Packet Tracer

Cisco Packet Tracer Tutorial for Beginners – [Step by Step Guide]

Cisco Packet Tracer is one of the most effective tools used by network engineers in the networking industry. Packet tracer is used by the technicians to monitor the network traffic and find out the issues in the network. In this blog post, we are sharing a step-by-step Cisco Packet Tracer Tutorial for Beginners. This tutorial will teach you all about the Packet tracer and its uses.

It is used for simulating and testing network traffic between different hosts. Packet tracer can also be used by the user to understand the concepts related to the network traffic.  In fact, it is a classy tool for network enthusiasts. All you need to do is to master it.  For the sake of your convenience, we’ll provide you with all the necessary stuff that you’ll need to begin your career in computer networking.

cisco packet tracer tutorial for beginners

For absolute beginners, lets just begin with a brief intro to this super beautiful software called Cisco Packet Tracer before moving on to this step by step guide tutorial.

What is Cisco Packet Tracer?

Packet tracer is a network simulator that is used by network engineers to test the network traffic and monitor the problems faced in the network. In simple words, packet tracer is a software that is used to simulate the network traffic and check whether it is working or not.

This software can be downloaded from the internet and used on any computer that is connected to the network. If the network is connected to a router then the router will act as a switch that will direct the network traffic to the destination host. The packets of data are sent by the hosts and when they reach the destination host then the traffic is analyzed by the packet tracer. The data analysis will tell the technician about the network traffic and what is the issue in the network. Packet tracer is also used for simulating the network traffic and for troubleshooting.

The most important feature of packet tracer is that it provides real time monitoring. The packet tracer will provide information about the network traffic in real time.

What are the uses of Packet Tracer?

Packet tracer has many uses in the networking industry. I won’t be covering all in detail as I want to quickly jump to the section explaining how to use Cisco Packet Tracer. Here are few key usage of this software:

  • Networking students and network engineers can use it to understand the concepts related to the network traffic
  • You can design and simulate computer networks
  • Learning problem diagnostics and troubleshooting is super easy
  • Create, modify and understand computer network diagrams

Using Cisco Packet Tracer for the first time [How to us it]

Before using Packet tracer you’ll need to download it from the internet. Once you have downloaded packet tracer you need to install it on your computer. You can download the packet tracer from the link provided below:

Download from Official WebSite

Download Packet Tracer (Mirror 1)

Once the packet tracer is installed on your computer you can run it on your network. Your main job starts after the installation setup. Most of you might not be familiar with this software and usage. So, let’s just cover this:

Components of Cisco Packet Tracer

There are different components in Cisco Packet Tracer and understanding these components is absolutely necessary for the understanding this Cisco Packet Tracer step by step guide for beginners.

1. The work environment

The working environment is the most important component of the Cisco Packet Tracer. It is the graphical user interface that allows the users to work on the network and solve the problems in an easy way. Its a GUI based tool which is absolutely self explanatory. You’ll be able to find bunch of menus, buttons and tools. Don’t worry, I am here to guide you at each and every step.

cisco packet tracer user interface

2. Main Menu

On the top, you’ll find a menu bar just like other software packages. Menu bar groups different commands for the ease of users. You can perform different things using this menu bar like:

  • Creating, opening, saving and printing packet tracer project files
  • Exiting the program
  • Copy, paste components on the drawing area
  • Setting up packet tracer environment from basic to advanced
  • View your drawn computer network
  • Help – obviously

3. Toolbar

Right beneath the menu bar there is a toolbar hosting icons of common tasks from the menu bar. This eases you out and you can quickly create, save, open and print your projects.

cisco packet tracer menu and toolbar

4. The Canvas a.k.a. Drawing Area

There is a huge white colored area in the middle. This is your canvas or simply drawing area. In packet tracer, network components like routers and computers are modeled as graphical objects. For designing a computer network, you’ll need to drag and drop different components on this area.

drawing area

5. Toolbox

As I’ve shared with you that you’ll need to use graphical objects to logically draw your computer network. So, the question is that from where you can get these objects? The answer is the “TOOLBOX” which is shown below. You’ll find all the tools necessary for crafting computer network from here. All you need to do is to browse the toolbox menu and choose the appropriate device / object you want.

toolbox of packet tracer

By default, this toolbox hosts following components:

  • End devices like desktop computer, laptop, server and many more
  • Routers
  • Hubs
  • Switches
  • Wireless devices
  • Connecting media like cables
  • WAN tools and custom devices

The left hand palette is like the main menu of toolbox while the right panel shows different models of selected device type.

6. Side Menu

On the right side of the canvas, there is a vertical menu. This might seems a bit generic in nature but in reality, its might useful. There are some basic tools and two advanced tools. With basic tools (present on the top side) you can do the following things easily:

  • Selecting a single component or a group of components from the drawing area
  • Repositioning component(s)
  • Duplicating components – for instance if you want to have two computers on the drawing area, you can copy / paste it
  • Zooming through your network

Testing your computer network is extremely handy. Packet tracer side menu has two advanced tools for testing your computer network.

side menu in packet tracer

7. Realtime Evaluation Results Bar

For judging overall well-being and performance of your computer network, you’ll need to look for quite a number of parameters. Cisco Packet Tracer has a basic test result area for this purpose. After you’ve designed your network, you can use the advanced tools to start testing this computer network. Any issues with your network are reported in this area.

test result in packet tracer

Design your example computer network

Now, as you’ve got familiar with the user interface of this amazing software, its time for you to use these building blocks and create your first computer network. Yes! you’ve heard it right. Here is a step by step guide on how to create first computer network using Cisco packet tracer.

Final thoughts

I’ve explained enough things just to give an idea that how you can use Cisco Packet Tracer effectively for learning. Being one of the matured tool available on the internet, the developers have kept user-friendliness in their minds. So, here we are at the end of Cisco Packet Tracer Guide for Beginners. In case of any query, you’re free to write to me.

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