The C3i was developed by ComStar in 3062 from Draconis Combine technology. While expanding its military strength to ward off the Clan Invasion, the ComGuard found their current C3 Master Computer incapable of handling the complexities of senary (base-6) units. At first ComGuard utilized a combination of master and slave units until they were able to miniaturize both into the Improved C3 Computer. Some of the prototypes were quickly smuggled to the Word of Blake who reverse-engineered the technology for its own needs.
Unlike a standard C3 lance where interruption or destruction of the C3 master computer brings down the network, each C3i unit acts as an equal "cellular" partner in the network, making C3i networks more robust. A C3i is able to survive and function despite unit losses or the effects of electronic countermeasures. About half the size and weight of a master computer, each C3i is larger than a C3 slave unit. C3i units also lack the TAG abilities of the Master Computer. Standard and improved C3 systems are incompatible with each other, and unlike the standard version C3i networks cannot be linked together and expanded beyond a six-unit formation.
A C3i unit weighs 2.5 tons and takes up 2 critical spaces.
- TechManual, p. 209