The Net

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NET Terminals
The NET is accessed either from a Terminal or an actual server that forms part of the backbone of the NET. Since servers are expensive, controlled, and typically well secured and / or hidden, most NET access occurs from Terminals. Most are quite old, and Terminal technology hasn't really changed since the 2010's. They are effectively the equivalent of phones, ATM's, and high-bandwidth network ports rolled in to one.
There are public Terminals located in kiosks, businesses, and often seemingly randomly placed alcoves in business parks and commercial areas. Most middle-class homes and up have one, and often branch multiple ports or a wireless hub off a single line drop to allow NET based entertainments to be enjoyed in many rooms of a house. People living in condos, townhouses, and apartments usually have to settle for a stripped down version that shares bandwidth among several units. The rich usually have satellite enabled versions for security and locality reasons, but while the presentation of the Terminals physical footprint might be upscaled, the functionality is the same. The NET is a great leveler of social status.
The technology of a Terminal is reasonably simple; they consist of a simple firmware Computer with minimal (but useful) functionality hardwired into them, and one or more Ports that allow a physical connection to the NET for other Computers.
The following list represents the basic features of the NET that are usable from just about any public Terminal without the need for a Computer, Computer Programming usage, a Brainjack or VR Visor, or any real skill at all:
    • Access Hosted personal EMail
    • Access other Hosted Accounts
    • Upload / Download data to / from Hosted Accounts
    • Access public databanks and private databanks they have credentials for
    • Play Hosted Immersive / Interactive Games
    • Participate in Hosted Virtual Chats
    • Place / Accept Trivid calls
    • Cable Trivid Features
    • Bank Teller Features
    • Media Download Features
    • File Input / Output
NOTE: Hosted means that some other Computer elsewhere is running the software necessary to enable and / or store the data needed for a particular feature. The Terminals themselves lack the capability to store data or run software other than what they are hardwired with. Thus to access EMail, one must first have an agreement with a third-party EMail provider and an account on one of their EMail servers.
On the upside Terminals are a massively enabling tool for businesses and people seeking entertainment or communication. Without the need for any level of real computing skill or knowledge on the part of the user, Terminals provide a useful service and are sufficient to meet the computing needs of the general public. On the downside its such a safe and controlled interface that it is almost impossible to get a Terminal to do anything illegal or out of the ordinary as they are simply physically incapable of it.
Many Terminals completely lack the firmware interface and are just a Port; they merely provide a means to connect to the NET. A person with a VR visor or Brainjack can walk up to any unsecured Port and just plug in, accessing most of the same basic features . This would allow them to access the Basic Features of the NET listed above.
More typically though, a user would connect a Personal Computer or Workstation to the Port and use the Software and functionality of that Computer. If the connected Computer has the necessary physical and software components needed, they can also access the Advanced Features listed above.
Port-only Terminals are favored by many businesses for office use, but are also used in places where a connection to the NET is sometimes needed but a full blown Terminal would either take up too much space or be an eyesore.
Fortunately for the NET technology, early in the burgeoning corporatization of the NET, a spin off of Luxent called NetSense Laboratories was incorporated in 1993 to handle the design, sales, installation, and maintenance of public and private NET Terminals intended to bring access to the NET to the masses.
Selling to municipalities, other corporations, domestic developers, shoping centers...basically anyone that wanted to install one or more public Terminals, NetSense had installed over 1,500,000 public NET Terminals worldwide from 1994 to 1998, in a variety of configurations ranging from "Teller" style walkups to "Kiosk" style sit-downs, and custom models as well. Well written maintenance contracts ensured that NetSense was not only solvent, but financially durable to such a degree that even though the parent company Luxent folded during the tech collapse in 1999, NetSense was largely unaffected.
NetSense continues to design, manufacture, and sell Terminals into the modern day, with currently active installations in the six figure range. Due to NetSense's market strength and longevity their Terminals are the defacto standard means to interface with the NET for the masses.
A Terminal has a trusted connection to the NET enabling it to nearly instantly communicate to any other Terminal or any Computer connected to a Terminal worldwide. This is defined as a Mind Link. In this case the NET is considered to be a single entity. Additionally, the Mind Link is defined as being able to affect both Machine and Human Minds, representing the ability of the NET to communicate neurally-parseable data to human users connected to a Terminal.
Note, the point cost of Terminals is shown only for reference; characters that can use the NET pay for a less expensive but similar ability, as described in subsequent sections.
Trusted NET Connection: Mind Link, Machine and Human Minds, Any Terminal On The NET, Global (40 Active Points); OIF Immobile (Terminal, -1 1/2); Real Cost: 16 Points
To connect to a Terminal requires the Computer Link perk at the 5 point level.
From the perspective of the NET, a "user" can be either a person or a client Computer. In the case of Computers this is purchased as a Perk for the Computer itself.
To connect to the NET (and thus participate in a VR experience of some kind) people (ie, characters) generally use either VR Goggles or a Brainjack. Of the two, a Brainjack offers a higher fidelity experience, although some people are unnerved by the experience and prefer the lower-tech and more "natural" experience afforded by VR Goggles.
Brainjacks and VR Goggles are described under NET Mechanics.
There is also a third option available in the form of larger VR "rigs" which take many different forms but most typically are either a contraption similar to a dentist's chair or a full body suit and suspension apparatus. Such rigs are remnants of pre-Brainjack technology that provided a more immersive experience than VR Goggles alone could accomplish. Brainjacks effectively rendered such technology obsolete years ago, but there is still a market for them among people that either do not yet have or do not want a Brainjack and their usage persists. The main usage of them in a commercial venue is for Biofeedback Training.