The digital gates are large scanning and transmission facilities in deep space. A digital gate scans a starship, converts its mass into energy, and sends a tachyon signal to another digital gate in a distant star system, which then converts the tachyon energy back into matter and re-materializes the starship. The tachyon signal does not take any measurable time to travel between star systems, so except for the brief few seconds of de-materialization and re-materialization, a digital gate connection allows for instantaneous travel between star systems.
Due to thier massive size and the immense energy requirements to use, digital gates are prohibitively expensive to build and operate. Consequently, they are generally only used to link densely populated core systems with a high volumes of commercial traffic. Currently, there are only two digital gate lanes - between Earth and Avalon, and Avalon and New Paris.