Joel Carter, cyber-warrior

Monday, 16 September 2002, 7:03 PM EST

In a fortified lab in the heart of the British Columbia Institute of Technology's sprawling Burnaby campus, 21-year-old Joel Carter stands on guard in the new fight against high-tech terrorism.

The Internet Engineering Lab where he works opened in June 2001 as the first facility of its kind in Canada. It allows computer researchers -- both academic and corporate -- to reliably and inexpensively emulate and test large-scale network configurations like those found in the core of the Internet.

It's kind of like a petri dish in which technology is nurtured and tamed before being set loose on the World Wide Web.

The 400-square-foot, air-conditioned lab is home to $1.6 million worth of routers, switches, servers and high-tech gear.

"That router can move 192 billion packets per second," Carter tells me, pointing to one suitcase-sized box.

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