Internetworking : multicast and ATM network prerequisites for distance learning
Tamer, Murat Tevfink
Zyda, Michael J.
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The Internet, the World Wide Web and the Multicast Backbone (MBone) have been used in a variety of ways for distance learning. Video TeleConferencing (VTC) classrooms have obvious value and utility but they are limited to communicate with only a small number of similar VTC facilities. We are most interested in open solutions which take advantage of the global Internet. Therefore the problem addressed by this thesis is to evaluate the specific benefits and drawbacks of internet technologies in support of distance learning. This thesis includes a detailed examination of MBone, Asynchronous Transfer Mode (ATM) and the Distributed Interactive Simulation (DIS) protocol from the perspective of distance learning. An innovative design for a low-cost Web/MB one-capable classroom is presented. Experimental results include globally multicasting the IEEE Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AIW 96) conference and digitally recording the 1996 Monterey Bay Web Content and Access Workshop. One result we found is that MBone can be used successfully for distance learning purposes despite common constraints of limited (128 Kbps) bandwidth. A further result is that an MBone classroom can be 42% as expensive as a VTC classroom if an SGI Indy is used and 12% as expensive as a VTC classroom if a PC is used in the classroom. Consequently, many schools can afford internet-based distance learning using the solutions presented in this thesis even though they cannot afford VTC rooms.
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