New technologies for network management and distance learning
Andrea Sappia - Università degli studi di Genova - [1999]
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  • Tesi completa: 131 pagine
  • Abstract
    Computer networks are rapidly evolving in heterogeneous and complex systems whose nodes can be traditional computing platforms or "consumer electronics" devices. Moreover the increasing popularity of the World Wide Web, with its established user interface and ability to run on almost any platform, offers a new way to provide wide access to complex software applications.
    In this scenario the research on networking is driven by some important elements like the ever-increasing use of the web to transmit and display every kind of information, from network management to the education-related data, or the advent of the Java paradigm. Applets pave the way to new distributed computing models, which Java extends to the extreme consequences up to mobile agents, programs that can autonomously roam a network.
    Starting from these basis the activity of the doctorate course has been focused on:

    1. The Java ADministration system (JAD), a Java based software for the web-based configuration and management of network devices. Web-based management is the application of World Wide Web tools for the management of systems and networks and provides static, dynamic and interactive content of management information using HTTP servers and browsers. JAD is a simple but powerful tool that allows users to manage a network device via any Java enabled Web browser. It presents HTML documents introducing the managed device and by means of hypertextual links let users to reach the control panel interfaces (written in Java) created to read and set device parameters. The JAD system uses the SNMP protocol to provide its services that represent a general application for the configuration of any network device with an SNMP agent embedded in it.

    2. A network management system based on the Java mobile agent technology. The main network management approaches proposed in literature are both characterised by centralisation and a low degree of flexibility and reconfigurability. These problems are a consequence of the client-server paradigm adopted in the management architecture. This solution lacks scalability and generates congestion in the network area around the management station. The system that we developed uses mobile agents to migrate from host to host in a network, reaching and investigating the LAN that has to be managed. When the agent is on the destination it performs management tasks by means of the SNMP protocol. This model can be successfully deployed in different types of networks, including Virtual Private Networks, since the security support embedded in Java and in the particular mobile agent framework, allows to safely work through firewalls.

    3. A new approach based on Real Experiment eXecution (REX) for teaching networking topics. Taking advantage from the World Wide Web, multimedia and Java technologies, a new approach to develop courseware for instrumentation and communication areas has been studied. The REX based courseware consists of lectures and practice activities with a high degree of interaction obtained through a guided execution of laboratory experiments. The interactive components of the courseware are based on real experiments supported by Java applets.
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