Remote Internet Measurement Laboratories

Broadband Center researchers are developing user-friendly, computer-controlled instrumentation and data analysis techniques that are revolutionizing the way measurements are being made. Users can benefit from nearly instantaneous comparisons among theoretical predictions, simulations, and experimental results.

Remote WEB-based experimentation augments students' laboratory experience by offering access to sophisticated instrumentation. It provides a natural, valuable extension of the traditional laboratory component, which normally uses relatively simple equipment. For limited periods of time, direct physical access to the Internet laboratory stations may be allowed, in order to further acquaint the students with the equipment. However, remote access may be allowed 24 hours a day. Remote laboratories have an enormous throughput, since users only access the equipment for a very short time of the actual measurement.

These important advantages make remote-distance, interactive learning an important, emerging educational trend. The Internet is an ideal medium for remote instruction purposes – offering interesting possibilities for disseminating educational material to local and distant students. Its ubiquity and protocol standards make data communication and front-end graphical user interfaces easy to implement.

This technology also could be applied to other areas of engineering and science – well beyond electrical circuits or device applications. Eventually, Internet laboratory courses may be offered to students worldwide, removing a major obstacle for establishing a boundless and nearly complete remote engineering curriculum. An engineering education could be made available to segments of the population that otherwise would be disadvantaged by distance and lack of resources.

The Center's work on remote lab systems started in 1997 as a collaboration between Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) in Troy, N.Y. and Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) in Norway. Members now operate three sites: AIM-Lab (Automatic Internet Measurement Laboratory) at RPI; LAB-on-WEB at UniK at the University Graduate Center near Oslo, Norway (affiliated with NTNU and University of Oslo); and NGL (Next Generation Lab) at NTNU.

For more information on the Center's work on Remote Internet Measurement Laboratories, please contact:

Dr. Michael Shur, Director
(518) 276-2201
shurm@rpi.edu

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