Best way to Lab up GNS3
This is for beginners GNS3 makes it easy to Lab up networks in real time and for developmental purposes. First I want to mention that you shouldn’t upgrade your GNS3 environment if it’s already installed and you should wait to download new releases once they are available, obviously to prevent bugs from breaking your environment.
There’s a few ways you can Lab up GNS3
Download the GNS3 VM
The GNS3 VM is available for both virtual box and VMware. It’s recommended to use VMware for launching the GNS3 VM, that’s only because it’s said to move faster, I haven’t had any problems with the virtual box VM.
Once you’ve downloaded the GNS3 for either virtual machine appliance you can refer to the virtual box website for getting started with virtual box.
Setting up GNS3 on virtual box is easy once you have virtual box downloaded you need to add the vm and run it as a custom machine.
If you want to run GNS3 on VMware Workstation or fusion, you’ll need to download one or the other depending on which System your using (mac or windows)
Fusion for mac – Workstation for windows
Both are paid software solutions but come with free 30 day trials.
GNS3 Lab Set up
In order to set up your GNS3 lab you will need router/switch images to work with in addition to an IOS, as of now if you plan to use Cisco Images for routing and switching configuration the best option is to Purchase VIRL, which is a Virtual Routing Software simulator.
If you decide to purchase VIRL you will be able to work with these images on GNS3 and deploy labs for CCNA & CCNP Prep for exams and advanced real world experience for Security, Wireless LANS, WAN, and so on.
By default you can also download wireshark while installing GNS3. If your new to networking but have at least basic understanding of how networks work, I would highly recommend working with the GNS3 software and wireshark as often as possible.
If your finding it hard to work with the GNS3 VM you could also install everything locally and run your environment locally without using the virtual machine.