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ThinkMind // International Journal On Advances in Telecommunications, volume 11, numbers 1 and 2, 2018 // View article tele_v11_n12_2018_8


Using Cisco VIRL and GNS3 to Improve the Scale-out of Large Virtual Network Testbeds in Higher Education

Authors:
Sven Reißmann
Sebastian Rieger
Christoph Seifert
Christian Pape

Keywords: Network Virtualization; Network Emulation; Higher Education; VIRL; GNS3

Abstract:
Over the last years, education paradigms developed from the traditional classroom learning to novel approaches like e-learning and blended learning. Especially blended learning, which combines the traditional approach with e-learning independent of time and place, is an important concept to increase the quality of study programmes. For the creation of laboratory setups in higher education dealing with computer networks, virtualized network environments have been continuously gaining momentum. Depending on the desired practical or theoretical orientation, they can be implemented using different paradigms, as well as corresponding hardware or software solutions. A high practical relevance and functional realism can be achieved using network emulation. However, emulation requires more resources compared to network simulators, due to the complexity of realistic network functions. To offer emulated virtual network environments, e.g., for a large number of participants in higher education courses, scalable virtualization backends and cluster solutions are necessary. In this article, we provide an overview over available paradigms to create networking experiments in higher education classes. We also present a number of requirements, which we identified to be important in the context of the networking laboratory (NetLab) of Fulda University of Applied Sciences. Based on these requirements, the available software solutions were compared and the best matching solutions were selected for the use in our laboratory. The scalability and performance evaluation of virtual network testbeds presented in this article, outlines the suitability of each compared network virtualization and emulation solution for higher education courses, and discusses possibilities for further improvements.

Pages: 87 to 100

Copyright: Copyright (c) to authors, 2018. Used with permission.

Publication date: June 30, 2018

Published in: journal

ISSN: 1942-2601

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