Network Development and Management

Network Development and Management

Chao Lee (University of Houston, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-376-0.ch004
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In the previous chapter, we investigated the technology requirements for an online teaching/learning system. Networks are one of the major components in an online teaching/learning system infrastructure. As mentioned earlier, an online teaching/ learning system is often constructed on a client-server structure. A network is used to link the tiers of the client-server structure. Through the network, the client side can send requests to the server side and get response from the server. A network consists of routers, switches, network adapters, modems, multiplexers, different types of transmission media, network protocols, and network management tools. There are different types of networks such as local area networks, wide area networks, Internet, and so on. Not only does an online teaching/learning system depend on a reliable and secure network infrastructure, many technology-based courses also use networks for hands-on practice.
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Constructing networks for an online teaching/learning system is a strenuous project. It often requires tremendous effort and sophisticated skills. First, it needs a careful design on a network’s infrastructure to meet the requirements of the online teaching/learning system. Like the development of many IT projects, designing a network infrastructure includes the planning, designing, and implementation phases. For designing large scale networks, readers can find technical details from the book by Cisco Systems Inc., Thomas, and Khan (1999). Readers can find the design of three kinds of networks, campus, wide area, and remote connections from the technical point of view. Some studies on designing networks for universities have been done. Kapadia and Fortes (1998) described Purdue University’s network computing hubs’ prototype which is a demand-based network computing system for reducing duplicated effort. There are other studies on planning and creating IT infrastructures. Penrod and Harbor (2000) presented a case study on designing and implementing an e-learning system for a large university. They discussed the issues related to the planning and creation of an IT governance structure. They provided an organization structure to overcome barriers while implementing the e-learning system.

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