This program is an effort to make high-quality academic experiments in the field of communications technology available on the Internet. Similar to hardware experiments the goal is to learn, deepen and apply theoretical knowledge through practical experience.

Demonstrative and interactive simulations emulate hardware experiments
The virtual experiments of this lab are computer simulations that implement the techniques to be analyzed. These applications are built with a simulation framework developed by the author - labAlive. Put very simply, the experiments are online applications that are perhaps comparable to Matlab/Simulink. Furthermore, the virtual experiment environment emulates a real-world laboratory:

  • Analysis and measurement of signals using oscilloscopes, spectrum analyzers, power meters, volt meters
  • Interactive parameter adjustment of systems, e.g. signal generators, filters, modulators
  • Variation of configurations, e.g. RF or baseband modem, OFDM prefix length

Almost unlimited combinations of options and possibilities enable active experimentation and individual learning. The accurate simulation implementation assures mathematically valid results in any case.

Even better than hardware experiments?
First of all, the common online learning advantages such as availability, reproducibility and scalability become effective. Even for on-site courses, this approach facilitates a didactically meaningful synchronization of lectures and practical experiments. Within lectures an experiment application can easily be started - e.g. a click in PowerPoint - and demonstrate a theoretical topic.

Furthermore, the virtual lab leverages a potential beyond hardware experiments:

  • Getting started quickly

    Configuration of suitable initial experiment settings avoids unnecessary and time-consuming manual instrument adjustments and helps students to achieve the interesting results and insights of the experiment. Students can easily recover a previous state if they become lost.

  • Focus on the essentials

    The experiment environment can be customized following didactic aspects. Irrelevant details may be omitted to reduce distraction and the set of available options be tailored to concentrate on the relevant aspects.

Altogether, the lab conditions shall be designed to enhance a creative atmosphere and encourage students to experiment actively and learn experientially.

  • The vision
    Experiments built with the labAlive simulation framework might constitute a valuable contribution within online learning initiatives, e.g. massive open online courses (MOOC).