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Summer student lab material

This package summer-student-lab.tar.gz contains :

  • a pdf with a few network explanations and the exercises
  • all the tex to generate it
  • 2 python scripts to send and receive udp packets, used in the exercise
The goal of the lab is to have two team of students , each setting up a switch and two computers. They are interconnected with a router that we have to set.

Update: The computers run off a liveCD installation of SLC6, with wireshark and man pages (we enforce non-internet access to make them work smile ). You can find the live image at the following directory


Note if you want to add more packages to it, you can modify ie. slc65-live-base.ks in that directory, and re-generate it by issuing

sudo http_proxy="http://netgw01:8080" LANG=C time livecd-creator --config=slc65-live-base.ks --fslabel="slc6-lab-live " --tmpdir=/tmp/livecd

Since the CD/DVD readers in the control room are kind of very messed up (CD who?), I would use USB sticks. dd is your friend for that,

sudo umount /dev/sdb
sudo dd if=
/home/dcampora/projects/mini_moore/sl6/livecd-config/lab-slc6-livecd.iso of=/dev/sdb bs=1M

Just for your knowledge, this ISO contains an SLC6 basic installation plus the following packages,



The switches and routers that are used are the old HP control switches. To connect to it, you need a USB-to-female-RS232 serial cable.

Feedback from the students 2013

  • We should send them in advance the explanation part (manual) so that they have time to read through before coming to the lab
  • The time for the visit/lab is not well balanced according to some of them. They would like to go more in depth in the lab by either shortening the visit a bit or extending the overall lab time
  • What they liked a lot was the "hands-on" approach, that means really taking the switch, put it on the table, plug the cables and so on
  • The explanations are a bit too theoretical. It's true that most of it is a copy and paste from Wikipedia. It would be good to make it a bit simpler, and then the tutors can give more details. An example with the MTU which could be described in the manual simply as the maximum size of a packet, and then the tutor can explain that it's a field in the header and blablabla. The usual mail and post metaphor to explain the network stack is really appreciated and should maybe be part of the explanations
  • Even though all of them liked the lab, they were a bit surprised by the content: according to what was sold to them at the lectures, they were expecting HLT like things!
Something that would be very interesting but requires some time investment would be to simulate a whole DAQ chain. We could imagine to have a small sensor (temperature, movement, whatever) from which they have to read the data using serial cables. In this computer they would do a bit of "triggering" (one could imagine a small piece of code that they need to complete). This computer sends the data to another computer (in another network, via a router, so we do not lose the network and hands-on aspect they liked) that would act as a storage. I made that kind of proposals and they said this would better fit the description which is made to them.
Topic revision: r3 - 2014-08-04 - DanielHugoCamporaPerez

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