Friday, May 8, 2009

MIMIC Virtual Lab Helps Students At Franklin University

Franklin University’s new Computer Networks course has integrated the use
of MIMIC Virtual Lab CCNA for providing hands-on Cisco-based labs.

Todd A. Whittaker is a Program Chair for the Information Technology major.
As a Program Chair, it is Todd’s responsibility to acts as a focal point
concerning the program within the University and take a leadership role in
promoting the program within the community.

When Todd Whittaker decided to start a new computer networking course for
both face-to-face and online students, he also wanted to make sure that
students receive the necessary hands-on experience along with theoretical
knowledge. While purchasing Cisco devices was an option, he didn’t want
either the expense or the difficulty of scheduling equipment time for 40 to 50
remote students. Additionally, Todd wanted to provide the entire lab setup
with Cisco routers and switches for students to practice while they go through
the course material. Especially when the students had to perform the
assignments, Todd wanted them to actually go through the exercise of
setting up, configuration and design of networks. Todd needed a simulation
tool that supported all those requirements at a reasonable price. Since
students were going to use this tool, he also wanted to make sure that it was
error proof and students can reset the configurations whenever they wanted.
After researching and looking at different tools, he turned to MIMIC Virtual
Lab CCNA from Gambit Communications.


MIMIC Virtual Lab gave Franklin University students an access to a real world
lab environment with a network of Cisco Routers and Switches. Students
participate in a hands-on learning experience without buying an expensive,
cutting edge Cisco lab, or worrying about remote access to the University lab
and sharing.

Students now have the ability to practice Cisco network configuration instead
of just reading instructions. They can interact with routers and switches, just
like with real devices. Students can also practice different Cisco IOS
commands and device configuration. But, moreover, Virtual Lab permits
flexible customization and the ability to create entirely new lab

MIMIC Virtual Lab became a part of the course material.

“MIMIC Virtual Lab is helping us to achieve the educational outcomes
we have set for the IT program. Unlike many traditional colleges and
universities, Franklin wants its students to apply on the job
tomorrow the skills learned in class today and MIMIC Virtual Lab helps us to
bridge the gap between theory and practice. Moreover, the people at Gambit
Communications have been exceptionally helpful, courteous, and
knowledgeable throughout the implementation of this course.”
Todd Whittaker, Program Chair, Information Technology

Franklin University

For more than 100 years, Franklin University has been a pioneer in meeting
the needs of busy working adult students who juggle work, family and many
other responsibilities. Franklin offers a high-quality, accessible, and
affordable education. Based in Columbus, Ohio, USA, Franklin serves more
than 11,000 students annually from all across the country and around the

The Technology – MIMIC Virtual Lab CCNA

Award winning MIMIC Virtual Lab is for beginners interested in familiarizing
themselves with the complex environment and for intermediate or expert
users looking to sharpen their skills and move to a higher level.
MIMIC includes a lab with Cisco Routers (2811, 3640 and 7206) and Cisco
Switches (2950, 3550 (2) and 6500) connected with LAN, WAN, ISDN and Serial

Students can Telnet in to any of these devices as if they are connecting to real
devices. Then they can use a large set of IOS Commands to different
operations, e.g. Logging in/out, Get into different modes - User, Privileged,
Configuration and Interface, Set passwords, IP/IPv6 addresses, clock rates,
hostname and bandwidth, Assign routing protocols - RIP, IGRP, EIGRP, BGP,
OSPF and IS-IS, Ping other devices in the lab, Save/load configurations, Boot
using flash or TFTP protocol, Configuration of VLAN, ISDN, CDP, PPP, Frame
Relay ACL and NAT protocols and many other functions required for network
training and Cisco certifications.

Each device in the simulated lab also has Exercises and Tutorials connected to
it to help perform many different configurations.

The Benefits

Students have a private Virtual lab to practice along with the course material.
With the use of MIMIC, practice drills and assignments provide a safe
environment to practice without worrying about bringing down any
equipment/network and affecting other users.

Now students will be able to have the hands-on experience needed in a
competitive job market. More importantly, they will have a solid confidence
about going into the real world, and setting up and configuring networks.
MIMIC Virtual Lab, as a part of the course curriculum, represents a cost-
effective tool which they can use in privacy of their home or work.
Since every student has their own lab, Franklin University does not need to
invest in a facility with equipment costing tens of thousands of dollars.

The Course

ITEC 275: Computer Networks: Switching, Routing/WANs. This is a 15 week
distant learning course. It is expected that more than 120 students will attend
this course annually.

This course covers both the design and basic configuration of computer
networks. Using Cisco Systems CCDA® certification as a guide, students will
learn about the OSI model, network topologies, Wide Area Network (WAN)
technologies, wireless LAN, IP addressing, routing protocols, and network
security mechanisms. This course also utilizes simulation software (MIMIC
Virtual Lab) to create a small virtual network on the student’s personal
computer running Windows XP or Vista. This provides the student interactive
configuration experience with the Cisco Systems Internetworking Operating
System (IOS) in an isolated environment.

Todd Whittaker’s goal is to also offer this course in a class room setting.

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