Computerized electronics can be broken down into three simple categories: peripherals, personal computers, and servers.
Peripherals are microcomputer devices that don’t need the full processing power and storage capacity of a personal computer but benefit from online networking and other functions. Peripherals may run software, but too many programs (10+) will degrade the system’s performance. AIs and infomorphs are incapable of running on peripherals, though they may access them. Peripherals only have public and user accounts.
Common peripherals include: spimes, appliances, most cybernetic implants, individual sensors, and weapons.
Personal computers account for a wide range of computer types, but essentially include anything that has the capabilities evolved from generations of personal computers to meet an everyday user’s needs. Most personal computers are portable and tailored for use by multiple users at a time. Personal computers may run one AI or infomorph at a time. They may not run simulspace programs.
Common personal computers include: mesh inserts, ectos, and vehicles.
Servers have much greater processing power and data management capabilities than personal computers. They are capable of handling hundreds of users, multiple AIs and infomorphs, and they may run simulspace programs. Though few are portable, some of them come close.
For ease of use, as well as for privacy and security purposes, one or more devices may be slaved to each other. One device (usually the character’s mesh inserts or ecto) takes the role of master, while the other device(s) takes the role of slave. All traffic to and from slaved devices is routed through the master.
This allows a slaved device to rely on the master’s security features and active monitoring. Anyone that wants to connect to or hack into a slaved device is rerouted to the master for authentication and security scrutiny. Slaved devices automatically accept commands from their master device. This means that a hacker who penetrates a master system can legitimately access and issue commands to a slaved device, assuming their access privileges allow for it.
PANs are typically formed by slaving all of a character’s devices to their ecto or mesh inserts. Similarly, individual components of a security system (doors, sensors, etc.) are usually slaved to a central security node that serves as a chokepoint for anyone hoping to hack the system. The same is often true for other networks and facilities.