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A networking laboratory for the developing world

By: Ahmed, M.; Bokhari, S.H.; Ali, M.; Mirza, J.A.; Khan, R.H.; bin Sohail, S.;

2004 / IEEE


This item was taken from the IEEE Periodical ' A networking laboratory for the developing world ' Internet-based communication is assuming an increasingly important role in the developing world. It is thus crucial that students be exposed to contemporary networking equipment in a realistic setting, in order to connect theoretical material taught in lecture courses with the realities of physical hardware. To this end, a large computer networking laboratory has been set up to provide a realistic environment for teaching internetworking concepts. This laboratory provides university-level students with a testbed to experiment with fundamental issues of internetworking in a way that cannot be provided by simulators and to a degree of rigor not possible with the commonly available laboratory setups designed for technicians. We describe the motivations for setting up the laboratory, its network structure and equipment, and the type of experiments students conduct. The laboratory structure is influenced heavily by the limited funds at our disposal - a common problem in the developing world. Many of the problems we faced in setting up our equipment (such as the crucial impact of proper electrical grounding on system performance) are not ordinarily encountered in developed nations. Our experiences are thus likely to be of value to others in the developing world who are contemplating setting up experimental facilities for teaching networking.