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Learning Computer Networking on Open Paravirtual Laboratories

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8 Author(s)

Learning practical information communication technology skills such as network configuration and security planning requires hands-on experience with a number of different devices which may be unavailable or too costly to provide, especially for institutions under tight budget constraints. This paper describes how a specific open software technology, paravirtualization, can be used to set up open source virtual networking labs (VNLs) easily and at virtually no cost. The paper highlights how paravirtual labs can be adopted jointly by partner organizations, e.g., when the institution hosting the virtual lab provides hands-on training and students' skill evaluation as a service to partner institutions overseas. A practical VNL implementation, the open virtual lab (OVL), is used to describe the added value that open source VNLs can give to e-Learning frameworks, achieving a level of students' performance comparable or better than the one obtained when students directly interact with physical networking equipment.

Published in:

IEEE Transactions on Education  (Volume:50 ,  Issue: 4 )