Cisco provides a different level of certification called CCNA, CCNP, CCIE for its products, and general network topics. We have already examined CCNA certifications in the following tutorial.
Cisco certification exams mostly depend on practical experience. So a person who wants to get certified needs practical experience. Here is a list of ways to get practical experience.
- At work
- Rent remote labs
- Using GNS3 simulator
- Using Packet Tracer
In this tutorial we will look how to download, install and setup basic lab with Packet tracer.
What Is Cisco Packet Tracer?
Cisco Packet Tracer is a network simulation which mainly runs Cisco and generic network devices. Cisco Packet Tracer supports languages like English, Spanish, Chinese, French, Arabic, Portuguese. Even there is a subscription for Cisco Packet Tracer it can be also used for free easily with Guest Login. Cisco Packet Tracer can run unlimited devices with no restriction. Generic devices like PC, Laptop, Server Printer, IP Phone, TV, Tablet are supported.The network can be simulated in a step by step or time based method for detailed and deep inspection. Also Cisco Packet Tracer can be installed and run on Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 10 32-bit and 64-bit, Linux for 64-bit, MacOSX.
Download Packet Tracer
Packet Tracer can get in different ways. A google search will provide a lot of results to get packet tracer. I know that Packet tracer is a licensed application but recently it can be downloaded like a trial or personal use for free from different sites. The latest version 7.3.0 of the Cisco Packet Tracer can be downloaded from the following links. Cisco Packet Tracer is provided for Windows 10, Windows 8, Windows 7 as 32 and 64 bit, Linux for 64 bit, MacOSX.
Install Packet Tracer
In this part we will look how to install Packer tracer.
In this step we will accpet the license agreement with the
I accept the agreement and clicking Next.
In this part we will provide the installation path or directory. Generally we left the default path provided which is “C:\Program Files(x86)\Cisco Packet Tracer 6.3” where the 6.3 is version number which can be different for different versions of the Packet Tracer.
This is another default step where we will leave the default name which will be shown as “Cisco Packet Tracer” in the start menu. But for customization we can change it whatever we want.
In this step we can create a desktop icon or create a quick launch icon.
This is the latest step about configuration for Cisco Packet Tracer installation. General information about installation options are displayed in this screen.
When the installation is completed successfully we will see the following screen. When we click the Finish button the Cisco Packet Tracer will be launched automatically.
Start Cisco Packet Tracer For The First Time
Even Cisco Packet Tracer is a paid software it can be used with a guest login. When starting the Packet Tracer we will see the following screen where we can subscribe to the netcad.com or use with the
Guest Login. The bottom right corner contains a
Guest Login button that can be clicked to start the Cisco Packet Tracer. When clicked a 10 seconds timer will start and at the at we will see the next screenshot.
When the timer countdown is completed we can click to the
Confirm Guest button and start Cisco Packet Tracer.
Create Simple Project
After we opened Cisco Packet Tracer we will see an empty topology. We can add the required devices from the menu below.
For example, by dragging and dropping an 1841 router to the empty topology we can add a router. We can also use other tools to connect these devices too.
We ca connect two routers by using following icon and related connection type which is required by selected devices port type like CAT cable.
Cisco Packet Tracer Alternatives
Cisco Packet Tracer provides a lot of useful and easy to use features for learning Cisco devices and environment. There are some alternatives to the Cisco Packet Tracer which provides fewer and more features.
GNS3 is a beast for the network and system lab and virtualization. GNS3 supports real Cisco and other software and operating systems. GNS3 can run different devices and operating systems like Linux, Ubuntu, Windows, CentOS, Cisco IOS, Fortinet, PfSense, etc over different virtualization technologies like Qemu/KVM, VirtualBox, VMware, Docker. GNS3 provides far more features and devices than Cisco Packet Tracer but installation and usage may be a bit harder than Cisco Packet Tracer.