A comm relay is a facility for FTL communications between star systems. The player must be in or near a system with a relay to receive news updates. As of version 0.65.1a, every star system has a relay.
The player can install a comm sniffer on a relay to receive classified information, such as early warnings of impending food shortages. This process takes half an ingame day, during which a patrol of the faction owning the relay may detect and stop the player. Being caught attempting to set up a sniffer twice by the same fleet will provoke a battle. Once a sniffer is installed, the player can remove it manually, or it will be detected and removed by the faction after several months; the latter will lead to an investigation which will cause a reputation loss if the player is found guilty.
Factions which have a cooperative relationship with the player will offer secure comm access with the same benefits as a sniffer.
Transmissions propagate between comm relays at the speed of 5 light years per day. Fleets in hyperspace can pick up comm messages from a relay if they are within half a light year of it.