Ethereal: a Tool for Making the Absract Protocal a Concrete Reality

Ethereal: a Tool for Making the Absract Protocal a Concrete Reality

David Bremer (Otago Polytechnic, New Zealand)
Copyright: © 2006 |Pages: 16
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59140-735-5.ch007
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Abstract

Learning the nature of data communication and networks requires understanding of how a theoretical protocol is implemented as actual communication. Taking ARP as a simple example, it is one thing to be able to understand its purpose and operation from readings and lectures. It is another thing entirely to be able to identify the actual ARP traffic from a sample of packets, identify any unusual behavior, and perform troubleshooting activities based on previous practical experience. A theoretical understanding may be enough to describe a particular aspect of networking, perhaps even enough to pass an exam. Practical knowledge, however, shows a deeper understanding that comes from actual experience with the protocol, beyond that of reading and discussion. One issue for educators in the field of networking is the problem of giving the students an “up close and personal” interaction with protocols that are so heavily immersed in theory. How do we make the theoretical protocol a more concrete reality for the students?

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