The Philotic Parallax Instantaneous Communicator, more commonly known as the Ansible, was a device used for instantaneous communication across any distance.
Design and Function
The Ansible created a field in which Philotes were paired so that the receiving molecule would form and deform as the sender molecule did. This would create an electrical differential, which was what was read.
The prototypes of the Ansible had low bandwidth, but it was soon discovered that multiple philotes could be manipulated.
The device was gradually made faster, smaller, and more stable, like any other technology.
The sentient artificial intelligence, Jane, was composed of a network of philotic connections between Ansibles. Consequently, she had nearly limitless access to the Hundred Worlds' computers, and all the information contained within them.
Shortly after the end of the First Formic War, the Hegemony started extensive research into how the Formics communicated instantaneously over vast distances. The first prototype of the Ansible was a single pairing between two philotes. One Ansible was on Luna, and its mate was in The Belt with the Polemarch. Soon, the demand among the higher up members of the International Fleet rose, and more Ansibles were built for their use. However, these prototypes were large and hard to transport.
The technology was refined further, jumping the bandwidth speeds, creating better support structures, and making the device smaller. To distrubute the Ansibles, the Hegemony built Zipships, incredibly fast unmanned vessels.
Every ship sent to attack the Formics' homeworlds in the Third Formic War was equipped with Ansibles to have constant contact with the rest of the International Fleet. Later, the Third Invasion fleet was commanded by Ender Wiggin via Ansible from I.F. Command on Eros.
Starways Congress Era
When Starways Congress discovered that Jane was in the Ansible network and manipulating communications, they ordered a temporary Ansible shutdown across the Hundred Worlds. However, some planets went against this order, keeping some old computers running to house Jane for the time being.
Ursula K. Le Guin coined the word ansible in her 1966 novel Rocannon's World. Le Guin states that she derived the name from the word "answerable", as the device would allow its users to receive answers to their messages in a reasonable amount of time, even over interstellar distances.