June 14, 2009
June 14, 2009
June 17, 2009
14.140.1 - 14.140.10
A Voice over IP Initiative to Teach Undergraduate Engineering Students the Fundamentals of Computer Communications
Abstract The purpose of this paper is to disseminate simple strategies to adapt undergraduate laboratories on computer networks to the teaching of Voice over IP (VoIP) protocols. Teaching a new technology and updating our curriculum with VoIP was our main goal initially. From the response of our students to this VoIP initiative, we have learned that we are not only introducing our students to a new technology but we also are helping them to better understand basic concepts of computer communications.
1 - Introduction
Video-conferencing and voice over IP (VoIP) phones are popular among young and old. At home or work, VoIP has become a cost-efficient way of making phone calls. Is VoIP1 a telephone service, or a data application? The answer: both. In other words, VoIP applications combine requirements of traditional telephony and data applications. Therefore, they encompass all aspects of communication protocols, such as call signaling, routing, and quality of service (QoS). This combination offers a great opportunity to advance the knowledge and understanding of communication protocols to our undergraduate engineering students.
To introduce VoIP to our students, a VoIP initiative has started, in which new labs are being added to a class on Local Area Networks and to follow-up classes:
- One of the labs has the objective to show the differences between real-time (UDP-based) traffic and non-real-time (TCP-based) traffic. Using a network analyzer tool, students inspect the VoIP packets and all the signaling needed to make the calls, while other applications such as web browsing generate TCP-based traffic.
- Another lab allows students to experiment with different audio encoders/decoders (codecs) and verify their bandwidth requirements, including the overhead added by underlying communication protocols.
- To combine the student’s interest in wireless networks and VoIP, a third lab allows them to implement a VoIP system over a point-to-point wireless link. By generating impairments in this wireless link, the students verify the performance of several audio codecs.
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