ASEE Zone 2 Conference 2017

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Writing Mini Protocol Stacks as an aid to teaching networking protocols

Final Paper
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Current research literature abounds with many innovations in approaches to teaching networking. Simulators like NS2 (Network Simulator version 2) and NS3 are widely used in academia to teach network protocols. Zenghin and Saroughian present an OSPF (Open Shortest Path First) simulator called the DEVS-Suite (Discrete Event Discrete Time Simulator) that helps students study and understand the OSPF protocol (Zengin & Sarjoughian, 2010). Yang, Yang, Gao, Shen, Zhu and Tan contend “Network protocols are mass, stuffy, abstract and difficult to understand for students to learn” and suggest a layered task based method based on the layered TCP/IP protocol itself as a solution to teach networking (Yang et al., 2010). Feitelson looks at the pros and cons of using two different textbooks by different authors that can be used to teach networking courses (Feitelson, 2007). These text books emphasize building small networks that students can use as labs to gain a better understanding. Feitelson concludes that while these approaches equip the students to become better network administrators they do not do much to make them network researchers. One is inclined to agree with Feitelson because knowing how to use a protocol is only a first step to understanding it. The ‘learn by implementation’ paradigm is also recommended by Uldag and McBride in implementing Bluetooth stacks as a method to teach networking (Uludag & McBride, 2010).


Anand Richard    
Computer Science
Saint Joseph's College
United States


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