Design Considerations for Faster-Than-Light (FTL) Communication
RFC 6921

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Last updated 2013-04-02
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Independent Submission                                         R. Hinden
Request for Comments: 6921                          Check Point Software
Category: Informational                                     1 April 2013
ISSN: 2070-1721

    Design Considerations for Faster-Than-Light (FTL) Communication

Abstract

   We are approaching the time when we will be able to communicate
   faster than the speed of light.  It is well known that as we approach
   the speed of light, time slows down.  Logically, it is reasonable to
   assume that as we go faster than the speed of light, time will
   reverse.  The major consequence of this for Internet protocols is
   that packets will arrive before they are sent.  This will have a
   major impact on the way we design Internet protocols.  This paper
   outlines some of the issues and suggests some directions for
   additional analysis of these issues.

Status of This Memo

   This document is not an Internet Standards Track specification; it is
   published for informational purposes.

   This is a contribution to the RFC Series, independently of any other
   RFC stream.  The RFC Editor has chosen to publish this document at
   its discretion and makes no statement about its value for
   implementation or deployment.  Documents approved for publication by
   the RFC Editor are not a candidate for any level of Internet
   Standard; see Section 2 of RFC 5741.

   Information about the current status of this document, any errata,
   and how to provide feedback on it may be obtained at
   http://www.rfc-editor.org/info/rfc6921.

Copyright Notice

   Copyright (c) 2013 IETF Trust and the persons identified as the
   document authors.  All rights reserved.

   This document is subject to BCP 78 and the IETF Trust's Legal
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Hinden                        Informational                     [Page 1]
RFC 6921       Design Considerations for FTL Communication  1 April 2013

Table of Contents

   1.  Introduction  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2
   2.  Protocol Design Considerations for FTL Communication  . . . . . 3
     2.1.  Related Issues  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
   3.  FTL Communication Research  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
   4.  IETF Recommendations  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
   5.  Security Considerations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6
   6.  Acknowledgements  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6
   7.  References  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6
     7.1.  Normative References  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6
     7.2.  Informative References  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6

1.  Introduction

   We are approaching the time when we will be able to communicate
   faster than the speed of light.  It is well known that as we approach
   the speed of light, time slows down.  Logically, it is reasonable to
   assume that as we go faster than the speed of light, time will
   reverse.  The major consequence of this for Internet protocols is
   that packets will arrive before they are sent.  This will have a
   major impact on the way we design Internet protocols.  This paper
   outlines some of the issues and suggests some directions for
   additional analysis of these issues.

   There is a lot of discussion in the physics community about faster-
   than-light travel and communication.  In fact, it even has a well
   known acronym "FTL".  This acronym will be used in the remainder of
   this document.

   FTL issues have been discussed in the scientific literature for a
   long time.  For example, it was discussed in 1917 in the section
   "Velocities Greater than that of Light" on page 54 of "The Theory of
   the Relativity of Motion" [Tolman].  A good overall description of
   the effects of FTL communication can be found in [Goldberg].

   [Ardavan] describes a "polarization synchrontron", which pushes radio
   waves faster than the speed of light.  In the paper, the author
   explains:

      ...though no superluminal source of electromagnetic fields can be
      point-like, there are no physical principles preventing extended
      faster-than-light sources.  The coordinated motion of aggregates
      of subluminally-moving charged particles can give rise to
      macroscopic polarization currents whose distribution patterns move
      superluminally.  Further relevant progress occurred with the
      theoretical prediction that extended sources that move faster than
      their own waves could be responsible for the extreme properties of
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