Packet Tracer 5 is a software suite used to train computer-networking students for CCNA certification. Its primary aim is towards students that don’t have constant access to a Cisco network of devices. It comes standard with tutorials, help topics, and troubleshooting tips that are present in every layer of the OSI model.
Packet Tracer 5 has gained its reputation as succeeding where other technology software suites have failed. Whereas one may argue that it’s impossible to teach “hands on” experience through reading and using programs, Packet Tracer 5 throws a few curve balls at students. If you notice that you can’t receive data over the network you’ve just created, you might have to check that you turned the router on first- just as you would when dealing with a real network!
Cisco’s Packet Tracer 5 is ideal for printing out schematics when it comes time to assemble a physical network. Instead of the paper full of scribbles and eraser marks, you can have a freshly-printed schematic designed to perfection. Printing out the running configuration also saves time in initial router setup.
The good news is that Packet Tracer is among the best in network simulation software- and it won’t cost students, alumni, and faculty a single penny to use. Those who have been members of the Cisco Networking Academy will get full access to the program, and its updates, via the Cisco.Netacad.net login portal. The bad news is that the program isn’t public; everyone else will have to find other means of obtaining it.
Help! I’m Not In The Cisco Networking Academy
Cisco doesn’t endorse the ability for outsiders to use their software. Packet Tracer 5 is free software that Cisco gives as an incentive for students to take a CCNA course. Software of its caliber would otherwise cost upwards of several hundred dollars or more.
Self-learners are not without options, however, for they may either find alternative sources of downloading the material or side with another software suite.
Alternatives To Packet Tracer 5
The three major competitors are Boson’s Netsim, Dynagen, and GNS-3.
Boson’s Netsim – Netsim is the only one of the three that isn’t open source. Licensing ranges from $199 to $499, depending on the license necessary. Netsim is ideal for classrooms as it comes loaded with tutorials, quizzes, labs, and grading functions.
Dynagen – Dynagen is a front-end used with the Dynamips Cisco router emulator. The documentation isn’t the best for beginners to browse through, but it’s a free solution that is hard to beat.
GNS-3 – GNS-3 is also built to work with Dynamips. It’s considered to be more user-friendly and intuitive than Dynagen. It also offers video tutorials to get started and free support via forum in case problems arise or questions are formulated.
Downloading Packet Tracer 5 From Alternative Sources
You can’t be blamed if you want to stick with Packet Tracer 5. It’s the best there is, and it’s possible if you were to take a class in the future that you would be required to learn it. If you haven’t enrolled in Cisco classes, yet wish to learn more about Cisco networks, you can use the download link below to download the software:
- [link removed] – Please consult Cisco for a download.
Don’t expect Packet Tracer 5 to be a walk in the park. It’s a development program, much like AutoCAD, and will take a moderate amount of time in learning. You may browse the included help files in the program or browse tutorials on Learn-Networking.com for a quick start guide on getting ahead in your CCNA course.