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Quote of the Week: "A great civilization is not conquered from without until it has destroyed itself from within." - Will Durant, American historian (1885-1981)

What If? : Neutrino Modems

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Jaepheth
PostPosted: 2011-10-18 12:50pm 

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Joined: 2004-03-18 03:13am
Posts: 940
Location: between epsilon and zero
What if there were a fairly cheap modem (lets say ~$1000 and it's about the size of a lunchbox) which could, using GPS, precisely communicate via neutrino laser with any other modem of the same type?

So point to point communication without line of sight issues, and no infrastructure needed beyond a power source.

No more man-in-the-middle attacks.
No more censorship (i.e. Great Firewall of China).
No more wiretapping without bugging the actual modem itself.

Would world governments seek to control or suppress such technology? How quickly would they be able to act and to what extent do you think they'd go? Would owning the device require a license, or would it be banned outright?

If the technology is permitted to proliferate how would the internet's infrastructure change? Since each modem can only communicate with one other modem at a time, would existing infrastructure be needed to maintain the internet as we know it?

(Not sure if this belongs here, or in Sci-Fi)
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Xeriar
PostPosted: 2011-10-18 12:57pm 

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Joined: 2005-10-21 02:48am
Posts: 1739
Location: Twin Cities, MN, USA
Why the limit on one per modem? What prevents someone from stacking a few together and creating a router?

How fast are they, bandwidth wise?
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Jaepheth
PostPosted: 2011-10-18 01:19pm 

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Joined: 2004-03-18 03:13am
Posts: 940
Location: between epsilon and zero
I suppose a router would be fine. Each modem needs very precise targeting information to send data to any other (It's pointing a laser at a target up to 13,000 km away); so you can only be aimed at one modem at a time, and it could take a minute to acquire a new target. Two of the modems sitting right next to each other wouldn't be able to use the same "address" they would each have their own separate GPS location; I suppose it'd be a lot like dial-up, but with lasers instead of phone lines.

Lets say... a speed of 25Mb/S
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Simon_Jester
PostPosted: 2011-10-18 01:53pm 

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Joined: 2009-05-23 07:29pm
Posts: 22210
Governments would love such technology for themselves. Some would prohibit its use by private owners within the country; others would be unable or unwilling to do so. One obvious problem is that there's no 'network' with such devices- you can only send your untappable messages to one person at a time, and if you want to access the global information network you need to have that other person wired into it by tappable routes.

Servers, and other large infrastructure pieces of the network couldn't use these devices at all, because they're so impractical for a machine that has to communicate with a hundred people at once (like SDN's own server, for instance- no way would Mike shell out for enough of these traceless communicators to make the board work).
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fnord
PostPosted: 2011-10-18 08:08pm 

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Joined: 2005-09-18 08:09am
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Location: You're not cleared for that
So, high bandwidth, lower-latency, point-to-point links?

I can see financial firms (banks, prop trading houses, etc) grabbing onto these.

For example - London to New York

Great circle distance approx 5500 km (subtending 50.1 degrees on the great circle linking them)

Speed of light in fibre roughly 2/3 c - implies one way latency minimum of 27.5 millisec

Straight line thru-planet distance (via sine rule) works out to ~ 5400 km, but traversed at c, not 2/3 c. 1-way latency minimum becomes 18 millisec.

That 18 millisec advantage (because communication and order flow is ultimately 2-way) would be fairly compelling.
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Chimaera
PostPosted: 2011-10-18 08:14pm 

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Joined: 2011-02-07 04:04pm
Posts: 1097
Location: Great Britain (It's great, honestly!)
What about satellites? If you no longer need transmitters to relay communications around the curvature of the earth, how would that affect the system we have in place already?

What about commications on the ground? If you have the ability to talk through walls all of a sudden, think about the implications it would have for...mining, for example? It sounds stupid, but suddenly there's no need to lay phone lines to let miners communicate with the ground...

Hmm...the more I think on it, the more fascinating it's becoming.
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Xeriar
PostPosted: 2011-10-19 01:48am 

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Joined: 2005-10-21 02:48am
Posts: 1739
Location: Twin Cities, MN, USA
Jaepheth wrote:
I suppose a router would be fine. Each modem needs very precise targeting information to send data to any other (It's pointing a laser at a target up to 13,000 km away); so you can only be aimed at one modem at a time, and it could take a minute to acquire a new target. Two of the modems sitting right next to each other wouldn't be able to use the same "address" they would each have their own separate GPS location; I suppose it'd be a lot like dial-up, but with lasers instead of phone lines.

Lets say... a speed of 25Mb/S


Well it'd take a lot of them to replace the trunks... but they are cheap enough that setting up arrays of them for ECC would be quite feasible. One accidentally drops lasing, the others reconstruct the signal.

It would eventually replace the Internet, especially if the technology could be improved upon, even if slowly. You'd get two or three, laze to a few providers, which could be anyone with a million or two to throw at these things, who would be connected via trunk banks to the rest of "Neutrinonet" or whatever it ends up being called. There'd be no way to stop it without conducting home invasions. Governments would probably focus on the public nature of trunk banks to have leverage to investigate some crimes - child porn, etc. But with such a low investment barrier, they'd have to have a pretty clear-cut list of crimes that deserve investigation.

And yeah, my friends in arbitrage would have an orgasm. If the price dropped below $1k it would only be because the financial market got saturated with the things.
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