Building a Computer Network Test Lab

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This course will help you building your own computer network testing environment, let it be a simple Active Directory, Splunk for log collection, Intrusion detection, Windows or Linux operating systems.

You can implement all or only a few of the systems we are going to discuss during the course depending on your needs and your resources available. I recommend using a local virtualization technology with 16GB RAM minimum, like vSphere, VMware Workstation, Virtualbox or similar.

The network set up will consist of two subnets, one being a “sandbox” where most systems will be installed. The second subnet will be the one for collecting logs and for forensics computers.

The training will cover:

  1. installing different operating systems, like : Windows 7, Windows 10, Windows Server 2016, Windows Server 2019, Ubuntu Linux, CentOS Linux.
  2. installing security appliances: Security Onion, AlienVault OSSIM.
  3. installing and configuring OPNsense firewall by separating
  4. installing and configuring services: Active Directory, Splunk SIEM, OPNsense firewall, time sync using NTP.

This will allow you to test out solutions without the risk of damaging a production environment.

The course is giving you directions how to set up these systems, and will show you one use-case at this time. I will continue adding more contents as I develop more, and update the contents based on feedback.

The training is not focusing on lexical knowledge and is not explaining what the different tools are doing in general. I assume that you either Google those or already have an idea about each solution. For example, I am not going to explain in detail what a SIEM is used for. We are going to set it up and use it.

This training is focusing on giving you the technical knowledge to be able to get systems up and running as quick as possible and work with each other in a network.

Who this course is for:

  • Anyone interested in setting up a computer lab with different operating systems for testing configurations, software, analyze network traffic, try hacking techniques or implement defense techniques
  • Always wanted to set up your own computer lab but you didn’t know how to start
  • Interested in learning how to install a basic Active Directory environment with custom Group Policy Objects applied to specific devices
  • Interested in setting up your own Vulnerability Scanner, Intrusion Detection System and SIEM/central log collector


  • Basic IT knowledge and minimal experience with at least one Virtualization technology
  • Only free, open source and free for personal/educational use software will be used which are publicly available (if we consider Microsoft products as such)
  • A virtualization technology is required. I will use Vmware vSphere, but is almost the same with VirtualBox or Vmware Workstation.
  • You can set up any one of these virtual machines by itself without the rest of the machines, recommended 16+GB RAM and 100+GB for 3 desktop/server VMs
  • Internet connection

Last Updated 3/2021

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