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Re: Training the next generation:

  • From: Alex P. Rudnev
  • Date: Tue Aug 24 05:17:14 1999

I am teching the simular course for the MIPT students here in Russia, and 
we choose to teach a few _overview_ courses. I myself (with my collegues) 
was developing and teaching _the basics of IP routing_ course, with the 
two main ideas:

- (1) to cover all oportunities the network engeneers have to desing 
moder networks. IT include:
- TCP/IP basics
- LAN routing protocols, such as OSPF, RIP and EGRP; and I'v tried to 
built the topics from the two parts, for example - (1a. OSPF, view for 
the beginners /plain OSPF based network, very simple, no areas, stubs etc 
etc - and it's highly recommended for all middle-size corporate networks 
- with a very simple configuration: router OSPF 1;network area;
1b. Why OSPF is not really so simple - areas, complex ropology, etc etc - 
some minimum, not more.
- special LAN protocols (very important) - HSRP, ICMP redirect, router 
discovery, Cisco Discovery Protocol;
- Internet routing - basics - why there is BGP, what is it, how it is 
used by the multihome customers; how is it used by the ISP (special topic 
- the routing in the ISP back-bone - IGP + BGP 2 level routing schema - 
the basics.
- VLAN networks - very important topics to know - include FDDI/802.10, 
ISL (!, don't forget), 802.1q, LANE (terrible!) as the trunk protocols, 
explain how the routers and switches interconnect (with the 
sub-interfaces etc etc), why 802.1q or ISL need some other hardware (more 
frame size);
- Multicast (the basics only);
- ATM etc - the basics.

I think (as the head of NOC) the network engeneer should know:
- modern networking - very well, including some vendor-based standards 
such as CISCO HDLC, ISL VLAN, some FORE and BAY's protocols;
- network troubleshooting - to have some labs;
- programming - the basics of C, C++ (not so important for the 
programming but very important for the education), PERL (!), Visual Basic 
and script programming on Windows. Network engeneers do not develop 
usially huge and java-based systems but they must be able to write 
quickly a simple CGI script or modify existing one;
- HP OV and other SNMP-based (terrible, but the only existing) monitoring 
systems, just as RMON basics.

What's _basics_? It mean don't detailed knowing of the exact commands, 
config files, etc, but knowing of the main ideas the authors realised in 
the protocol or the system - what for is (HSRP), where do we use it 
(HSRP), can it work on VLAN-ed network or not, etc etc...

And - the _troubleshooting labs_ as well - the 99% of the students could 
not found any complex failure (for example - the loss of syncronisation 
in the ATL LS-1010-based network caused a lot of interfaces fail down - 
the mister Sherlok Holms could guess the reason withouth ever knowingv 
the world _router_, but the students could not found the reason at all).

Alexei Roudnev, the head of NOC, RELCOM network, Moscow, Russia
/and the author of the _Basics of the IP routing_ course for the MIPT 
institure in Moscow/.

On Tue, 24 Aug 1999, Dana Hudes wrote:

> Date: Tue, 24 Aug 1999 00:12:41 -0400
> From: Dana Hudes <[email protected]>
> To: [email protected]
> Subject: Training the next generation: 
> Hi !
>  I'm teaching networking this year at CUNY Hunter College here in Manhattan. I would like your input as industry members what skills would have value to you in a new graduate computer science major (the students are seniors). 
> Fall course is "Telecomputing"; the syllabus I created for the course uses Tannenbaum's _Computer Networks_ and tries to cover a range of things. Course project will likely be design and implement a bridge, possibly including source-route and certainly including spanning tree. Early on, coverage of WAN include project with PCM and such.
> A syllabus is posted at
> Students will have a broad base in a variety of networking topics. Focus on Ethernet in the LAN and PPP and ATM in the WAN.
> Spring is a "special topics" course. I've some flexibility here. I'm weighing two alternatives, and want some feedback.
> Of all possible things, the acting chair and I narrowed to two possible courses:
> 1. A course in TCP/IP. Use Comer, _Internetworking with TCP/IP_ and his syllabus from Purdue as a starting point.
> No time in this course for any physical layer or data link stuff beyond a cursory overview of Ethernet as we move at high speed to the network layer and IP forwarding.  Comer's graduate course has students build a router but this is probably too much for undergraduates. Instead an OSPF implementation, including all the options (especially NSSA) . A cursory introduction to sockets programming with the course focus on routing algorithms (i.e. RIP, OSPF, and BGP4).
> Can this one course (my fall course hasn't sufficient registration to make the 2 semester sequence in networking we'd hoped; maybe next year).
> 2. Network application programming. Java clients, Perl and Apache server side (or perhaps Java servlets).  Hunter students know C++ fairly well by their senior year; Java is an easy transition. The entire class would divide into teams with assignments that comprise various parts of the client and server portions.  The project would be a turn-based simulation game (I used to play these and have a number of appropriate games with play-by-mail options, game rule design and/or game theory is not part of the course).  While this won't teach them to be router engineers -- or developers, it should have some industry relevance.
> Most Hunter graduates stay in the Greater NYC metropolitan area. Given this, which of these options is better for the industry? who is in shorter supply?
> Prompt feedback greatly appreciated. Registrar is asking for the course description ASAP or sooner.
> Thanks!
> Dana Hudes
> CUNY Hunter Computer Science
> former ISP

Aleksei Roudnev, Network Operations Center, Relcom, Moscow
(+7 095) 194-19-95 (Network Operations Center Hot Line),(+7 095) 230-41-41, N 13729 (pager)
(+7 095) 196-72-12 (Support), (+7 095) 194-33-28 (Fax)