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iLabX - the Virtual Internet Laboratory

iLab - Build your own Internet (since 2004), iLab2 - You set the Focus! (since 2010), and iLabX - The virtual Internet Laboratory (since 2018) are lab courses that I designed that run very successfully with more than 2000 participants at different German Universities.

In April 2016 I was awarded 25 000 EUR by TUM for creating a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) for the Computer Science Masters education (MOOC4Masters).

iLabX - the Virtual Internet Laboratory combines gems from both courses. In its purely online version, the iLabX teaches you the essentials of the iLab - Build your own Internet course.

In its hybrid version at TUM you will have essentials of both courses, iLab - Build your own Internet course and iLab2 - You set the Focus! The first part will be the MOOC. The second part will be on-site at our TUM lab premises.

What is it about?

"iLabX – the Virtual Internet Laboratory" is a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) that teaches students all over the world from summer 2018 on how the backbone of today’s Internet technically works. The course runs takes about six weeks. It runs on edX.

In summer term 2018, the iLabX will also be offered as part of a 10 ECTS block course at Technical University of Munich (TUM) under the same name. As TUM student you can find more information on TUM online here.
If you are interested, please write us an email to "pahl-ilabx [at]". You will get feedback on Friday, June 29, 2018, if you are accepted to the course. Currently (June 21) there are still a couple of places left and we will be very happy to have a full course.

When will it start?

Why should I participate?

iLabX - The virtual Internet Laboratory is special because of many reasons including offering:

  • vLab - a novel virtual testbed for a virtual hands-on on your PC.
  • iLab - a well-approved and multiple times awarded teaching concept.
  • A highly motivated fantastic team!

What are the topics?

The iLabX covers the fundamental technologies that drive today's Internet:

  1. Week 1:Layer 1+2: Basics, Physics
  2. Week 2: Layer 3: IPv6, IPv4
  3. Week 3: Layer 3:Routing
  4. Week 4: TCP, UDP
  5. Week 5: DNS, HTTP(s)
  6. Week 6: Firewall, NAT64

Here is our trailer sequence that starts each week:

The trailer introduces the iLab.owl and of course the iLabee ;-)

Interview with Vint Cerf on why the MOOC matters

At the occasion of the Heidelberg Laureate Forum, I had the chance to interview Vint Cerf. Together with Bob Kahn, Vint designed the internet in the early 1970s. In the interview we talk about why understanding the basics of the Internet matters.

Concrete Details for the course run at TUM in summer 2018

The iLabX will be offered as a block course from 17.7.-31.8.2018.

  • Praktikum - Internet-Praktikum - iLabX (IN0012, IN2106, IN4240) 
  • 10 ECTS for Bachelor or Master (possibly also EE)
  • A challenge for teams of two.

The course has two parts: the first is an online part. In the online part you work on your own and have one month to complete the six challenges. You will practically explore the basics of how today's Internet works in a virtual laboratory.

In the second physical hands-on part we will meet at TUM for two week in August. In this on-site part you will solve four exercises in our physical laboratory.

  • Phase I: Online MOOC with virtual lab (17.7.2018-15.8.2018 at own disposal)
    • 17.07.2018, 2pm: Introduction to the MOOC part that you will do on your own until the beginning of the on-site part.
    • 1: Layer 1+2: Basics, Physics (at your own schedule until August 15, 2018)
    • 2: Layer 3: IPv6, IPv4 (at your own schedule until August 15, 2018)
    • 3: Layer 3:Routing (at your own schedule until August 15, 2018)
    • 4: Layer 4: TCP, UDP (at your own schedule until August 15, 2018)
    • 5: Layer 5: DNS, HTTP(s) (at your own schedule until August 15, 2018)
    • 6: Layer 5. Firewall, NAT64 (at your own schedule until August 15, 2018)
  • Phase II: On-Site Phase at TUM with physical lab (15.8.-31.8.2018)
    • Wed, 15.08.2018, 2pm: Introduction to the TUM on-site part. First lecture: TCP/ UDP.
    • Mon, 20.08.2018, 2pm: BGP.
    • Thu, 23.08.2018, 2pm: WWW Security.
    • Tue, 28.08.2018, 2pm: 1 Minilab of your choice, e.g. the Snowden revealed Quantum Insert attack, HTTP/2: Make the Web fast again)
    • Fri, 31.08.2018, 2pm: Wrap-Up.
Video of the info event in the GRNVS lecture on June 18, 2018

The video gives you info about the course. Please excuse the bad audio. We did not have a microphone for the laptop with us.


For the creation of the MOOC I built a great team consisting of:

  • Marc-Oliver Pahl (lead)
  • Stefan Liebald (course development)
  • Edwin Cordeiro (course development)
  • Lars Wüstrich (course development)
  • Moritz Sichert (virtual lab environment)
  • Lucas Wolf (course development)
  • Donika Mirdita (course development)
  • Kirill Kldiashvili (course development)
  • Jonas Andre (testing)
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