Cloud-based hands-on lab for Communication Networks

Cloud-based hands-on lab for Communication Networks

Ut est rerum omnium magister usus.
“Experience is the teacher of all things.”

Hands-on learning—learning by experimentation—is a great way to learn systems and networks. However, not everyone has access to a well-equipped lab (and COVID-19 has further restricted physical access to labs). Cloud computing and virtualisation has eased some of hardware resource requirements, but setting up a virtual lab environment takes significant effort and expertise.

On this Teachers’ day, we are delighted to announce the release of our cloud-based hands-on lab for Communication Networks. The software runs entirely on cloud, doing away with requirements to set up any software on a user’s computer. In addition to the lab environment, we have also put together self-learning course modules to recall key concepts (with links to Internet resources for learning the concepts), exercises, and code snippets to get started on complex exercises. The self-taught workflow is such that the learner is able to read the instructions as well as try out the examples in the lab console from the same browser window. Each user, after registration, is allocated a dedicated system resource to try out the exercises/experiments. The course content follows executable book format (built using the excellent Jupyter-book project) to embed executable Python code within instructions. In addition, we’ve added system shell as well as a graphical desktop to access the system utilities needed for building, configuring, and programming networks.

The lab platform is accessible at https://netlab.cnihackathon.in. We intend to keep updating/improving the lab based on your feedback. So, please give it a spin and let us know your feedback at cni.iisc.netlab@gmail.com!