Sunday, April 2, 2017

Installing Cisco Packet Tracer on Linux

Packet Tracer is a cross-platform visual simulation tool designed by Cisco Systems that allows users to create network topologies and imitate modern computer networks. (1)
Packet Tracer was previously not available to everyone, but since version seven, has been available to anyone who creates a Network Academy account. (2)  The software allows you to create virtual networks without the need of physical hardware.  Some of the hardware included are routers, switches, and PC's.

After creating an Network Academy account, you are able to download the software for either 32-bit or 64-bit Linux platforms (Figure 1).  Though the site indicates support for Ubuntu 14.04 64-bit, I was able to install on Linux Mint 18.1 64-bit with no issues.

Figure 1: Linux downloads.

Click on the download for your system, in my case the 64-bit compressed tar archive.  After the download, open the Nemo file manager and right click on the archive, then select Extract Here to un-compress and un-archive to a folder, PacketTracer70.  Navigate into the folder and double click on the install bash script file (Figure 2).

Figure 2: Installation Folder Contents
Double clicking on the installation file will bring up a dialog box with some options.  Click on Run in Terminal to begin the installation process (Figure 3).

Figure 3: Click on the Run in Terminal button.
 In the resulting terminal window, you will be asked to accept the EULA (End User License Agreement).  Press the ENTER key to display the EULA, and progress through until the end.  When prompted to accept the EULA, type Y and press the ENTER key (Figure 4).

Figure 4: Accepting the EULA.
After accepting the EULA, the installer asks where to install Packet Tracer, press the ENTER key to accept the default /opt/pt directory (Figure 5).

Figure 5: Choosing the installation directory.
Since the installation was performed by a regular user and not as root or superuser, the installer cannot install to the /opt directory.  The installer will prompt to install as root using sudo (Figure 6). Type Y then press the ENTER key and then type in your password and press the  ENTER key to continue with the installation.

Figure 6: Prompting for root access.
To complete the installation the installer will ask to create a symbolic link to the Packet Tracer executable in the /usr/local/bin directory (Figure 7).  This will allow you to run Packet Tracer using just the executable command (packettacer), rather than the full pathname to the executable (/opt/pt/packettarcer) .  Type Y then press the ENTER key to complete the installation.

Figure 7: Creating a symbolic link to Packet Tracer.
To run Packet Tracer as a detached process from the terminal, type packettracer & in a terminal window followed by the ENTER key (Figure 8).

Figure 8: Running Packet Tracer
Upon first run a dialog box will indicate the default directory where Packet Tracer files will be saved (Figure 9).  You can change this later in the preferences of the application. Click on the OK button.

Figure 9: Default save location.
When Packet Tracer is started, you have the option to log in to your Network Academy account to use the full features of Packet Tracer.  If you do not have an account, the second option is to use the Guest Login (Figure 10).

Figure 10: Network Academy login.

Now you can design and test your own network with Packet Tracer (Figure 11).

Figure 11: A running Packet Tracer


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