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Teaching Local Area Networking In A Secure Virtual Enviroment

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2004 Annual Conference


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 20, 2004

Start Date

June 20, 2004

End Date

June 23, 2004



Conference Session

New Electrical ET Course Development

Page Count


Page Numbers

9.1188.1 - 9.1188.7

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Paper Authors

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Gary Steffen

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

Session: 2548

Teaching Local Area Networking in a Secure Virtual Environment

Gary D. Steffen

Electrical and Computer Engineering Technology Indiana University – Purdue University Fort Wayne


Space, cost and security are all concerns when instructing local area networks. Teaching even the most basic networking techniques requires a minimum of two computers per student with additional systems for more involved experiments. The overhead and space requirements become quite staggering for large class sizes. The students, just learning and unaware, can furthermore be susceptible to outside intrusion or cause accidental adverse affects upon the network to which they attach. Teaching local area networking in a virtual environment can reduce space, cost, and security concerns.

The initial discussion looks at how the virtual environment works by enabling multiple operating systems and their applications to run concurrently on a single physical machine. These operating systems and applications are isolated in secure virtual machines that co-exist on a single piece of hardware. Consideration is given on how traditional basic networking techniques can be adapted to the virtual environment. Important topics include the setup of a virtual environment, managing multiple student environments, properly securing virtual machines, and laboratory experiments in virtual environments.


Space and money have always been a concern when teaching any computer class at Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne (IPFW). Like many establishments of higher education the battle to stay current with hardware and software needs can seem staggering. This can multiply itself when talking about the instruction of the local area networking (LAN) course.

Students in modern local area networking courses can expect to be introduced to several different network operation systems (NOS) and client side operating systems. Creating the smallest of these networks would require, at a minimum, two computers per group, one of these systems being the server and other the client. Teaching more realistic and involved local area networking techniques requires several additional computers per group.

In the past, limited hardware and space required student group sizes for experiments to be quite large (3 to 4 people). A constant complaint of the student was the lack of time working with the NOS because of the group size. To help limit group size, reduce needed space, and overt cost, the Electrical and Computer Engineering Technology (ECET) Department at IPFW has “Proceedings of the 2004 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2004, American Society for Engineering Education”

Steffen, G. (2004, June), Teaching Local Area Networking In A Secure Virtual Enviroment Paper presented at 2004 Annual Conference, Salt Lake City, Utah.

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