Network Management Game
Computer Science and Engineering
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Network management and automated configuration of large-scale networks is one of the crucial issues for Internet Service Providers (ISPs). Since wrong configurations might lead to an enormous amount of customer traffic to be lost, highly experienced network administrators are typically the ones who are trusted for the management and configuration of a running ISP network. We frame the management and experimentation of a network as a ``game'' for training network administrators without having to risk the actual network operation. The interactive environment treats the trainee network administrators as players of a game and tests them with various network failures or dynamics. To prototype the concept of ``network management as a game'' we modified NS-2 to establish an interactive simulation engine and connected the modified engine to a graphical user interface for traffic animation and interactivity with the user. We applied our game a small set of users using two different training methods. During the first training method, we observed \%2.2 and \%16 user performance improvement in cases where link failures are simulated and not simulated, respectively. We also observed that the users are more successful on network management than automated solutions when the system exhibits exceptional situations like link failures. In the second user experiment, we trained users on two skills which may help the players for better network management. After training on these two skills, the users performed \%13-\%21 better network management compared to their performance before training.