Cisco Packet Tracer 7.1 vs GNS3

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Introduction

Cisco Packet Tracer 7.1 and GNS3 v2.1 are two major network simulation software used for certification exam training (Cisco CCNA and CCNP for example) or network feature test without having to buy expensive real world equipment. The two software have been designed to address different needs.

Packet Tracer is a network simulator and embeds only limited real equipment features. GNS3 is a network emulator based on Dynamips and QSEMU running real IOS images, virtual machines, ... The main limitation of GNS3 is the amount of ressources (CPU / memory) available on the PC for running the lab's emulated IOS images and virtual machines for clients & servers simulation.

GNS3 v2.1 official release is now available for download on GNS3 website. This new version released on November 10, 2017 with packet loss and jitter support. GNS3 also introduced support of new Cisco security devices last sumer : this powerful network emulator now supports new Cisco security appliance to help network and security administrators to prepare security certification exams : Cisco Firepower Next-Generation IPS (NGIPS) threat appliances, Cisco Firepower Threat Defense Virtual NGFW appliances and Firepower Management Center Virtual.

 

Packet Tracer 7.1 and GNS3 v2.1 feature comparison

General Cisco Packet Tracer 6.2
(simulated IOS features)
GNS3
(emulated real IOS features)
Free software
Open source
Publicly downloadable
Windows support
Linux support
     
Fully functional IOS
Simulated IOS. Partial features

Real IOS images run in virtual environment
Catalyst switches
NX-OS switches
ISR routers
ASR routers    
ASA firewall
ASA ASDM configuration support
Cisco Firepower Next-Generation IPS (NGIPS)
Cisco Firepower Threat Defense Virtual NGFW
Firepower Management Center Virtual.    
WIFI
3G/4G
VOIP
     
RADIUS
Netflow agent
Netflow collector
     
SNMP agent
SNMP collector

 

BGP features comparison

Cisco Packet Tracer 7.0 (simulated IOS features)

Router(config)#router bgp 65000
Router(config-router)#%BGP-4-NORTRID: BGP could not pick a router-id. Please configure manually.

Router(config-router)#?
  bgp              BGP specific commands
  distance         Define an administrative distance
  exit             Exit from routing protocol configuration mode
  neighbor         Specify a neighbor router
  network          Specify a network to announce via BGP
  no               Negate a command or set its defaults
  redistribute     Redistribute information from another routing protocol
  synchronization  Perform IGP synchronization
  timers           Adjust routing timers
              

 

GNS3 (emulated real IOS features)

R2(config)#router bgp 50000
R2(config-router)#?
Router configuration commands:
  address-family       Enter Address Family command mode
  aggregate-address    Configure BGP aggregate entries
  auto-summary         Enable automatic network number summarization
  bgp                  BGP specific commands
  default              Set a command to its defaults
  default-information  Control distribution of default information
  default-metric       Set metric of redistributed routes
  distance             Define an administrative distance
  distribute-list      Filter networks in routing updates
  exit                 Exit from routing protocol configuration mode
  help                 Description of the interactive help system
  maximum-paths        Forward packets over multiple paths
  neighbor             Specify a neighbor router
  network              Specify a network to announce via BGP
  no                   Negate a command or set its defaults
  redistribute         Redistribute information from another routing protocol
  synchronization      Perform IGP synchronization
  table-map            Map external entry attributes into routing table
  template             Enter template command mode
  timers               Adjust routing timers