School Project Ideas for IT and Computer Networking Students

Network security, design, and performance are all IT project topics

High school and university students who study computer networking and information technology are often asked to complete class projects as part of their coursework. Here are a few ideas for a student who needs to come up with a school project involving computer networks.

Network Security Projects

Student projects that test the security level of a computer network setup or demonstrate ways that security can be breached are timely and important.

Network Sniffers

Students can design a project that runs network sniffers to capture traffic sent over a network connection and identify all the different network protocols it is using.

Antivirus

Create a project that measures the effects of antivirus software on a computer's processor utilization and performance, with or without a look at the effectiveness of antivirus software in preventing network worms, Trojans, and viruses.

Firewall

Students who are aspiring software developers can structure a project around building a network firewall application.

Emerging Internet and Network Technology Projects

Experimenting with technologies that are currently hot in the industry can be a great way to learn about their real-world benefits and limitations. For example, a project could investigate what it would take for a family to retrofit their existing home appliances, lighting, or security system to work as Internet of Things (IOT) gadgets and detail what interesting usages those setups might have.

Teacher helping student in computer class
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Network Design and Setup Projects

The experience of setting up a small network can help students learn a lot about basic networking technologies. Beginner-level projects include bringing together different types of equipment and evaluating the configuration settings each one offers, detailing how easy or difficult it is to get particular types of connections working.

IT student projects may involve planning a large computer network, such as a network used by schools, businesses, internet service providers, and data centers. Network capacity planning includes estimation of equipment costs, layout decisions, and consideration of the software and services the network can support. A project can also involve studying the design of existing networks, such as those of a school, and identifying ways to improve them.

Network Performance Studies

Students can assess the performance characteristics of local networks and internet connections under varying conditions. A project could measure the actual data transfer rates and the latency of real network applications, along with the effects of network traffic congestion on applications. Another project could measure the effects of physical obstructions or sources of wireless interference, such as microwave ovens on active network connections.

Comparing and contrasting various factors creates many different types of projects. One project could compare performance differences between different types of network hardware, such as routers, from different manufacturers, or compare operating system differences, such as between Windows and Linux. Students could even compare and contrast the performance of software applications such as web servers.

Aspiring software developers could test their chops modifying open-source software applications to use parallel programming techniques.

For Younger Students

Elementary and middle-school students can begin preparing for these kinds of projects by learning to code. Parents can check out a few free kid-friendly programming languages and tools to help them get started.