Given that this question/answer has established that replicator technology is owned by non-federation civilizations, my question extends to ask if there are any references of any differences in capabilities between these replicators / transporters? We have seen that federation equipment have limitations and can not transport / replicate certain things, have these limitations been overcome by other technological advances in non-federation equipment?
Is there any difference between Federation and Non-federation replicators / transporters?
Federation replicators cannot create life-forms. I've sort of pieced together the reasons for this in another answer, but in short: Viable biological matter is too complex. However, in TNG 5x16, Ethics, the gap has started to close with the prototype Genitronic Replicator, which is still Federation technology.
As far as I know, no one else with Replicator technology has come close to cracking this.
Maximum range for a normal, Federation-level transporter is about 40,000 kilometers (up from about 10,000 kilometers in the ENT era).
(For an idea of the scale, 1 light year is roughly equal to 9,460,000,000,000 kilometers)
- In TOS 2x26, Assignment: Earth, Gary Seven is transported to Earth from more than a 1,000 light years away. The aliens who achieved this level of transporter technology are completely unknown and have not been heard from again (in canon at least. In comics/novels, they are called the Aegis).
- The Sikarians have created a transporter that works over 40,000 light years. However, due to the unique technology involved, the technology only works on their home planet. (Also, it's a specific type of folded-space transporter, called a spatial trajector)
- Dominion transporters can work over a distance of at least 3 light years, if enhanced with a homing transponder.
- The Translocator was a type of transporter created by the Nyrians. It could work over 10 light years, but could only transport one person at a time (in each direction) when used at that range.
Federation transporters normally cannot transport through shields. However, the Dominion and the Borg both have transporter technology that can go right through Federation shields, and the Aldean transporters can go right through their own shields while still blocking Federation transporters.
The Voth could go even further, beaming Voyager into their city ship, even with Voyager's shields raised.
In DS9 7x09, Covenant, a device is given to Kira, of unknown origin:
It was some sort of transporter tag that allowed her to be beamed directly to Empok Nor, several light-years distant. The shape (and who gave it to her) implies that it was Bajoran technology, while Empok Nor (and the ringleader) are Cardassian. There is, however, no other evidence that either the Cardassians or Bajorans can beam over such long distances.
(However, given the state of things at that point in DS9, there's a fair chance that the technology was stolen from the Dominion; see the "Range" note above)
Transporter: System Interlock
Two transporters can be linked together to increase range and/or stability and/or reduce power usage.
- In TNG 1x22, Symbiosis, Tasha Yar interlocked the Federation transporters with ships from a previously unknown species.
- Likewise in TOS 2x26, Assignment: Earth, this same effect was achieved seemingly by accident.
These two incidents imply that there is something special about transporter technology (as it is generally implemented, at least) that makes most species with the technology invent it in very similar fashions. So on average, I would expect each transporter to have the same/similar limitations as others - with the exceptions listed above.
Folded Space Transporter
In TNG 3x12 The High Ground the Enterprise encounters a group that uses a method of folding space to transport. This has the advantage of being undetectable (initially) and being near instantaneous (no matter de/re-materialization). However, it had deleterious effects on living tissue, and repeated use ultimate would kill the user. A similar technology was later seen in VOY 1x10 Prime Factors when Voyager encountered the Sikaris. They too used a method of folding space, with a range of approximately 40,000 light years and without the aforementioned negative effect, although it was tied to their planet's unique composition.
Other than the above (largely culled from the Memory Alpha Transporter page), only one possible difference comes to mind: If I recall correctly, Hirogen transporters have an abnormally fast dematerialization/rematerialization - only about 1/2 a second, instead of 2-3 seconds.
1Concerning Range and Shields: the range and shields limitations have been overcome by the Federation and Ferengi (TNG 7x22) with the subspace transporter. I think that this was mentioned in the DSN episode 7x09 you mention under Devices, and that the device was just a transponder that Empok Nor used to lock on to Kira.– XantecJan 2, 2013 at 2:26
@Xantec It could be, and I had skimmed right past it. From the subspace transporter page: The Federation researched this technology but abandoned it because of its unreliability and energy requirements. - but that doesn't exclude Cardassians/others continuing to use it for special cases. I'd have to check the episode to be sure, but normally I'd expect a reference on Memory Alpha back to that episode, if it was mentioned in the episode.– IzkataJan 2, 2013 at 2:41
Apparently Dominion transporters have a range of up to three light years if a homing transponder is used, per the episode Covenant, although it doesn't mention how their transporters operate.– XantecJan 2, 2013 at 3:13
+1 | Very nice research. Love the Aegis reference! Jan 2, 2013 at 5:22
2To summarise: the writers keep making up stuff without referencing existing canon– user8416Jan 2, 2013 at 11:35