NVLab, a Networking Virtual Web-Based Laboratory that Implements Virtualization and Virtual Network Computing Technologies
One virtual CPU ( vcpus = 1).
64 MB of memory ( memory = 64).
A regular file on the hard disk to be used as a storage medium
Two network interfaces:
(vif = ["mac=00:16:3e:78:d9:01,
bridge=xenbr1,type = ioemu",
"mac = 00:16:3e:78:d9:02,
bridge = xenbr2, type=ioemu"]).
Send the network diagram's information to be saved on the server side as an XML document. ( Send to server.)
Invoke the so-called Builder tool, which will use the XML document, for building the network on the server. ( Create the diagram on the server.)
Clear the drawing ( Discard and Open New Design) and start over from the beginning.
Print the diagram on the learner's local printer. ( Print Current Design on Local Printer.)
Use the two C class IP subnets 192.168.0.x and 192.168.1.x in this task.
Assign IP addresses from one subnet to the interfaces connected to xenbr1 (eth0 from the router and eth0 from PC1).
Assign IP addresses from the other subnet to the interfaces connected to xenbr2 (eth1 from the router and eth0 from PC2).
Check the connectivity between each PC and the router.
Configure the router to allow IP forwarding and check the connectivity between PC1 and PC2.
1. On a scale between 0 and 9, where 0 indicates "very bad" and 9 indicates "excellent":
Designer tool rating was in the range of 7-9. Detailed feedback related to this tool showed that some learners found difficulty in drawing the connection between two devices.This is due to the fact that Designer is not intended to perform high-level drawing functions.
Builder rating (6-9) was slightly lower than Designer. In their comments, learners mentioned that they found the time Builder takes for creating the network on the server to be long.
The connection to the server was granted rating in the range of 7-9, but learners commented that the size of the VNC applet window showing the host server's desktop was relatively small which caused inconveniency while taking the exercise.
The size of the VMs' window was also small but had less improper impact on the learners than the impact of the small size of the server's VNC window.
2. On a scale between 0 and 9, where 0 indicates "very difficult" and 9 indicates "extremely easy," most learners found the exercise somewhere between easy and difficult since they were exposed to similar exercise as reflected in the results also ( Fig. 14). Only 20 percent of the sample group found the exercise very easy because they had previous networking experience and further study of advanced networking concepts. Working on Linux machines rather than MS Windows machines made the exercise slightly difficult for most learners.
3. In the exercise text, suggestions to perform more tests on the network, try more than one plan for IP planning, and even try a different network were included. While 60 percent of the learners completed the exercise as handed, 40 percent of them went beyond the exercise text and tried some of the suggestions and other advanced scenarios for the network.
4. All learners who tried NVLab mentioned that they were able to complete the exercise successfully and that they find the system suitable for practicing Computer Networks and that they believe that it will be possible to take more complex exercises within it.
1. Modifying the laboratory structure to accept more than one user logging to the system.
2. Improving Builder to make the creation of the Virtual Machines faster (currently one VM takes 4-5 minutes to be created).
3. Implementing the laboratory in real environment to test it quantitatively.
M. Wannous is with the Graduate School of Science and Technology, Kumamoto University, Kurokami 2-39-1, Kumamoto-City 860-8555, Japan. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
H. Nakano is with the Center for Multimedia and Information Technologies, Kumamoto University, Kurokami 2-39-1, Kumamoto-City 860-8555, Japan. E-mail: email@example.com.
Manuscript received 6 Aug. 2008; revised 24 Apr. 2009; accepted 29 July 2009; published online 10 Aug. 2009.
For information on obtaining reprints of this article, please send e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org, and reference IEEECS Log Number TLT-2008-08-0063.
Digital Object Identifier no. 10.1109/TLT.2009.31.
Muhammad Wannous received the MEng degree in computer science and electrical engineering in 2009 from Kumamoto University, Japan, where he is currently working toward the PhD degree in the Graduate School of Science and Technology. His main research topic is the design of Web-based ICT laboratories and integrating them into the available courses. He has published a number of papers on this topic in international and Japanese conferences. He is a student member of the IEEE and the IEEE Computer Society and is also a member of the IEEE Education Society.
Hiroshi Nakano received the PhD (Doctor of Science) degree from Kyushu University. He is currently a professor in the Center for Multimedia and Information Technology, Kumamoto University. His university teaching experiences are in physics and information science at Nagoya University, and information education and instructional systems (ICT field) at Kumamoto University, where he introduced university-wide e-learning environments and played an important role in founding the Graduated School of Instructional Systems and the Institute of e-Learning Development. His research work focuses on the development of the virtual learning environments, e-laboratory systems and virtual reality for e-learning, and scientific visualization.