CCNA Best Network Simulator for preparing for CCENT / CCNA exam

paranoidparanoid Posts: 19Member ■□□□□□□□□□
Hi everyone!

A question for those who used a Network Simulator for preparing for the CCENT / CCNA exams:
I'm looking for a useful Network Simulator for doing Hands-on Training while preparing for my exams. I spotted two Simulators of my interest. One of them is the one from Cisco. The other one is the one from Boson. Both seem to have similar functionality. The Simulator of my choice should have the possibility to give the user a problem to solve and then grade the question. Which of them can you conseil?

Thanks for feedback!

Greets, Peter


  • Welly_59Welly_59 Posts: 431Member
    Best of all is gns3. But if you want the ability to have activities and labs then I would go with packet tracer
  • Magic JohnsonMagic Johnson Posts: 414Member
    I use both, Peter. PT is great for quickly testing something simple, but if you want to go real nuts and bolts then you need GNS3 as that gives you full emulation.

    The only thing it isn't great at is L2 switching, though to be honest Packet Tracer is good enough for that stuff for CCNA level at least.
  • lucky0977lucky0977 Senior Member Posts: 203Member ■■■■□□□□□□
    Packet tracer was good enough for my CCENT/CCNA exams but I can't tell you if it's useful for the CCNP exams. If you do the labs enough times, you'll end up memorizing where to place the commands (i.e interface vs global config) before you even type them in, which is useful if you ever a question about the cli on your exam.
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  • rob42rob42 Posts: 423Member
    @Magic Johnson: My understanding is that you also need to be able to get hold of IOS images to use with GNS3. Is that not the case?
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  • labscloudlabscloud Posts: 136Member
    From everything I've read and been told here, Packet Tracer is more than enough to get your CCNA with. Once you move on to CCNP studies, you'll want to invest in an actual lab to practice on. Cheers!
  • IsmaeljrpIsmaeljrp Posts: 480Member ■■■□□□□□□□
    Using GNS3 with VIRL images, I can tell you, you can do most things switching even at CCNP level. At CCNA level you can do it all. Just not stackwise.
  • albinorhino187albinorhino187 CCNP R/S, CCNA R/S, CCNA SEC, A+, NET+, SEC+, PROJECT+, LINUX+, LPIC-1, Palo ACE Posts: 117Member ■■■□□□□□□□
    Packet Tracer is plenty for CCNA. And there are lots of pre-made labs you can load up and practice with. Packet Tracer 6.2 & 7.0 labs - Packet Tracer Network for example has a lot of good ones.

    If you're resourceful and operate in the morally gray area, you can find all you need online to get a fully viable GNS3 environment working that will take you through your CCNP.

    i also found this site - - useful for learning how to subnet very quickly in my head. It has other CCNA meterial on there as well.
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  • paranoidparanoid Posts: 19Member ■□□□□□□□□□
    Thank you very much for your inputs! I installed GNS3 for trying it out, finding out at the end, that it needs Cisco IOS images, which are not in my range... :-/ The i took a look on Packet Tracer, remarking then that the potential user must be registered Networking Academy student, so it falls apart too...

    I think i will rely on commercial solutions, seeming they are taylored for the purpose...serious training has its cost, even if self-study can save you a lot of money, it should be taken seriously, for not wasting precious resources (while making wrong decisions), and especially relaying on admitted study material...

    I'll do deeper research, but thank you again for your comments, and feel free to add some more!!

    Best Regards, Peter
  • stryder144stryder144 Posts: 1,589Member ■■■■■■■■□□ for Packet Tracer 101. It is available through the NetAcad website (owned/run by Cisco). They will give you Packet Tracer for free to take the online class and you can then use it for labs of your own making.
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  • hunterthuntert Posts: 231Banned
    i have used the Boson EXSim-Max to do practice test. you actually use simulations for routers and switches to answer questions
  • paranoidparanoid Posts: 19Member ■□□□□□□□□□
    huntert wrote: »
    i have used the Boson EXSim-Max to do practice test. you actually use simulations for routers and switches to answer questions

    For practice questions / practice exams i use the Pearson IT Certification Practice Test, which is included with the Official Cert Guide from Cisco. I think, it is a good tool for knowledge assessment, but it does not provide hands-on training for the lab part / sim / simlet part of the exam. By the way, having just the theoretical knowledge on how to operate the devices is just the half part of doing the job, so having experience on the cli is crucial. Especially when it comes to troubleshoot something, experience is very important. So i think network simulators are valuable tools acquiring such experience at a moderate cost.
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