June 20, 2010
June 20, 2010
June 23, 2010
15.511.1 - 15.511.15
Enhancing Learning in Data Communication and Networking with Home Network
Data communication and networking is provided as an introductory course to get the students familiar with the concepts and technologies in computer networking. It covers a wide range of technologies and protocols in the network, which makes the hands-on practice necessary for the learning of this course. It is challenging to build a real network with a limited budget because of the cost of equipment, space and network management. It is difficult for the students to have full access to a real network since they have to share it with other students and can not change the configurations easily. Students, especially those taking online courses, prefer to work on a network that they can perform experiments conveniently. So it is important to introduce a network environment that the students have easy and full access to facilitate the learning.
With the prevalence of residential broadband Internet access and the popularity of wireless LAN, a home network is quite common which is composed of cable modem, low-cost wireless router and one or more computers. Over 85% of people in the survey11 with a home network use some form of home router. Most of the students taking the data communication and networking courses have a wireless router at home. For example, more than 90% of the students in the networking class already have the experience of setting up a wireless router at home. But most of the students only use the home network for the sharing of broadband Internet connection. Actually, the home network is a typical Local Area Network (LAN) which illustrates lots of networking concepts. The students can learn more about computer networks if they can perform more experiments at home network. It is desirable to design some labs for the students to work on their home network. The purpose of this paper is to introduce a set of labs that can help the students utilize the available network resources at home and gain some hands-on practice.
Most of the laboratories designed for the computer networking courses are set up on campus networks11, 14, 15. The labs run on real devices which needs a budget. Those networks are maintained by technical staff and shared by all the users, so students only have limited access to the networks. Besides the traditional networking laboratories performed on real devices, there are some other approaches to teach networking labs, such as virtual lab software13 and simulation tools. Simulation software1,5,8 can be used to simulate the network environment, so real equipment and networks are not necessary. For example, VMWare1,12 is used widely in the teaching of computer networks. Compared with the virtual network, the advantage of our approach is that the students can work on the real equipment and network. They can verify the results and understand how a computer network is working in a real environment.
In the design of the labs, besides configuring the home network to share the Internet connection, we extend the home network as a teaching laboratory. The purpose is to enhance the learning in data communication and networking courses with a series of assignments and laboratories performed on the home network. It can help the students enhance the learning of the abstract concepts and theories. At the same time they can gain hands-on experiences of networking
Luo, H. (2010, June), Enhancing Learning In Data Communication And Networking With Home Network Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. https://peer.asee.org/16750
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