Practical Internet eXperience (PIX) Lab

Master-level hands-on lab course on how to build and evolve your own miniature Internet.


  • SWS: 4, ECTS: 7
  • Organizer: Prof. Dr. Klaus Wehrle
  • TAs: Ike Kunze 
  • Contact email: pix[at]
  • Course Language: English
  • Important Dates:
    • Kick-Off Meeting: TBD (late March/early April)
    • Weekly Meetings: TBD (in coordination with participating students)
    • Final Presentation: TBD (July)


The Internet is a fundamental backbone of today’s society and shapes how we communicate with friends, buy things, or consume entertainment. At the same time, the Internet is becoming increasingly complex due to increasing numbers of connected devices and newly emerging technologies such as 5G or Satellite-Internet. Furthermore, changing usage patterns, e.g., due to the pandemic, strain the infrastructure in unexpected ways.
Thus, even experienced network operators often struggle to maintain connectivity at all times. This fact is regularly demonstrated by large-scale outages of data centers and ISP networks, for example, at Facebook in October 2021, Amazon in December 2021, or Rogers in July 2022, each leading to the prolonged inaccessibility of popular platforms such as WhatsApp (Facebook), many connected services (Amazon), or even emergency numbers (Rogers). 

Course Subjects

In this lab, you will get the chance to become involved as a network operator in our mini-Internet and gain first-hand experience on what it is like to maintain and advance your own Autonomous System (AS). Thus, by collaborating with your fellow students, you will jointly build your own miniature version of the Internet.

Throughout the lab, you will be given different tasks and challenges to gradually set up your AS. For example, configuring inter-domain and BGP-grade routing strategies will be vital for establishing interconnectivity across our mini-Internet while setting up RPKI will help to strengthen routing security. You will also get the chance to program switches yourselves using the P4 programming language.

The following technologies will likely be featured in this course:

  • SSH to access development and testing infrastructure we will provide
  • GIT as version control system
  • Open vSwitch and/or P4 to realize L2 switches
  • FRRouting to implement L3 routing (open source Internet routing protocol suite including BGP, OSPF, RIP, and many more)
  • Network measurement tools (e.g., ping and traceroute)

Further details of the course will be presented in the kickoff meeting.
Acknowledgment: our lab bases on a course at ETH Zurich (


We expect basic knowledge in data communication as taught in the 'Data Communication and Security' lecture. Additional knowledge as taught in our advanced courses (for example, on BGP, P4, or MPLS) is helpful, but not required as we will provide short introductions into the topics.

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