Cisco packet tracer is a cross-platform network simulation tool that allows assessment, collaboration, visualization, authoring, and simulation capabilities to enhance the understandability and working of complex technologies. It is everything that the developers always wanted. It has been a boon many students and developers in the field who wish to imitate modern computer networks in an easier way.


The story behind developing this tool is to provide students, instructors, and other developers, a platform where they could easily learn to simulate networks involving an unlimited number of devices with easy troubleshooting. It is available for the users to download on the Cisco NetCad website. This tool has worldwide acceptance, because of the open access of updates to everyone.

All about the Cisco packet tracer:

A tool that allows visual simulation across various platforms often includes many technological concepts that need proper understanding.


Working concept:

No wonder, but here’s why the Cisco packet tracer has been in extensive use in recent times. The story behind its success is solely the concept of the packet tracer being Simple, and its ability to be used for prototyping as well as creating network topologies. 

  • Firstly, the entire concept is based on the drag and drop user interface. The users are allowed to create virtual networks according to their need and demand.
  • Secondly, the software of this tool uses simulated command line interfaces, allowing users to imitate the routers and switches. However, one has to make note that these cannot be used as replacements for switches and routers.
  • As it turns out to be a good catch, what comes added to it is that one can create their own virtual network topologies which facilities extensive experimentation, explanation, and exploration of the technologies.

Features of Cisco packet tracer:

Here’s another thing! The quality of any software tool can be assessed based on its features. The following are the features of the Cisco packet tracer:

  • Packet tracer workspaces: The packet tracer provides two workspaces – physical and logical, The physical workspace provides graphical dimension and geographic representation of the network providing a placement of the devices as in how they would be placed in real networks, while logical workspaces include the positioning, connecting, and clustering of virtual networking devices.
  • Packet tracer modes: The best thing about this tool is that it provides two operating modes – simulation mode and real-time mode. Simulation mode allows the user to spectate and manage time intervals and the internal work & propagation of data across the network.

In contrast, the real-time mode provides a real-time, virtual environment which can be used as a prototype before using the real equipment. Both the modes together help in enhancing the learning process of the networking concepts.

  • Modular devices: As a part of the simulation, the Cisco packet tracer‘s graphical representations provide the ability to insert modular switches and routers, allowing hardware simulation.
  • Protocols: What’s more likable is that the software tool supports a number of protocols. It supports protocols like Application layer protocols- FTP, SMTP, POP3, DNS, HTTP, Telnet, DHCP, etc. Transport layer protocols- RTP, TCP Nagle Algorithm & IP Fragmentation, TCP and UDP. Network protocols like IPV4, RIPv1, IPSec, ARP, IPV6, BGP, ICMP, ICMPv6, Multi-Area OSPF. Supported interfaces- PPP, PPPoE, HDLC, Ethernet, Frame Relay, RSTP, DTP, STP
  • Multi-User functionality: Best of all the features of this packet tracer by Cisco, is its multi-user functionality. It allows extensive collaborative interactions among the users facilitating social learning and networking.
  • Activity wizard: This feature includes grading and feedback capabilities which facilitate the users to author their learning activities through creating networking topologies and predefined packages.
  • Help: This tool comes with a help feature which gives the user knowledge about the tool’s functions through notes, tips, and screenshots, to help procure better understanding. It also includes a tutorial feature that consists of various videos with detailed explanations of various tool and their functions.
  • Platforms: Along with supporting various protocols, it also supports the most common platforms like Windows, Windows XP, Basic and Premium Vista, Windows 7 and Linux. Sounds good right?

This feature allows you to create your own learning schedule. You can use instructional text to set up scenarios, and also create first and last network topologies. The Activity Wizard also comes with feedback and grading capabilities.

Not just these! The Cisco packet tracer comes along with a lot of other features that facilitate the ease of working:

Additional Features

      • Allows you to add tables and racks quickly
      • Comes with many features that will enable you to connect different devices
      • You’ll also be able to develop your problem-solving and critical thinking abilities
      • You can save your projects in .pkg format
      • Supports MQTT protocol
      • It is easy to install and uninstall programming tabs

System requirements for Cisco packet tracer:

Just like all other tools, this also comes with some few basic requirements to function:

  • A minimum of 700MB free hard disk space
  • Processor with 4GB RAM
  • A platform of Windows 7, 8.1 and 10 or Linux Ubuntu 14.94
  • Screen resolution with a minimum of 1024 x 768 pixels
  • Basic Pentium 4
  • A device with a sound card

How to Download Cisco Packet Tracer

Whilst you have the basic requirements to download the tool, follow the below steps for fast and easy installation of visual simulation:

Here are direct download links to the software:

Follow these simple steps to install Cisco visual simulation:

Step 1: Download Cisco Packet Tracer from one of the links above depending on the system you have

Step 2: Once the download is complete, run the setup and follow the instructions on your screen to install the software

cisco-packet-tracer-licenseStep 3: Wait for the software to install


Step 4: Once it is done, if you already have a Cisco Networking Account, provide your credentials to log in. If not, you can sign in as a guest.


Step 5: You will navigate to the main window

Step 6: Access all the tools you need from the action panel

Continue reading to find information on how to use the software.

Read more TCPDump packet analyzer in networks

The utility of the Cisco packet tracer:

As it turns out that the features of this tool are explicitly amazing, they lead to its wide usage in the market:

  • The physical interfaces provide an extremely user-friendly experience to the user where they can use the drag-and-drop mechanism
  • Allows real-time monitoring of data transfers and logistics
  • The activity feedback lets the user get real-time feedback of the learning process
  • What’s, even more, better is, it acts as a competitive learning platform where ideas can be shared, practiced, and implemented among a large group of people which can be used in real-life projects and also help in enhancing the user’s critical-thinking, and problem-solving skills.

Due to these features with added easement of usage, the Cisco packet tracer has emerged to be one of the most widely used tools for simulating computer networks.


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