User guide

User guide
User guide
The following document gives you an overview of how to navigate and access your Practice-Lab. For
first time users, or users that are having specific issues, we recommend skipping the navigation
section and go to the accessing your devices or settings lab navigation sections on page 7 and page
Navigating the website
Once you have been authenticated into the website portal either via your training provider or
manually logging in, you can navigate the around using tab-links on the left hand side of the page.
There are three main areas in the portal:
Help /Support
Each of these is described as follows.
This option provides you details of the following:
System notifications
Your activity
Open support calls
Help / Support
Use the help and support section of the site to access:
Frequently asked questions (FAQs)
Technical information
Log support call
Detailed information on courses is in the following pages.
Accessing your courses
When you select the Courses link you will be presented with the courses you have been allocated
based on your subscription, some users will only see a single course although they have many, this is
normal behaviour and is dictated by the configuration of the partner. Some users will see the entire
course library.
Select the course you wish to access by clicking on the course title next to the
icon. Some
users will see a tracking indicator on the right hand side of the course, this indicates whether you
have not started/in progress or completed the course.
Once you enter the course you will be presented with a list of available modules to complete for the
selected course. In a similar format to the course selection, use the link next to the
icon to
select the particular module. Again, some users will see a tracking indicator in the top right of each
You will now be taken into the module and be presented with the content and lab devices required
to complete required objectives.
Navigating labs and content
Once you access a lab, the web page will change to something similar to the screenshot below. It
may look slightly different, color schemes etc may vary.
Primarily there are two major areas of control.
Content window, showing the guide to the activities you can complete
Lab devices
In the following screenshot, the content is shown in the centre of the page and the lab devices are
placed as tab links on the left hand side underneath the site navigation tabs.
Managing your content window
Let us explore the content window in more depth. There is now a lot more flexibility in how you
access and view your lab content.
The main components of the window are broken down as:
Central panel - This is where the introduction, exercise and summary details are displayed.
Bottom left – Links to navigate between module content.
Bottom right - Module download links (Microsoft Word and Adobe PDF formats are available
but some content may or may not show both or any links).
Top right - Window management, use these icons to manage your content viewing
preferences, these icons are detailed below.
If you have a wide screen (full HD or higher), the screenshot below is our recommended layout for
device and content access on a single screen. This enables you to follow the content and use the lab
devices in a good sized resolution (1024*768) all on the same page:
Content window icons
In the top right corner of the content window there are some icons which control the location and
look of the exercises. These icons are described in the table below.
This icon snaps the content window to the centre of the page where the devices terminal is
usually displayed. This is the default on smaller screen resolutions.
This icon snaps the content window to the right hand side of the page. This icon is not always
visible, only if there is enough space to provide a content window with a minimum width of
640 pixels wide. You can achieve the same result manually using the [Move] icon below.
This icon forces the content to launch in a new window separate from the main lab page.
This is helpful if you have two screens and want the content in a full screen on another
monitor, or if you would like to use [alt+tab] (in Windows) to toggle between content and lab
This icon enables you to freely move and size the content window as you wish.
This icon minimises the content window.
This icon maximizes the content window if the content window is currently minimized.
Once you have configured your content view to your personal preference you will need to save your
settings from the save settings item in the settings
menu this will keep your settings
between page changes and login/logouts.
Accessing Devices
The devices required for each module are presented on the left hand side of the console. Each
module or exercise may change the devices that you have access to.
For example, in the following screenshot the lab has 3 devices, PLABDC01, PLABWIN701 and
Simply click on a device to select it. Each exercise requires one or more device to be powered on.
Some exercises require all of the devices and some exercise will automatically power on some of the
devices for you. The detail in the Introduction part of the content will inform you which devices
should be powered on.
Once you have selected a device, if it is powered off you will see the power on icon
bottom left hand corner of the main panel, this is the device controls area.
To power the device on, click the
the device is busy.
icon. The icon will change to
at the
which is animated while
Once the device is powered and is connectable, your central console will automatically connect to
the remote desktop console, or terminal depending on which the device is (Cisco, Microsoft etc),
unless you have selected to open your devices in a new window, if this is the case you will need to
click the Connect
icon to connect. This is because the browser may block the popup if it is
initiated by a script and not the end user.
The same process is in place for both Microsoft Windows devices and Cisco networking equipment.
