As an entrepreneur or business leader, you already have many responsibilities: you have to manage the budget, manage, and plan for growth. When your business is small and just starting out, that last task is even more important – especially considering you have fewer employees to help guide your decisions. When your plans veer into technology, and you still lack a qualified technology professional on your staff, you should try to get as much information as possible.
Technology forms the backbone of modern businesses, and without an efficient network, employees cannot be as productive as they could be. As a business leader, you must make decisions regarding your computer network ― but unless you have a background in technology, you may find this task nearly impossible. Fortunately, there are several programs to help you learn the basics of networking without having to fiddle with the existing setup. It’s time you get to know the GNS3 software.
What is GNS3?
In the simplest terms, GNS3 is a free, open source network simulation software. Anyone can download and use it; actually, you can access it here or some other reliable software download sites, including CNET and SourceForge.
GNS3 emulates a real network by running a Cisco internetworking operating system (IOS) image in an emulation program, creating a graphical user interface (GUI). However, instead of using a GUI to help users manipulate native network components, GNS3 starts and ends in its GUI. However, using this program, you can build very complex labs, integrate Cisco routers, and learn network systems to improve your business.
More specifically, GNS3 relies on a series of individual programs to generate the emulation and simulation required for network practice:
- Dynamics does a lot of the heavy lifting, emulating a Cisco router using your Cisco IOS.
- Qemu emulates a variety of operating systems, including Cisco ASA, PIX, and IDS as well as Windows and Linux.
- Virtual Computer Simulator does not emulate a machine, like the program above, but provides network commands like Windows or Linux programs.
- Putty is telnet, which allows one computer to log into another ― a critical step in networking.
- WinPcap provides the ability to send and receive packets through simulation.
- Wireshark allows you to peek inside packets in transit to ensure that they are following the correct protocol.
There are several benefits of using GNS3 over fiddling with live networks. From a business perspective, you can experiment with complex configurations without investing in expensive network hardware. Also, you can sample different network vendors without committing to their services. On the other hand, from a technical point of view, creating a simulated network map saves time and energy in proving that a production network will work.
Who Uses GNS3?
In terms of professionals, anyone interested in building their own network solution can benefit from playing around in GNS3 first, so business leaders as well as aspiring tech workers tend to tinker with the software before building their network with truly. Learning how to use GNS3 software a bit difficult, but not impossible given the already familiar with the concept of technology.
Large corporations and startups alike benefit from employees using the program. In fact, GNS3 is proudly used by a host of well-known organizations, including:
- German bank
GNS3 users span some of the largest and smallest companies around the world, and as the list above proves, they are not limited to the tech industry – or any other industry, for that matter. Therefore, whatever your business, you should consider getting to know the software.
Moved from GNS3
Once you can use GNS3 to produce a network that functions the way your business needs, you are one step closer to mastering the art and science of network engineering. The skills you learn from GNS3 will continue to be invaluable, as your business will grow and change, requiring changes to your network.
Competence with GNS3 is also important for those who want it pursuing network engineering as a career. Various technology certification exams test aspiring networkers for their configuration capabilities, and GNS3 provides those critical skills. Even graduates of computer science programs teach networking concepts using GNS3, so understanding the software beforehand can provide a useful edge in education and careers.