Good Routing Simulator/Practice Tool

Hi folks!

I am teaching a basic class in networking concepts. My class is doing very well overall, but is having difficulty understanding some of the concepts associated with routing and routers. Unfortunately, due to the particular setup we have in our lab, I don't have the particular equipment for them to really be able to interconnect two networks with a router and configure the routing between them.

I was wondering if anyone knew of a good, and hopefully freely available, simulator or practice tool that I could have them use, in lieu of actual networking hardware, to give them hands-on familiarity with the basics of routing.

Thanks,
Ithizar
IthizarAsked:
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woolmilkporcConnect With a Mentor Commented:
Here is a neat list of Network Simulation Software:

http://www.idsia.ch/~andrea/sim/simnet.html

If you're running Linux and are able to compile software by yourself I'd really recommend cnet.
http://www.csse.uwa.edu.au/cnet/

If you're using Windows GTNet might be an alternative.
http://www.ece.gatech.edu/research/labs/MANIACS/GTNetS/

There are many more. Please check the list!

wmp

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IthizarAuthor Commented:
Thanks for that! I will look through that list. Are there any you know, off the top of your head, that are more education-oriented (i.e. that give the user more of a guided practice than just a wide open simulator where you have to know exactly what you want to do)?

Thanks again,
Ithizar
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woolmilkporcCommented:
Many of these tools are meant for teaching. Guided practice? Not really, I think.
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Ernie BeekExpertCommented:
Have a look at GNS3: http://www.gns3.net/

For guided practice, perhaps Cisco's packet tracer. But I'm sure that's not free;)
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Fred MarshallPrincipalCommented:
It seems a bit odd that you don't just set up 2 or 3 commodity routers for simple teaching situations.  
What's the constraint to doing this?
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rfc1180Commented:
Simple teaching you can use Cisco's Packet Tracer application; as already mentioned, GNS3 can also be used (A bit to get it up and running), but to be honest, I would not use, I would think that you will be breaking copyright laws. The software is meant to run on specific Cisco Hardware, not simulated hardware.

Good Luck
Billy
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Ernie BeekExpertCommented:
Rfc1180 has got a point.......

You can also have a look on eBay, with a bit of luck you can find some routers fairly cheap there.
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Marius GunnerudSenior Systems EngineerCommented:
you can get PacketTracer for free and all the IOS images also, the problem is as rfc1180 mentioned are the copyright laws. All you really need is a 800 series router and a manageable L2 switch and you can perform a router on a stick setup.
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