June 20, 2010
June 20, 2010
June 23, 2010
15.875.1 - 15.875.13
Mobile and Wireless Networks Course Development with Hands- on Labs
Rapid advances in wireless networks technologies present opportunities for innovative education at undergraduate and graduate level. Wireless networks courses become increasingly popular in colleges (including community colleges) and universities. However, there is a real concern with the lack of hands-on labs based active learning in computer science, engineering and technology curriculums. Hands-on project based learning is found to be the best way of learning and teaching wireless networking technologies. These hands-on projects also provide the problem based learning (PBL).
In this paper, an undergraduate computer information technology special topic course in mobile and wireless networks is presented which is developed based on many hands-on lab activities. In learning the concepts of wireless networks via hands-on labs, students get ample opportunities to understand the underlying principles and concepts of wireless networks. These hands-on labs are chosen to provide sufficient challenges to the students that prepare the engineers and technologists for the next generation solutions. The level of difficulty for this course requires the prerequisites of networking course. For each hands-on lab, each team of students carry out the lab activities in order to successfully implement the particular wireless networks solutions. The course requires the students to collaborate among them and participate in active learning based modules. This paper elaborates innovative projects that are suitable for laboratory work in computer information technology curriculum. It explores both hardware and software components that are now being used for practical exercises in wireless networks courses. This paper discusses the hands-on labs for wireless networks such as site survey, MAC (Medium Access Control) layer settings, upgrading the firmware of wireless devices, etc. In addition, this paper also illustrates the wireless security labs which discuss how to set up WPA/WPA2 (Wi-Fi Protected Access) on Cisco and Linksys wireless access points (AP).
The field of wireless networks is dynamically changing due to the advances in the technologies. It becomes more and more vital as people spend more and more time connected to the network from anywhere anytime. Many areas of wireless networks demand highly trained personnel to solve the new challenges such as site survey, wireless security, etc. There is a great demand of technicians and engineers who can maintain and secure the wireless networked environment. While electrical and computer engineering and computer science curriculums offer students few wireless networking courses; this may not enough to train network professionals with the proper background on the newer wireless technologies. Although many courses on computer and wireless networks have been developed in these programs, they are primarily focused on in- depth mathematics, algorithms, and theory. Many of these courses don’t use hands-on labs that are the preferred learning style of information technology students9. Since computer information technology (CIT) program emphasizes the hands-on based active learning, the previous approaches taken by other programs (computer science/engineering programs) are not suitable
Jasani, H. (2010, June), Mobile And Wireless Networks Course Development With Hands On Labs Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. https://peer.asee.org/16653
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