The practical guide to practical networking – Part 1 – the installation

I know many of you, as I used to, are struggling to learn networking. Many of you may be yelling to the skies “WHY CAN THERE NOT BE SOME HANDS ON METHOD!!” Well my friends, worry no more, I am here. In this part 1, I will be taking you through how to get started with a lab and then on a semi regular basis I will release some practical labs that you can complete. Fun Right?

To start off with we are going to get ourselves sorted with some free software that allows us to build this lab and something that will not break anything in real life. This program is called GNS3, it allows full virtualization of large networks and is great for learning.

The steps

To get GNS3 downloaded you are going to need two things:

  1. To go to this link and download and install GNS3 – https://www.gns3.com/software
  2. Need to install Virtualbox (https://www.virtualbox.org/) or VMWare fusion (paid software) – Reason we need this software is to virtualise the environment.

Once the software is installed and everything is up and working, we need to get some routers imported. This step is a little bit more complicated than the initial installation but once it is done, you shouldn’t need to do it again.

  • Select “Install an application from the GNS3 server (recommended)”
  • Select the router drop down and select “Cisco 2600” and then select install.
  • Select “install the appliance on the GNS3 VM (recommended)”
  • On this screen you should see an error about missing files. In the bottom right hand corner you will need to select “Allow custom files”
  • Expand the router and select on the operating system. You can then select import on the bottom right hand corner.
  • Navigate to your newly extracted .rar folder and select the .bin file
  • You should now see the router is “Ready to install” if you see this, it means you have done everything right and you can follow directions really well! If you do not see this, make sure that “Allow custom files” option is ticked.
  • Select next and agree to it being installed. You should now have a router in your router selections!

That’s it! This is the end of our first introduction to practicals, the purpose of this first guide was to just get the software installed and you get you already for what’s to come. Feel free to play around with the software to get yourself familiar with routers and their configurations. If you are confused or something just is not working, please book a time to get in touch with me.

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