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Labs & Facilities

A server room as part of the Computer Networks program

All computer networks courses supplement theory with experiential learning through extensive hands-on lab exercises. The program’s production-grade private data center and private cloud environment boast an aggregate capacity of 11 terabytes (TB) of memory, 570 virtual central processing units (vCPUs) and more than 300 TB storage with 80 gigabit per second (Gbps) core capacity. Students can access this infrastructure from anywhere at any time. Additionally, physical point-of-delivery modules (opens in new window) , or PODs, can be booked for students to practise routing and switching, voice-over-internet protocol (VoIP), security, server networks, storage networks and wireless networks on real-time devices.

Through this facility, students gain hands-on experience with local area network (LAN) and wide area network (WAN) routing and switching technologies. The lab covers ethernet LAN switching, virtual LAN (VLAN), trunking, multicasting, Layer 2 virtual private networks (VPNs) and multiprotocol label switching (MPLS), with additional focus on pseudowires and virtual private LAN service. Virtual extensible LAN (VXLAN) in a cloud-based software-defined networking environment is examined as well. In routing, you’ll explore network design, routing techniques and end-to-end communication setup. It also includes intra-domain routing protocols, route redistribution, 6to4 tunneling and multicasting. The design and implementation of large-scale networks encompasses border gateway protocol (BGP) for inter-domain routing and applications of MPLS on VPNs.

A hardware and software facility for hands-on experience with quality of service (QoS) techniques in voice and video, the lab exposes students to IP collaboration signalling protocols – including H. 323, session initiation protocol (SIP), media gateway control protocol (MGCP) and skinny client control protocol (SCCP) – and data protocols, such as real‐time transport protocol (RTP). SIP infrastructure is implemented using IP-PBX (SIP server), and end clients (SIP clients) are configured. Additionally, extensions and call routing are configured to enable live calls.

The Wireless Lab is home to long-term evolution (LTE) and Wi-Fi networks for research and training in Cisco AP350 Wi-Fi access points (APs), simple universal mobile telecommunications service (UMTS) cellular network lab, handover in UMTS, and setting up a voice-over-LTE (VoLTE) between two mobile users in different cells. On the wireless security side, the lab utilizes Cisco wireless LAN controller (WLC) and lightweight access point (LWAP) technologies with internal and external authentication, authorization and accounting (AAA) servers. The LTE lab setup is implemented with Huawei eCNS EPC core node network and DBS3900 E-UTRAN radio network. The core node elements, such as S-GW, MME, PCRF, P-GW and HSS, are installed in eCNS. Meanwhile, a radio access network (RAN) consisting of two cells is created with DBS3900 eNBs, connecting to baseband units (BBUs) and remote radio units (RRUs). Two LTE UEs and Cisco 891 4G LTE integrated service routers (ISRs) are LTE clients.

The Network Security Lab provides hands-on experience with firewall appliances, including Cisco ASA, FortiGate, FortiAnalyzer, FortiManager and Palo Alto, as well as access to Google Cloud for cloud security experiments. Students will also configure network address translation, port address translation and secure tunneling protocols, such as IPsec over GRE.

In the Cloud Computing Lab, students design and deploy cloud infrastructure from the ground up using VMware and OpenStack platforms. This encompasses virtualization technologies at the compute (bare-metal and OS), storage and network levels. Students work with MDS storage, N5K and N7K data center switching appliances, and Cisco UCSM server networks for building storage area network (SAN) and data center environments. The experiments conducted in the lab also cover operations and management of public cloud computing platforms such as AWS, Azure and GCP.