The Net

NET Mechanics NET Content GM Notes Decking
Architecture Terminals Security History
Architecture of the NET
The most important technological achievement of the twentieth century continues to play a crucial role in business, entertainment, politics, and the dark world of Running alike. This, of course, begs the question; what is the NET?
The NET is not an operating system (OS), a programming language, or a type of Computer; it is essentially millions of Computers installed with software that support a shared connection protocol allowing them to communicate with one another by receiving and transmitting neurally-parseable data. To access the NET a person needs access to a Terminal that is connected to the physical network of the NET, and one of a variety of interfacing options.
The NET provides two different but related uses to the world. The first is global connectivity for computing. Email, chat, massive data access, etc are all made possible by the connectivity backbone of the NET. The second, and generally more interesting usage of the NET is the presentation of "Neurally Enabled Content", i.e. Virtual Realities known as Mindscapes.
The backbone of the NET is a collection of interconnected servers scattered across the globe. Though the NET backbone originated with and was primarily controlled by the scientific juggernaut that is CERN for a long time, the NET Protocol is an open standard and thus privately owned servers soon proliferated to the point that no one controls the backbone any longer, and it would take a massive failure of hundreds of unrelated servers around the globe to disrupt overall connectivity for any length of time.
The basic NET protocol is Neural Translation / Transmission Protocol (NTTP) and it was created specifically to enable Neural Enquiry Technology to transmit and receive the data that it uses to create a "virtual reality" session accessible by multiple users at once. The protocol saw a lot of revision and improvement in the first decade of its use, but has not been massively altered in over three decades.
Though the NET is not proprietary and NTTP is an open protocol, CERN has retained the rights to its development and maintenance. The NTTP Protocol has been periodically upgraded and rolled out by the WorldNET Committee, a nonprofit organization largely sponsored and staffed by CERN, and is currently at version "23.21.1b". The last upgrade was released four years ago in 2029, and was a relatively minor patch to a low-risk security flaw introduced in the previous version a few months prior. In other words, the technology is pretty static and sweeping innovations are a thing of the distant past.
The ability of the NET to provide content that is tangible to any or all Human senses is referred to collectively as "Mindscaping", and discrete content is called a "Mindscape". Mindscapes are a large collection of NEC units composed together and designed to impart a specific sort of experience to a user, ranging from interactive games, to virtual locales (aka NetHoods), commercial shopping venues, virtual workplaces, teleconferencing facilities, and other more esoteric uses.