Communication Network Laboratory (Netzlabor)

The network laboratory of the IKR was set up in 1997 with the aim of providing the most flexible platform for a wide variety of research and teaching tasks. It has a basic configuration consisting of more than 50 computers, structured Ethernet cabling, patch panels, as well as freely assignable switches and routers. Project-driven or out of self-interest, the existing structure is continually being expanded and new technologies are added (for example, wireless LAN, 10G Ethernet, OFDM transmission links).

The network lab is used for

  • lab courses, student projects, bachelor and master theses
  • demonstrations
  • own and external research projects
  • industrial projects


The network lab is mainly based on PCs with frames for removable hard disks. In most cases, a preconfigured Linux distribution will be booted and installed from the lab server. These distributions are adapted for each project, often using or developing special software tools and kernel extensions. For short-term simple tests and debugging, images equipped with common tools are available to boot from the lab server. Since the PCs are built on a largely uniform hardware base, the users are largely free in the choice of computers and on hard disks archived configurations (for example for lab courses), so it can easily be used on different computers at short-term.

All devices of the infrastructure (e.g. routers, switches, etc.) are fitted in lab racks so that each user can compose a configuration appropriate to his work. From the laboratory you have access to the network of the institute, and thus to a large part of the computers and applications available there (for example mathematical applications for the evaluation of measured data). There is also a connection to the internet. From the outside, the laboratory is not accessible due to its property as an open experimental platform. Because of the direct connection to the hardware laboratory, prototypically implemented network nodes and hardware-based traffic generators can be easily integrated into demonstration and measurement setups.

Usage example

Lab course communication networks

The lab course "communication networks" aims at the basic mechanisms and concepts of today's communication protocols and the practical use of communication systems and their components. Therefore, protocol elements will be implemented, networks will be set up, and components will be configured. The functionality of the resulting systems will be proved and examined by network based applications and analyzers.

Demonstration of protocol extensions

Protocol extensions are developed, prototypically implemented and examined at the IKR. For this purpose, demonstrators and measuring environments can be set up in the network laboratory, which shows the interaction of software (kernel extensions) and hardware extensions in routers (network processor, FPGA). An example is the demonstrator for TCP extensions.


  • Unmanaged fast and gigabit ethernet switches
  • Managed gigabit und 10G L2/L3 switches
  • Different routers
  • VoIP signaling testbed with TK system, SIP, ISDN and analogue telephones
  • Devices for analysis and measurement of network traffic (network analyzer, measurement cards)
  • Fiber and copper taps for measurements with gigabit ethernet
  • Over 50 computers with mostly four ethernet interfaces and removable disk frames

If you have any questions about our communication network lab please write an e-mail

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