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Computer networks courses are hard to teach as there are many details in the protocols and techniques involved that are difficult to grasp. Employing programming assignments as part of the course helps students to obtain a better understanding and gain further insight into the theoretical lectures. In this paper, the Partov simulation engine and experience using this engine in a computer networks course are discussed. Since 2009, various programming assignments based on the Partov system have been set to help students in their learning process. Student feedback has been very good; this has been quantified in two surveys in which a majority of students expressed their satisfaction with this approach.