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The communicator is a device used for voice communication in Star Trek. It can also serve as an emergency-signaling device/beacon, similar to a transponder. The communicator allows direct contact between individuals or via a ship's communication system.
The communicator allows crew members to contact starships in orbit without relying on an artificial satellite to relay the signal. Communicators use subspace transmissions that do not conform to normal rules of physics in that signals can bypass EM interference, and the devices allow nearly instantaneous communication at distances that would otherwise require more time to traverse.