iLab in Africa
The top diagram shows the first generation iLabs architecture. A physical laboratory with state of the art equipment is connected to a Lab Server which serves at the gateway to the internet. The client or user then connects to the Lab Server through any regular TCP/IP connection. The Lab Server hosts a piece of middleware called a Service Broker. It was developed under the iLabs Shared Architecture at MIT and its function is to orchestrate the handshake between the user and the Lab Server. The Service Broker holds all user accounts and user data, as well as the client interface which is downloaded to the user upon login. A user can send measurement instructions and download the results by using the client interface.
The bottom diagram shows the second generation iLabs architecture. It is especially suited for institutions in Sub-Sahara Africa and other developing countries where bandwidth limitations are prevalent. This architecture includes a local Service Broker that is installed in the partner institution's local area network. Performance is significantly increased because the client interface can be downloaded at much higher speeds from a local source.