world might have a sparse satellite network that is only maybe Tier 4 or so, assuming you treat it as a single computer rather than a number of computers. A heavily developed world like Verces, by contrast, probably has a network that is Tier 10 with every possible add-on and some new ones on top of it.

But what is the purpose of a satellite network in Starfinder? As Nerdy Canuck pointed out, L bulk personal comm unit can talk to another L bulk personal com unit on the other side of a planet. A system wide comm unit is only 20 bulk and can talk to someone on the other side of the solar system from the convenience of your home office. No satellites required.

The only point of satellites in Starfinder would seem to be as space defense or space/ground surveillance platforms. Communications don't have to bounced around the planetary horizons.

I wouldn't infer too much about a civilization's tech stack from a short description of a piece of equipment. For everyday gaming purposes, that comm unit just works. The civilian infrastructure implied is not relevant enough to spend page count on in the CRB for 99% of Starfinder players.

Except that "everyday gaming purposes" for a game about space absolutely includes unsettled worlds and such, so if you needed infrastructure for those devices to work it would actually be an incredibly necessary rule.

Sovereign Court

Nerdy Canuck wrote:
Ascalaphus wrote:
Xenocrat wrote:
Metaphysician wrote:
I imagine it would depend on the planet. A recently colonized world might have a sparse satellite network that is only maybe Tier 4 or so, assuming you treat it as a single computer rather than a number of computers. A heavily developed world like Verces, by contrast, probably has a network that is Tier 10 with every possible add-on and some new ones on top of it.

But what is the purpose of a satellite network in Starfinder? As Nerdy Canuck pointed out, L bulk personal comm unit can talk to another L bulk personal com unit on the other side of a planet. A system wide comm unit is only 20 bulk and can talk to someone on the other side of the solar system from the convenience of your home office. No satellites required.

The only point of satellites in Starfinder would seem to be as space defense or space/ground surveillance platforms. Communications don't have to bounced around the planetary horizons.

I wouldn't infer too much about a civilization's tech stack from a short description of a piece of equipment. For everyday gaming purposes, that comm unit just works. The civilian infrastructure implied is not relevant enough to spend page count on in the CRB for 99% of Starfinder players.
Except that "everyday gaming purposes" for a game about space absolutely includes unsettled worlds and such, so if you needed infrastructure for those devices to work it would actually be an incredibly necessary rule.

In the places where you actually need infrastructure, it's because you have so many NPCs calling their mom that those NPCs will have also gone and built that infrastructure. I don't see the problem.


Ascalaphus wrote:
Nerdy Canuck wrote:
Ascalaphus wrote:
Xenocrat wrote:
Metaphysician wrote:
I imagine it would depend on the planet. A recently colonized world might have a sparse satellite network that is only maybe Tier 4 or so, assuming you treat it as a single computer rather than a number of computers. A heavily developed world like Verces, by contrast, probably has a network that is Tier 10 with every possible add-on and some new ones on top of it.

But what is the purpose of a satellite network in Starfinder? As Nerdy Canuck pointed out, L bulk personal comm unit can talk to another L bulk personal com unit on the other side of a planet. A system wide comm unit is only 20 bulk and can talk to someone on the other side of the solar system from the convenience of your home office. No satellites required.

The only point of satellites in Starfinder would seem to be as space defense or space/ground surveillance platforms. Communications don't have to bounced around the planetary horizons.

I wouldn't infer too much about a civilization's tech stack from a short description of a piece of equipment. For everyday gaming purposes, that comm unit just works. The civilian infrastructure implied is not relevant enough to spend page count on in the CRB for 99% of Starfinder players.
Except that "everyday gaming purposes" for a game about space absolutely includes unsettled worlds and such, so if you needed infrastructure for those devices to work it would actually be an incredibly necessary rule.
In the places where you actually need infrastructure, it's because you have so many NPCs calling their mom that those NPCs will have also gone and built that infrastructure. I don't see the problem.

The problem comes when you make that infrastructure, which has no indication in the rules that it exists, the PCs problem. At that point, you're just shifting the rules of the world under their feet, which makes it pretty hard to feel like their decisions mean anything. "You're losing communication with each other because I say so regardless of any and all action you've taken to ensure communication" is not a good scenario.

Sovereign Court

Nerdy Canuck wrote:
The problem comes when you make that infrastructure, which has no indication in the rules that it exists, the PCs problem. At that point, you're just shifting the rules of the world under their feet, which makes it pretty hard to feel like their decisions mean anything. "You're losing communication with each other because I say so regardless of any and all action you've taken to ensure communication" is not a good scenario.

I think pulling the rug out from under the players is something that you sometimes should do, but you should know what you're doing. You don't do it just to surprise people with a rule, but you can absolutely do it as part of a plot.

For example, the PCs are on a big planet with several billion inhabitants. Terrorists destroy critical communication satellites, there's mass panic, everyone is trying to phone their loved ones and the remaining network gets totally overloaded. Regular consumer commlinks become useless, can't get through. Now one of the adventure goals becomes getting access to a hardened military network that still functions. Or maybe putting the PCs starship in orbit to act as a private communication satellite.


Ascalaphus wrote:
Nerdy Canuck wrote:
The problem comes when you make that infrastructure, which has no indication in the rules that it exists, the PCs problem. At that point, you're just shifting the rules of the world under their feet, which makes it pretty hard to feel like their decisions mean anything. "You're losing communication with each other because I say so regardless of any and all action you've taken to ensure communication" is not a good scenario.

I think pulling the rug out from under the players is something that you sometimes should do, but you should know what you're doing. You don't do it just to surprise people with a rule, but you can absolutely do it as part of a plot.

For example, the PCs are on a big planet with several billion inhabitants. Terrorists destroy critical communication satellites, there's mass panic, everyone is trying to phone their loved ones and the remaining network gets totally overloaded. Regular consumer commlinks become useless, can't get through. Now one of the adventure goals becomes getting access to a hardened military network that still functions. Or maybe putting the PCs starship in orbit to act as a private communication satellite.

And then any player who made plans/decisions based on the ways that communications can be disrupted is left feeling like their decisions don't matter, and that anything they do is going to be countered by the DM with a handwave. That is obviously not good.

By all means, pull the rug out from under the players - but don't do that by rewriting the rules of how the world works at random. There are very much better ways to handle that, such as an abnormally powerful Signal Jammer or network thereof. An unusual/new piece of technology at least comes across as something you wouldn't be able to plan for in the first place.

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