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Hands On Projects In Wireless And Mobile Computer Network Courses

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2006 Annual Conference & Exposition


Chicago, Illinois

Publication Date

June 18, 2006

Start Date

June 18, 2006

End Date

June 21, 2006



Conference Session

Internet and Distributed Computing

Tagged Division

Information Systems

Page Count


Page Numbers

11.679.1 - 11.679.7



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Paper Authors


Xiannong Meng Bucknell University

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XIANNONG MENG is an Associate Professor in the Department of Computer Science at Bucknell University in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, U.S.A. His research interests include distributed computing, data mining, intelligent Web search, operating systems, and computer networks. He received his Ph.D. in Computer Science from Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Worcester, Massachusetts, U.S.A.

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Luiz Perrone Bucknell University

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LUIZ FELIPE PERRONE is Assistant Professor of Computer Science, at Bucknell University. He has been developing an elective in Computer Security since the spring of 2003. His research on the application of computer simulation to the study of the security properties of wireless networks is supported by the Office for Domestic Preparedness, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, via the Institute for Security Technology Studies at Dartmouth College

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Maurice Aburdene Bucknell University

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MAURICE F. ABURDENE is the T. Jefferson Miers Professor of Electrical Engineering and Professor of Computer Science at Bucknell University. He has taught at Swarthmore College, the State University of New York at Oswego, and the University of Connecticut. His research areas include, parallel algorithms, simulation of dynamic systems, distributed algorithms, computer communication networks, control systems, computer-assisted laboratories, and signal processing.

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

Hands-on Projects in Wireless and Mobile Computer Network Courses Abstract

Wireless and mobile computer network courses are becoming increasingly popular in universities and colleges across the nation. This paper collects and analyzes both hardware and software components that are already being used for hands-on exercises in wireless and mobile computer network courses. Most often these hands-on exercises include both programming and laboratory assignments. In traditional wire-based computer network courses, students learn the layered protocols from physical layers such as Ethernet, to network and transport layers such as TCP/IP, and to application layers such as SMTP and HTTP. In learning these concepts and protocols, students have ample opportunities to program at different layers with programming languages such as Java, C++ and C, and can observe clearly how networked computers communicate. In wireless networking environments, for students who wish to learn the basics of programming wireless and mobile networking, it is hard to find standard and well defined programming interfaces and platforms. We have searched and collected information from the Internet about the options available, both in hardware and in software, that have been recently used as laboratory assignments and semester projects in undergraduate and graduate courses. A summary of our findings is presented in this paper.


Many universities have used different protocols and products for hands-on experiences in wireless and mobile network courses. The protocols and standards include IEEE 802.11 (a, b, g or simply WiFi), Bluetooth, IEEE 802.15.4 and Zigbee, sensor networks based on the standard Berkeley “mote” platform implemented in products such as WeC, Rene, Dot, MICA, and Telos. Many of the products use TinyOS, a small operating system targeted for minimum hardware.

We present a summary of hands-on laboratory exercises we found on the Internet. In Vassar’s CMPU-395, students are asked to implement a simplified version of the IEEE 802.11 MAC protocol emulation on Cybiko devices. Students in Harvard’s CS263 were required to implement a simple multi-hop data collection protocol on a kit of four Telos Motes to be integrated and tested in their MoteLab which is a 30-node sensor network. One project in Dartmouth’s COSC 78 required students to implement a location-aware wireless application using the PlaceLab device positioning framework. The hands-on component of the University of Virginia’s CS451/651 uses TinyOS and Berkeley MICA2 Motes to develop applications using light (photo) and sound (audio) sensors.

In the rest of the paper, we focus on specific approaches taken by different universities. Section 2 discusses the project from Vassar College. Section 3 concentrates on the implementation of a simple multi-hop data collection protocol in Harvard University’s CS263. Section 4 presents a project used at Dartmouth in COSC 78, where students implement a location-aware wireless application using the PlaceLab device positioning framework. Section 5 outlines a sequence of lab exercises in University of Virginia’s CS 451/651 course, followed by a summary in Section 6.

Meng, X., & Perrone, L., & Aburdene, M. (2006, June), Hands On Projects In Wireless And Mobile Computer Network Courses Paper presented at 2006 Annual Conference & Exposition, Chicago, Illinois. 10.18260/1-2--771

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