Packet tracer is a very powerful network simulation tool developed by Cisco Systems. It is the best tool available for students and educators. Earlier people had to enroll in Cisco Academy courses to get Packet Tracer, but, now we can use the Guest Login feature if we have not enrolled in Cisco Academy courses. It offers support for multiple platforms, including Windows, Linux, and Mac. One of the key features of packet tracer is that it offers logical and physical work-spaces, enabling a user to connect the devices logically or to get the feel of the real physical environment. It also offers real-time mode and simulation mode to help improve the learning process.
To set-up Packet Tracer, we first have to download it from the internet, either from the Cisco official website or from any other platform one prefers. Once the download is finished, open the downloaded file to open the installer and then accept the agreement. Select the path for the installation location, and click Next. Then it will ask you to provide a folder name to be put in the Start menu for the Packet Tracer software, provide the name and then click Next. We can add the icon to the desktop and, or, a quick launch shortcut, click Next once you have made the selection. On the next screen review your selections and click Install. Once the installation is complete, click Finish. Packet Tracer will be launched automatically. Sign in using your Cisco ID, or select Guest login, it will help you create an ID.
Once you have successfully logged in, the Packet Tracer window will open. Here you can create your network by drag-and-dropping the devices from the bottom-left corner of the screen into the workspace and then providing connections between them. You can choose from network devices like routers, switches hubs, wireless devices, etc., end devices like PCs, laptops, servers, IP phones, etc., connection options like different cables. To configure a device, by using either the graphical interface or by using the command line, click on the device, and the configuration wizard will open. Remember, you’ll have to wait for the device to boot before you can start configuring it. You can add and configure an almost unlimited number of devices to the workspace and practise as much as you want by trying different designs and configurations. This is the best tool to get hands-on experience of the real world in a lab environment.
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