Welcome to this quick guide on how to create small labs to practice routing, switching and more with the help of Cisco Packet Tracer.This is Cisco's network simulation software, which is used in instructor-led
courses.It's fairly quick to learn and really easy to use. It'sgot a lot of Cisco equipment ready for you to play with. You can easily create multiple networks and connect them with various models of switches and routers.To get it, you will have to register for a free 1-hour course at Cisco's Networking Academy
This course is fairly straightforward and will get you up to speed with the interface and basic use of Packet Tracer.After you get through the intro course, you will receive the download link and you're ready to go.I use Packet Tracer to practice a lot of stuff.Here's one quick example, using a few computers, two switches, and two routers: Network Setup
Firstly, I set up a small network of 2 computers and assign them IP addresses.Here I'll be using the 192.168.100.0/24
net id.Then, I can add a Cisco 2960
Switch and connect both PCs to it.Finally, add one Generic Router
and connect it to the Switch. Now we can create another network just like before, with two computers this time with the net id 192.168.200.0/24
. Assign them IP addresses and connect them to another Switch and Router.Next, we have to connect both Routers together with a Serial cable.Now, I can play along and add a laptop, connected via Console cable to each router, like in the real world. Or just right click on each Router and select CLI.Router Configuration
First off, we must select not to go through the initial setup, because it's really bad and we have to learn how to do it manually. After that, we're in the router and ready to start configuring as you can see by the prompt Router.By typing enable
we get to Privileged mode
, which is necessary to enter Configuration mode
.Do that by typing configure terminal
Now we can do some real configuration.Firstly, we need to assign IP addresses and turn on our Interfaces, since they are all down by default on a brand new Cisco router. We do that by typing>enable>interface FastEthernet0/0>ip address 192.168.100.1 255.255.255.0>no shutdownAnd for Router2>enable>interface FastEthernet0/0>ip address 192.168.200.1 255.255.25.0>no shutdown2.
Now we should see the links turning green, which means we got a connection from the switch to the router.We're not done yet, we need to set the Serial ports up as well. Our network between the two routers will be 22.214.171.124/24
To configure the serial interface in Router1 :>enable>configure terminal>interface Serial2/0>ip address 126.96.36.199 255.255.255.0>no shutdownAnd likely, in Router2>enable>configure terminal>interface Serial2/0>ip address 188.8.131.52 255.255.255.0>no shutNow all links should be up and running and we should be able to ping each router on both its interfaces from the computers in its network.3.
The last thing we need to do is to create a static route between the two Routers, so then we can ping from one network to the other.To do this, we go to Router1 and type:>enable>configure terminal>ip route 192.168.200.0 255.255.255.0 184.108.40.206That tells the router, that it can get to network 192.168.200.0/24 via next hop 220.127.116.11, which is on Router2's serial interface.Now for Router2, we do something similar:>enable>configure terminal>ip route 192.168.100.0 255.255.255.0 18.104.22.168
Now finally, we have our static routes and we should be able to ping from any computer to any other PC and/or Router.Concluding Thoughts:
Thanks for sticking around, this was a pretty simple lab to setup, but it's good to start with really basic stuff andpractice it until you have it all figured out. Now, you can try adding more routers, switches, computers, and maybeeven servers. Play around with it and enjoy!