Packet Tracer Network Simulator

2 (1 reviews total)
By Jesin A
    Advance your knowledge in tech with a Packt subscription

  • Instant online access to over 7,500+ books and videos
  • Constantly updated with 100+ new titles each month
  • Breadth and depth in over 1,000+ technologies
  1. Getting Started with Packet Tracer

About this book

Packet Tracer is a powerful network simulation program that allows students to experiment with network behavior and ask “what if” questions. As an integral part of the Networking Academy comprehensive learning experience, Packet Tracer provides simulation, visualization, authoring, assessment, and collaboration capabilities and facilitates the teaching and learning of complex technology concepts. Packet Tracer allows you to simulate highly complex learning environments and allows you to see how packets move between different devices.

Packet Tracer Network Simulator is a practical guide that thoroughly explains the features and uses of Packet Tracer with the help of practical examples that will help you to create your own complex topologies and emulate learning environments. This book will cover using Packet Tracer with PCs, laptops, and servers, with a brief description of its usage with other end devices like tablets and televisions. You will learn about different connectors, start creating network topologies, and configure them with Cisco commands. After testing connectivity with complex PDUs, you will also be able to use the simulation mode to analyze packet flow.

This book covers advanced topics which will help you learn how to configure Cisco devices without commands. You will learn about the configuration of IPv4 and IPv6 routing and also how to troubleshoot networks by looking at the live flow of packets. The book will teach you how to set up wireless devices and how to demonstrate their proximity with physical simulation. You will also learn how to create practical networking assessments with a scoring model.

Once you've finished the book, you will be able to make the best use of your simulator to create and plan limitless network topologies. You will have a good understanding of how to use Packet Tracer to build complex topologies and also how to bring your simulations closer to reality.

Publication date:
January 2014


Chapter 1. Getting Started with Packet Tracer

So you have just entered the world of Cisco networking by starting to prepare for CCENT or CCNA and would like to get a taste of everything in Cisco, but do not have the luxury to afford real hardware. Well, who needs a few pieces of real hardware when you can design complex topologies with tens (if not hundreds) of Cisco devices and watch as packets move between them, and do all of this on your laptop, sitting anywhere? The best part is, if you are an instructor or interviewer, practical questions can be created with Packet Tracer; you'll learn how to do this in Chapter 11, Creating Packet Tracer Assessments.

This chapter will guide you through the installation of Packet Tracer, describe its graphical interface, and show you how to create your first simple topology in it. Because this is a simulator, not all real world (read real hardware) protocols are supported. So we will begin by seeing which protocols it does support.


Protocols supported by Packet Tracer

A simulator, as the name suggests, simulates network devices and its environment, so protocols in Packet Tracer are coded to work and behave in the same way as they would on real hardware. The following table shows the protocols supported by Packet Tracer:




Ethernet (including CSMA/CD*), 802.11 a/b/g/n wireless*, and PPPOE


VLANs, 802.1q, trunking, VTP, DTP, STP*, RSTP*, multilayer switching*, EtherChannel, LACP, and PAgP


HTTP, HTTPS, DHCP, DHCPv6, Telnet, SSH, TFTP, DNS, TCP*, UDP, IPv4*, IPv6*, ICMP, ICMPv6, ARP, IPv6 ND, FTP, SMTP, POP3, and VOIP(H.323)


Static, default, RIPv1, RIPv2, EIGRP, single area OSPF, multiarea OSPF, BGP, inter-VLAN routing, and redistribution


HDLC, SLARP, PPP*, and Frame Relay*


IPsec, GRE, ISAKMP, NTP, AAA, RADIUS, TACACS, SNMP, SSH, Syslog, CBAC, Zone-Based Policy Firewall, and IPS


Layer 2 QoS, Layer 3 DiffServ QoS, FIFO Hardware queues, Priority Queuing, Custom Queuing, Weighted Fair Queuing, MQC, and NBAR*


ACLs (standard, extended, and named), CDP, NAT (static, dynamic, inside/outside, and overload), and NATv6

* These protocols have substantial modelling limitations, so not all commands under these protocols work.


Installing Packet Tracer

To download Packet Tracer, go to and log in with your Cisco Networking Academy credentials; then, click on the Packet Tracer graphic and download the package appropriate for your operating system.


Installation in Windows is pretty simple and straightforward; the setup comes in a single file named Packettracer_Setup6.0.1.exe. Open this file to begin the setup wizard, accept the license agreement, choose a location, and start the installation.


