Cisco: Packet Tracer

Making learning networking easy and affordable for anyone and everyone!

What is Packet Tracer?

As Cisco describes on their website:
Cisco Packet Tracer is a comprehensive networking technology teaching and learning tool that offers a unique combination of realistic simulation and visualization experiences, assessment, activity authoring capabilities, and multiuser collaboration and competition opportunities. Innovative features of Packet Tracer will help students and teachers collaborate, solve problems, and learn concepts in an engaging and dynamic social environment.

How to get Packet Tracer?

In short, all you need to get Packet Tracer is an account on Cisco Network Academy. After that, you can download Packet Tracer.
After you downloaded Packet Tracer you can install it with the default settings, unless others are preferred.

How to use Packet Tracer?

When starting Packet Tracer you will be prompted to log in with your Cisco Network Academy account.
After you logged in you’re free to use Packet Tracer to your hearts content.

On the bottom left are some categories to be used, to the right of that are the devices belonging to that category. Left click any of them and left click them in the field above to place them.

After that you can click on any of the devices itself to configure them. How to configure them will be going into detail on the other pages.

Cisco’s introduction to Packet Tracer.

Various options to choose from
Routers from the router category
A router placed in the top field

Alternatives to Packet Tracer

There are quite some alternatives to Packet Tracer, each with its up- and downsides. The major downsides of alternatives is that they often require a lot more knowledge and work to get working, as well as the requirement of actual firmware of the networking equipment you want to run.

Here some alternatives:
GNS3 – I personally use this program as well. Setting it up is not too hard and has become easier in the last years, but it does require firmware.