Content guide

The topics below represent some of the most diverse topics under the umbrella of computer networks. However, what they do have in common is the effect that they have on our lives and the world around us. As we will see, the topics covered by this year's networks have the potential to change aspects of our lives that we never deemed imaginable.

The Issue of Copyrighting is by no means a new topic. Its impact on our legal systems extends back hundreds of years. However the laws of copyright and indeed the concepts behind them are about to be challenged as we enter into an era, which is unprecedented in terms of freedom of information flow and the medium through which that information can be presented. To see how new technologies are challenging old laws; see our copyright section. From an issue that stretches back hundreds of years to another that will have implications far into the next millennium. The notion of a World Wide Web may need to be modernized as we analyze the possibility of interplanetary nets. However, there are some serious difficulties to be addressed if a reliable Earth-Mars network is to be established. Find out what those are and how they may be addressed in our Internet in space section. One technology that would be at the center of interplanetary nets is satellite technology. In this section, we discuss the nature of the satellite industry, the alternative systems i.e. hardwired systems, the major companies involved in this technology and also its future.

An issue that is getting much media attention of late is the idea of guaranteeing data integrity, as it is transferred. Today, while digital signatures are in use to some degree, they have not been universally adopted as a means to ensure data security. Our digital signatures section examines what are the issues with regard to digital signatures. Biometrics has been seen as a solution to a lot of the user identification and security problems in today's networks. Biometrics involves using biological traits or characteristics to identify an individual. Considering that each human being has features, which cannot be replicated, such as fingerprint and facial geometry, could this be used to ensure that someone is who they say they are? Imagine a world where your thumb is your smart card. This is an intriguing prospect, which is examined in more detail in our biometrics section. Information warfare examines some of the reasons why we may wish to protect our data. This section examines the important topics in the area of information warfare including both military and civil information attack. Other topics discussed in this section include cyber terrorism and virus attacks, which have of late gotten much media attention due to the spate of viruses.

Networks have changed the way that we live our lives from day to day. Wireless technology is beginning to get to a stage where it can deliver services to us with the same level of competency as fixed networks. The wireless section examines the technologies behind wireless networks and the main issues such as security and standards that exist in this field. The gaming industry is now larger than the movie industry and the music industry. In the networked gaming section we look at the history of networked gaming, the present state of the art and the future of this highly profitable industry. The worlds of millions of music fans were quite literally rocked in 1999 when Shawn Fanning, a freshman at Northeastern University, wrote a program that allowed them to share their music across the net. The technology that allowed this 'musical revolution' was peer-to-peer networks. In this section we see what exactly constitutes a peer-to-peer network, applications that have exploited this architecture and its future.

Finally, we will look at IP V6 and Optical networks. IP V6, (Internet protocol version 6), has many benefits over the current version 4 e.g. the ability to deal with a greater number of people on the network (due to longer address number) and new extensions for authentication and data integrity. This section examines the protocol itself and the transfer to IP V6 from IP V4. From a possible network protocol of the future, IP V6, to a probable network technology of the future, namely optical networks. This section examines the technology, which includes use of fiber optics and optical cross connects, the present uses of it and also its place in the networks of tomorrow.