A network simulator provides a virtual environment, wherein, a user creates computer network using networking components such as routers, firewalls, and switches. The network simulates a physical network in many ways enabling the user to gain experience in design and implementation of computer networks for an organization. Since the physical hardware is not required in virtual network, one need not buy any physical hardware.
Some advantages of using network simulation software over actual physical equipment in a lab environment are given below:
Advantages of Software based Network Simulator:
- Provides hands-on experience without having to purchase real hardware, thus saving money and time.
- New hardware may be simulated, and obsolete hardware may be removed from the library easily. It would be very expensive in case of physical network environment.
- Multiple copies of software may be made available, thus enabling several users to practice on the virtual network at the same time, without obstructing other users.
- It is practically not recommended to have multiple copies of the hardware, as it would result in the requirement of greater space and very expensive.
- Network components from different vendors (such as Cisco, Juniper, and HP) may be provided in the same virtual lab environment.
- In-line help and sample labs could be provided
- Virtual labs may be set up in no time, where as a physical lab environment takes time to order, procure and set up.
Advantages of Physical Labs:
- One of the major set backs of simulated lab environment is that the full functionality of the device is not available, though majority of the features are made available.
- The experience with the use of interface connectors and cables in physical lab environment ensures that a user is sufficiently trained in identifying and using different cables and connectors. When you configure virtual lab, you don’t have the physical contact with the hardware.
- Simulator are usually good for learning purpose. In most cases you can’t export the configurations to a field network. It is possible in physical lab environment to save and export device configurations to the field unit.
Network simulators available:
CertExams.com CCNA Netsim: The software enables a user to design and experiment with various virtual networking elements such as routers and switches. A lab manual is available with the software that ensures that the candidate has enough practical experience before attempting his/her own labs.
CertExams.com Juniper Netsim: The Juniper netsim is similar to that of CCNA netsim except that the networking components supported are Juniper routers and switches. Most of the labs available are present in both CCNA netsim and Juniper netsim.
CertExams.com Switch Sim: The Switchsim software provides a virtual environment where a user can design and practice a network with Cisco/Juniper switches. CCNA Netsim and Juniper Netsim work in homogeneous environment where as Switch sim provides both Cisco and Juniper simulators.