Networking Concepts: Introduction to Cisco Packet Tracer
What is Cisco Packet Tracer?
Cisco Packet Tracer, created by Cisco Systems, is a simulation tool that allows us to logically create a network topology without even implementing it physically. It can be used to understand all the basic concepts of computer networking, mainly CCNA. You can also use it to make simple and complex network topologies as well.
Recommended Read: All you need to know about Cisco Packet Tracer 7.0
There are two versions of Cisco Packet Tracer: Student Version and Instructor Version. One of the major and I think the only difference in both is that, in instructor version, you can create your own exam as well. With time, Cisco has improved a lot of things in it. Latest version of CPT now supports more router types, Cisco 5505 firewall, cell tower, CO server, Sniffer. There is also some improvement in command line mode.
Why we need it?
Real Cisco devices (Routers and Switches) are very expensive and normally students cannot buy those just to practice. With the help of Cisco Packet Tracer, students can create, configure and troubleshoot a network with almost unlimited devices. And the best part of it; you don’t have to buy any real device.
Who should download and Install it?
Students who want to learn networking or if they are preparing for CCNA global certification exam, must download it. Even for professional level, it works very well but remember that it’s not complete replacement of real routers, switches or any other device. You can download latest version from here:-
If you open the Cisco Packet Tracer you will see a blank workspace. On the bottom left corner, you can see a lot of devices and cables. Different series of routers and switches are available to work with. If you click on any module, you can see exactly how many types of devices are available. Just drag and drop a device to workspace if you want to configure it. Different types of cables are also available to connect those devices. With the help of cables and devices, you can create a topology and configure it.
Let’s take a look at some of the devices of Cisco Packet Tracer.
Latest version of Cisco Packet Tracer has many devices to work with, including a firewall and cell tower. Following are some of the most used devices in CPT:
First device set in CPT is router. Main function of a router is Internetwork Communication means connecting two or more different networks. There are a lot of routers available in CPT such as CISCO 1841, 1941, 2600 Series, 2800 and 2900 Series routers to name a few. We can use them as per our need.
Switches and Hubs:
Cisco’s 2950 and 2960 switches are available in CPT. A multilayer switch and some hubs can also be used in the topology.
We got the devices to work with, now we need a media to connect those devices. Media can be wired or wireless. In Cisco Packet Tracer, we have a lot of cables under the name “Connections”. We have Copper Media, Coaxial media, Fiber media, Phone Media and some more. We can use them in our topology to connect devices. For wireless connection, Packet Tracer has some wireless devices as well like access points, cell towers, wireless desktops, laptops etc.
Some more devices like Host Computers, Laptops, Servers, Printers, VoIP phones are also available. We can use them in our network as per our need.
Cisco Packet Tracer 6.2 also supports firewall that can be used to study CCNA Security and to secure our network from unwanted attackers.
or detailed information about Cisco Packet Tracer, watch the following video.
Although Cisco Packet Tracer provides almost everything a student needs to know to learn networking but there are some drawbacks of it. Cisco has clearly mentioned that this software is only for training purpose and cannot be replaced with real router or switches. A lot of commands that runs perfectly on real devices, are not supported by Cisco Packet Tracer and if you are preparing for global certification exam, that could be a problem. There is also a mobile version of it. You can download it from Google Play Store or App Store for mobile use.
So practice on real routers and switches as much you can and for basic concepts, use CISCO PACKET TRACER.