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Creating And Testing Vlans Using Network Switches

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2003 Annual Conference


Nashville, Tennessee

Publication Date

June 22, 2003

Start Date

June 22, 2003

End Date

June 25, 2003



Conference Session

Current Issues in Information Technology

Page Count


Page Numbers

8.335.1 - 8.335.13



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Paper Authors

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John Jantzi

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Xiannong Meng

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Maurice Aburdene

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 2558

Creating and Testing VLANs using Network Switches

Maurice Aburdene, John Jantzi, and Xiannong Meng

Bucknell University


This paper presents a hands-on undergraduate computer network laboratory exercise in configuring a network switch to create and test four virtual local area networks (VLANs). The objective is to familiarize students with layer 1 (physical layer) and layer 2 (network interface layer or data link layer). The exercise is designed to allow students to discover the need for layer 3 (internet or network) and, in particular, routing protocols to allow communication among the VLANs. In addition students are introduced to a spanning tree algorithm used within a VLAN to prevent bridge loops. The exercise requires students use a network switch, such as the Cisco 3500, to make physical connections between the switch and computers.


It is very valuable for students to be in an actual networking environment, to have hands-on experience which helps them understand the fundamentals of computer networks. The laboratory exercises demystify many of the concepts discussed in the lectures and can range from software to hardware or anywhere in between. Software exercises may include writing network applications in socket programming, tracing and analyzing network traffic, and developing a protocol stack [5, 13]. Hardware exercises may include building a network from a collection of individual pieces of hardware such as cables, connectors, network cards, computers and routers [1, 2].

Comer [5] describes a large set of laboratory exercises that can be used in various networking environments, with an emphasis on Internet programming and the protocol stack. Al-Holou [3] suggests using simulation tools as a supplement to computer network curriculum, with the advantage of such tool being the flexibility, allowing the instructor to alter network parameters, hardware and software with relative ease. Hill and Mayo [8, 10] present cases where an isolated network is needed to teach network security issues. Abraham, Bressan, Francia, and Mengel [1, 4, 7, 11] present various types of hands-on network exercises involving hardware configurations. Liu and Fabrega [9, 6] address the issues of hands-on network experiences using a Web browser to access a virtual network providing students the capability to perform a set of well-designed network exercises. This approach has elements of both a simulated environment and an actual laboratory environment.

In this paper, we describe an undergraduate network laboratory exercise to configure a network switch, create and test four virtual local area networks (VLANs). This exercise uses a laboratory

“Proceedings of the 2003 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2003, American Society for Engineering Education”

Jantzi, J., & Meng, X., & Aburdene, M. (2003, June), Creating And Testing Vlans Using Network Switches Paper presented at 2003 Annual Conference, Nashville, Tennessee. 10.18260/1-2--12638

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