You will notice that when the device is powered on, the icons and information in the bottom device
controls toolbar will change, these icons and information are described in the next section.
The Device Controls Toolbar
The icons and information available in the toolbar give you the ability to manage your device
connectivity and power management.
Device controls will differ depending on the type of device, for example Cisco devices have a copy
and paste functionality in Microsoft Internet Explorer, but have no power off or suspend button.
Microsoft devices on the other hand show power off and suspend buttons.
Device controls
The icons in the left hand side of the toolbar under the device window show a combination of the
following functions:
This icon powers on or off the selected device.
This icon resets the selected device back to defaults. Note: In some labs where
there is a domain controller, resetting a device may cause a trust-relationship
failure, in this scenario you may need to reset all the devices in the lab.
This icon reboots the selected device. This does not erase your changes, but
instead is helpful if you need to restart a device and want the web page to
inform you when the device is back up and operational instead of “guessing”
when the device is back up.
This icon suspends the selected device. Once the device is suspended, the
power on icon will display.
This icon enables you to connect or re-connect to a device. If you have devices
opening in a popup then clicking this icon will launch a new window with your
devices terminal inside.
When using a Cisco device in Internet Explorer (currently IE only is supported)
you have the ability to use the copy function which copies the entire active
terminal contents to your local machines clipboard.
When using a Cisco device in Internet Explorer (currently IE only is supported)
you have the ability to use the paste function which pastes your local machines
clipboard contents in to the Cisco device.
Additional Information
The following table describes the additional icons and information that is also available in the
This icon sends a request to the labs service to determine the current
state of a device.
This icon indicates whether auto-login is enabled or disabled. If it is
enabled (with a tick) then the credentials displayed in the credentials
section will be used to login to the device.
These two icons indicate the technologies you have available to you to
connect. Where possible we recommend using the Sun Java connection,
however failing this, if you have a modern browser then you may be able
to use HTML5.
This section indicates the username and password that will be used to
auto-login with. This is normally set to the administrator account where
This section indicates how long you have used the current module for.
This icon located at the top of the page is one of the most important icons on the page. When you
click this icon it shows a list of menu options.
These are described as follows:
View page tutorial - This link shows the tutorial, if present, for the page you are currently accessing.
Save my settings and screen layout - This link saves your current configuration including lab device
resolution, your name, and email address (see below), and the location (size and position) of your
The two white boxes – These are where you can enter in a display name and email address. These
are used for support functions, and will be used for future features on the site.
Out to lunch - Clicking this link enables you to keep hold of your lab for 1h 30m, after which your lab
will be recycled and returned to the pool. If you return before this time, there will be a link to click
which will enable you to use your lab again.
Open Microsoft devices in a popup window - This link forces Microsoft desktop connections to be
launched in a popup window (this is the default behaviour when using the HTML5 client).
Screen resolution list - The screen resolutions in the list enable you to change the screen size of the
remote desktop, experiment with these to get your optimal resolution. Note: These will be hidden if
you already have a desktop open, you must close all your devices first.
Once you have changed any of these options you will need to click Save my settings and screen
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Q - Why are you/have you changed the lab user interface?
A - The current platform has been around for a number of years and we thought it was time for an
update. But ultimately we have listened to the feedback from users and implemented the fixes to
the most common faults identified and added the suggested enhancements.
Q - When will the new lab interface be available?
A - We are releasing the new lab user interface on the 1st June 2013.
Q - Will there be any changes to my user account?
A - No, all account information will remain the same including course subscriptions.
Q - Have there been any updates to the lab guides?
A - Yes we have modified the layout of the lab guides which now include an introductory page that
includes details about the devices you access as well as a summary. The actual exercise content has
been reviewed and updated where necessary.
Q - Do I still need Java installed?
A - No and yes. Java is no longer a pre-requisite to connect to lab devices as we have now included
an HTML5 client. We recommend still having Java installed as currently this client has slightly better
Q - Do I still need to configure popups?
A – No, we no longer require you to configure your popup settings for our domain.
Q – Will there still be a lot of windows open for all the remote device connections?
A – No, now you can launch access to server / workstation and network equipment all in a single
console. This allows you to have your lab exercise content and device access in a single screen. You
still have the option to launch device access in separate windows should you choose to do so.
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