Linux users with an Ubuntu/Debian distribution should download the file for Ubuntu, and those using Fedora/Redhat/CentOS must download the file for Fedora. Grant executable permission to this file by using chmod, and execute it to begin the installation.

chmod +x  PacketTracer601_i386_installer-rpm.bin

Complete the installation by following on-screen instructions.


Interface overview

The layout of Packet Tracer is divided into several components similar to a photo editor. Match the numbering in the following screenshot with the explanations given after it:

The components of the Packet Tracer interface are as follows:

  • Area 1: Menu bar – This is a common menu found in all software applications; it is used to open, save, print, change preferences, and so on.

  • Area 2: Main toolbar – This bar provides shortcut icons to menu options that are commonly accessed, such as open, save, zoom, undo, and redo, and on the right-hand side is an icon for entering network information for the current network.

  • Area 3: Logical/Physical workspace tabs – These tabs allow you to toggle between the Logical and Physical work areas.

  • Area 4: Workspace – This is the area where topologies are created and simulations are displayed.

  • Area 5: Common tools bar – This toolbar provides controls for manipulating topologies, such as select, move layout, place note, delete, inspect, resize shape, and add simple/complex PDU.

  • Area 6: Realtime/Simulation tabs – These tabs are used to toggle between the real and simulation modes. Buttons are also provided to control the time, and to capture the packets.

  • Area 7: Network component box – This component contains all of the network and end devices available with Packet Tracer, and is further divided into two areas:

    • Area 7a: Device-type selection box – This area contains device categories

    • Area 7b: Device-specific selection box – When a device category is selected, this selection box displays the different device models within that category

  • Area 8: User-created packet box – Users can create highly-customized packets to test their topology from this area, and the results are displayed as a list.

Make sure you are familiar with these names, because moving forward we will be referring to them frequently.


Creating a simple topology

Now that you're familiar with the GUI of Packet Tracer, you can create your first network topology by carrying out the following steps:

  1. From the network component box, click on End Devices and drag-and-drop a Generic PC icon and a Generic laptop icon into the Workspace.

  2. Click on Connections, then click on Copper Cross-Over, then on PC0, and select FastEthernet. After this, click on Laptop0 and select FastEthernet. The link status LED should show up in green, indicating that the link is up.

  3. Click on the PC, go to the Desktop tab, click on IP Configuration, and enter an IP address and subnet mask. In this topology, the default gateway and DNS server information is not needed as there are only two end devices in the network.

  4. Close the window, open the laptop, and assign an IP address to it in the same way. Make sure that both of the IP addresses are in the same subnet. We'll be learning more about end device configuration in Chapter 3, Generic IP End Devices.

  5. Close the IP Configuration box, open the command prompt, and ping the IP address of the device at the end to check connectivity.

    Pinging Laptop0 from PC0

What is a network topology without a single network device in it? Add an Ethernet switch to this topology so that more than two end devices can be connected, by performing the following steps:

  1. Click on Switches from the device-type selection box and insert any switch (except Switch-PT-Empty) into the workspace.

  2. Remove the link between the PC and the laptop using the delete tool from the common tools bar.

  3. Choose the Copper Straight-Through cable and connect the PC and laptop with the switch. At this point, the link indicators on the switch are orange in color because the switchports are undergoing the listening and learning states of the Spanning Tree Protocol (STP).

  4. Once the link turns green, as shown in the previous screenshot, ping again to check the connectivity. The next chapter, Chapter 2, Network Devices, will deal with the configuration of network devices.

  5. To save this topology, navigate to File | Save As and choose a location. The topology will be saved with a .pkt extension, with the devices in the same state.



You have successfully installed Packet Tracer and used it to create a simple topology. Keep trying different topologies with only PCs/laptops and switches to familiarize yourself with the GUI. You have also seen a list of protocols supported by Packet Tracer; use this list as a reference. Whenever you want to try a new technology in the future, make sure that the protocols to be configured are fully supported by Packet Tracer before moving ahead.

In the next chapter, you'll learn about the different types of network devices and how to customize them according to your needs. You'll also see how to configure them through the CLI as well as through the graphical interface.

About the Author

  • Jesin A

    Jesin A is a network security specialist with an immense interest in Linux and networking. He holds certificates in CCNP, RHCE, and CEH and also likes programming with PHP. He currently lives in Chennai and when he isn't securing networks, he enjoys computer gaming of the FPS genre. He holds a bachelor's degree in computer applications from Loyola College, Chennai.

    Browse publications by this author

Latest Reviews

(1 reviews total)
Too light weight. This book did not offer much beyond what material is already offered free of charge from Cisco.I expected to receive a book with more detail and many more examples.
Packet Tracer Network Simulator
Unlock this book and the full library for FREE
Start free trial