Cisco Packet Tracer Setup Guide
The Cisco Packet Tracer software allows you to simulate some of the lab equipment (routers, switches, PCs, servers) away from the lab environment. It is not a substitute for working on real equipment and it does not always respond or work exactly like the real equipment so it's important that you do your labs and practice on real equipment.
Packet Tracer is also used in some of the online assessments in the Cisco Networking Academy courses and you will need to have it installed for those exams. Please make sure you have installed and tested the Packet Tracer software as described below before taking the assessments.
Downloading Cisco Packet Tracer requires a Cisco NetSpace login. Once logged in to NetSpace you can find the download by clicking the "Offerings" link and then selecting "Packet Tracer" or by clicking this link. Versions of PT are available for Windows and Linux. If you are using a Mac you will need to create a Windows or Linux virtual machine to install PT. Limited versions of PT are also available for Android and iOS from their respective app stores. Note that the mobile versions will not work for PT Assessment Activities and have some limited functionality.
Packet Tracer Assessment Activities
Packet Tracer is also used in some of the online assessments in the Cisco Networking Academy courses and you will need to have it installed for those exams. There are a few other pieces of software you need installed to make this work correctly and some tips for testing and troubleshooting your setup. Please do this before attempting an actual assessment.
Installing Packet Tracer and Configuring for Assessment Activities
To have Packet Tracer activities launch without issue, the following software must be installed and configured on your computer:
- Cisco Packet Tracer. We recommend downloading the latest version of Packet Tracer as courses are designed and tested only with the latest version. Packet Tracer can be found by logging in to the NetAcad site and scrolling down to the bottom of the page to the "Resources" section.
- Note: If you have just installed Packet Tracer you will need to reboot your computer before completing a PT Practice SBA.
- Java Runtime Environment (JRE) 7 or higher - You can download and install the latest version of Java from java.com.
- All ports on the PC between 39000 and 39009 must be open for localhost access.
- All browsers on the computer must have the ".jnlp" filetype associated with the Java Web Start Launcher program.
- Note: This association may be automatically created in IE and Chrome. This mostly applies to Firefox and other OSes. In Firefox – Click on the Firefox Menu -> Options -> Applications. More details
Testing and Launching a PT Assessment Activity
When a PT exam is launched, a small file will be downloaded which you will almost certainly need to manually click in order to launch the assessment. This file has a '.JNLP' extension and is should be associated with the JRE (Java) on the local computer. Chrome may not automatically recognize the file association. If that is the case, clicking the JNLP file from the Downloads folder or from the Chrome Download Bar will launch the assessment.
The JNLP file is unique to the assessment and cannot be reused, even to continue an assessment that was previously started and left.
Use the PT Environment checker to verify that your system is ready to launch Packet Tracer activities. To access the Perform Packet Tracer Skills Assessment Environment Check, please follow the steps provided below:
- Log in to Cisco NetSpace.
- From the Cisco NetSpace home page, click the desired course link found under the 'Learn' tab.
- From the course home page, click on the link 'Student Resources' located below the 'Launch Course' link.
- Click on the 'Perform Packet Tracer Skills Assessment Environment Check'.
Alternatively you can launch the Packet Tracer Skills Assessment Environment Check directly.
Note that the environment check does take a few minutes to complete.
The steps for launching a PT assessment are:
- Click the link to start the Assessment in NetAcad
- A JNLP file is downloaded to your computer
- Click on the JNLP file to open it, make sure to open it with Java or Java Web Start not Packet Tracer
- Java will load, you may get a security warning to click on
- Java will eventually start the Packet Tracer Software, this can take some time
- The assessment activity should open in Packet Tracer
Troubleshooting Packet Tracer Assessment Activities
- Make sure that you have the latest version of Java and of Packet Tracer installed
- Make sure that you are getting the JNLP file downloaded when you click to start the assessment
- Make sure that you are opening the JNLP file (by clicking on it in your browser or by finding the location it is downloaded on your computer and double clicking on it)
- Make sure that the program you are opening the JNLP file with is Java or Java Web Start not Packet Tracer
- You may have to click a Java security warning window after opening the JNLP file
- After a few minutes Java should automatically launch the Packet Tracer software and load the assessment activity
Still Having Problems?
If you're still having problems after all of this it's suggested that you get the newest version of Packet Tracer (7.2.1 at the time of writing) and then launch your exam from inside of Packet Tracer itself.
- To do this go to the Extensions menu at the top of PT and select Take PTSA.
- A new window, the "Netacad Exam Player" will open underneath Packet Tracer (click on the icon on the taskbar to get to it).
- Log on to Netacad inside of the "Netacad Exam Player" window and navigate to the exam you wish to take.
- Start and complete the exam inside of "Netacad Exam Player" which should allow for the PT portion to launch and run correctly.