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NVLab, a Networking Virtual Web-Based Laboratory that Implements Virtualization and Virtual Network Computing Technologies

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2 Author(s)
Wannous, M. ; Grad. Sch. of Sci. & Technol., Kumamoto Univ., Kumamoto, Japan ; Nakano, H.

In various ICT courses, it is necessary to establish a proper space where each learner has access to a set of network devices with which he/she can build and test networks with different structures and components. This will enable the learners to practice working on multiple devices as in the case of real world context, and freely apply modifications to the network structure to solve any issue that may arise with the current scenario. While on-campus facilities are designed to meet this criterion, current Web-based laboratories either have fixed network designs, or do not offer a number of real devices to work on. Taking a step forward toward building a Web-based laboratory, we used open source Virtualization and Virtual Network Computing technologies in NVLab, a system that offers the learners tools to draw, configure, test, and troubleshoot network designs using real Operating System instances running in the virtual mode on a host machine. The functionality of the system has been experimented by introducing a case study exercise to a group of remote learners as part of Computer Networks course. Evaluating the participants' advancement was done by comparing their answers to a level test prior and after completing the exercise. The evaluation showed that the learners achieved better results in the level test after completing the exercise and were able to use the system efficiently.

Published in:

Learning Technologies, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:3 ,  Issue: 2 )