Month: October 2015


So what do my little pal and my computer have in common? GNS3

That’s right, my reptilian friend can program your 2960! That’s a lie, and it’s wrong of me to do so. Actually, the only connection is that Sandwich (my 3 year old son picked his name) is the shade-shifting species of lizard on the GNS3 logo. This post, however, is not about my chameleon, though he is awesome.

GNS3 is awesome-er….maybe. So, I’m taking my first Cisco cert test in three weeks and spending a lot of time in Packet Tracer. Huh, no “|” pipe. Huh, ##### command isn’t available. Geezuz, this white prompt is making my eyes bleed.

Enter GNS3. Now it can’t do everything (no switch image support), and I’m not technically competent enough to tell you how it works, but if you have an image for an IOS router, you might as well have the real thing. Simply load up your legally obtained images and build the topology. I’ve also read around that you can emulate Cisco switches via a VM over linux, and supposedly there’s a way to map your switch of preference onto the topology as well.


Packet Tracer GNS3
Requires Cisco Academy Requires access to images
Many Devices, Limited Functionality Functionality per image specs
Strongest in Switching Strongest in Routing
Did I mention no pipe | ??? Has Chameleon
Built in Ugly-ass Command tool Putty!
Handles complex topology very well Topology complexity burdens your PC

So, a lot of this is opinion and personal experience, so take with a heap of salt. Which one should you use? Both. Both GNS3 and Packet Tracer have really cool features, and both will require a sprinkling of unicorn tears at some point. Cisco really needs to step up their game in this arena, as the biggest drawback to both is Cisco’s fault. Images for GNS3 must beĀ  acquired; Packet Tracer is only available to Cisco Academy students. Cisco sells books at (enter bookstore), so why not either give out PT for free (yeah, right) or allow it to be free trial/paid. Let’s face it, we are tech people. If you lock us out, we may very well break the lock. Cisco’s attempts to lock out those who want to learn from PT and images, without spending $3,000 on a class, is one of the best running jokes in networking. On the other hand, we buy the books and guides because it feels good to do so. Why not sell training images and PT subscriptions? Almost every engineer I’ve met is self-taught anyways.

*Don’t tell me how you get your IOS images or packet tracer.

I don’t want to know.

Plausible Deniability.

Offer Accepted

I haven’t touched a video game in months and I’ve shied away from TV as much as I could bare. In exchange for my creature comforts like EVE Online, Netflix, and Minecraft I’ve spent my time with Comptia, Cisco, and programming books or at my internship in the NOC of an ISP services contractor. Now it’s starting to pay off. Last week I sat down with a medium-sized business, as well as Hewlett Packard, and an ISP. Last Friday, while watching a colleague at my internship config a CMTS, I heard my phone ring of email in my pocket. I’m already expectant thanks to the “We’ll be contacting the applicants on Friday with an answer,” so I whip out my phone and rip open my email.

“Steve, We would like to make you and offer of employment..”

WOOO! So I was very hopeful about this job. It’s the aforementioned medium-sized business and they have a very serious growth potential. The position is IT Helpdesk and it’s a detour a bit outside of my experience and studies, but the way I see it it’s going to be a great learning experience. I emailed the company back very politely requesting a deferral of response, as my Grandfather had just been rushed to the hospital ICU and is still not doing well, but as of two days ago I did accept the offer. They are running my background and references as I write and, assuming they do not find anything they don’t like, I start this Monday.

I’m Stoked.