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Fort Hays State Challenges Students in Networking Competition

Fort Hays State University in Hays, KS recently hosted a Tiger Net Challenge in partnership with Cisco Systems. The virtual competition allowed 100 students in eight states who are taking classes in the Cisco Networking Academy to test their problem-solving abilities in real-world security and networking challenges. Participants came from both high schools and institutions of higher education.

In the Router Wars contest, students competed in real time to capture control of a network. They had to anticipate their opponents' strategies as well as launch malicious attacks and defend against them. This type of exercise prepares students to defend networks against such attacks in a professional setting.

The Net Bowl used a real-time quiz bowl format to test general networking knowledge. Students participated via Cisco WebEx, an online collaboration service.

The final challenge, Network Troubleshooting, tested students in being the first to restore a pre-designed network using Cisco's Packet Tracker 5.1 software.

"This is the first time this competition has been held, and it is very satisfying that competing students were so successful," said Mark Bannister, chair of the Department of Information Networking and Telecommunications at Fort Hays State. "The event and training leading up to it reinforce many of the critical skills that aspiring networking professionals need to master for successful careers in information technology."

Winning institutions included Iowa Western Community College in Council Bluffs and the University of Wisconsin-Stout, among others.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.

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