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Implementing Telecommunications Switching and Routing Laboratory Practices: Migration to a Distance-Learning-Based Instruction

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2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Indianapolis, Indiana

Publication Date

June 15, 2014

Start Date

June 15, 2014

End Date

June 18, 2014



Conference Session

Distance Learning in Engineering Technology

Tagged Division

Engineering Technology

Page Count


Page Numbers

24.711.1 - 24.711.13



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Paper Authors


Rigoberto Chinchilla Eastern Illinois University

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Dr. Rigoberto Chinchilla: PhD in Integrated Engineering, (Electrical and Industrial), Ohio University. Is an Associate Professor of Applied Engineering and Technology at Eastern Illinois University (EIU) since 2004. His teaching and research interest include Quality Design, Biometrics and Computer Security and ethics, Automation and Telecommunications. Dr. Chinchilla has been a Fulbright Scholar and a United Nations Scholar, serves at numerous departmental and university committees at EIU and has been awarded several research grants in his career. Dr. Chinchilla is a book author and has published several peer reviewed technical papers during his tenure at EIU. Tel: 2175818534

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Oyindamola O. Idowu Waukegan Schools District 60

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Oyindamola Idowu, MSc. in Technology, Eastern Illinois University, is the current Network Administrator for Waukegan School District #60. She worked as Graduate Assistant in the Telecommunications Laboratory at Eastern Illinois University from Aug 2011 – May 2013. She has a B.Tech. degree in Computer Engineering from Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, Nigeria. Oyindamola is also a Cisco Certified Network Professional (CCNP) with research interests in Biometric and Network security.

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Thomas C. MacMullen Eastern Illinois University

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Thomas MacMullen, MS in Computer Technology, Eastern Illinois University, is a Systems Programmer in the Information Technology department of Eastern Illinois University (EIU) and is an adjunct instructor there as well. His research and teaching interests include Virtual Desktop Technologies, Green Technology Initiatives, and Programming Languages. He can be reached at

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Implementing Telecommunication’s Switching and Routing Laboratory Practices: Migration to a Distance Learning based InstructionTraditional learning environment laboratory practices related to telecommunication laboratoriesare aimed to learn to program and interconnect a variety of switches, routers, firewallsappliances, VoIP phones and support equipment. These practices are typically pre-wired withinour laboratory facilities and students are required to work within the facilities as part of theirpractical experience. The need to be physically present at pre-scheduled hours with an instructor,limits the possibilities of many non-traditional students wanting to take these courses. The needto design viable alternatives that allow students to access laboratory facilities remotely withoutlosing most of the educational objectives, typically achieved in a face-to-face environment, isincreasing by the day.This paper propose a solution already implemented and tested in order to move a traditionallytaught routing and switching telecommunication course, to an ONLINE based instruction. Thedesign requires remote access authentication to the VMWare View system which is composed ofthree servers: The secure server, the composer server and the administrative server. Theseservers have been virtualized and reside on the hardware allocated for the project. The VMWareView system is housed on a cluster of eight Sun Server X6250 blades. Each blade serves as aVMWare ESX 5.0 host. Within the administrative server, a pool of virtual computers is created.Any student with internet access enrolled in the course can authenticate to the VMWare Viewsecure server which checks them for password validity and for access authorization. Once accessis granted, the user is assigned to a random virtual computer in the pool. Upon logging off, thevirtual computer that the user was logged into will be deleted and re-copied from the snapshot sothat the next user who logs in to it will get a clean copy and will not be able to access theprevious user’s data.Once student is granted access to a virtual machine it can first perform hundreds of simulationswith virtual routers, switches, terminals and with all current telecommunication protocols withinthe virtual server environment using the NetSim® for CCNA V9 simulation software. Once thestudents gets proficient with a simulated laboratory environment, which mimics the real set-up ofthe laboratory facilities, a specially created secure proxy-firewalled network allows then to takecontrol of the laboratory real facilities, which are prewired for the specific practice in place.Students then are allowed to manage and program real switches, routers, VoIP phones, firewalland perform laboratory practices as if they were inside the laboratory. In case they needassistance, instructors with remote access to the facilities can be reached online within thelaboratory hours.

Chinchilla, R., & Idowu, O. O., & MacMullen, T. C. (2014, June), Implementing Telecommunications Switching and Routing Laboratory Practices: Migration to a Distance-Learning-Based Instruction Paper presented at 2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Indianapolis, Indiana. 10.18260/1-2--20603

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