Getting up and running with GNS3

GNS3 is a great tool for those of you who are looking at becoming a network engineer, sharpening your networking skills, or looking to advance your career with network certifications. I love it for all three of these reasons. I’m using it in a context of helping me get my CCNA as, admittedly, I never bothered to get it. Being a network admin, it’s a blemish on my resume. Getting up and running with GNS3 can be a little bit tricky with the newer versions so follow this post if you happen to run into any of these issues.

Items you need

  • GNS3 – download from here (login required; free account)
  • VMWare VIX API – download from here (login required; free account)
  • VMWare Player – download from here (login required; free account)
  • GNS3 VM image for your respective hypervisor – download here (no login)
  • Cisco IOS images – download from here (login required; active Cisco contract required)


The installation of GNS3 is pretty straight forward. Once GNS3 is installed is where you may encounter some issues.

The first issue you’ll probably encounter is an error that VMWare vmrun tool can’t be found. The URL in the error message will point you to the tool documentation, but the download link is difficult to find on the page. See the download link above to resolve this error.

If you receive this error (Error while save settings: GNS3VM: Error while executing VMware command: vmrun has returned an error: Error: Service type…), you have the wrong VIX installed. For some reason, 1.6.2 comes up a lot in the search results. This was released in 2008 but does not support VMWare Workstation Player 12. Use the link above to get the correct version.

This error may also occur if the VM isn’t started or was started and GNS3 was then updated. It’s a little tricky sometimes – you may have to restart GNS3. Use the Servers Summary to give you an idea. Both should be green for there to be no issues.

If you run into any issues, just let me know and I’ll do my best to help.

The Road-Warrior Admin

hotspot-wi-fi-Today’s admin needs to be versatile, ready to to hit the road at a moments notice. Maybe the office down the road is having issues, or maybe the office across the country. The point is, you are an admin and your office needs to literally be anywhere. However, in my adventures in being an admin the worst thing is when you absolutely need internet on your laptop but the only internet available is on your phone. Not very useful if you need to VPN into work and get some information off the network. Or if you have to download software as a fix, good luck! Here’s a quick and easy way to get internet on your computer from your phone.

Warning! Mobile carriers hate this because they’re not sucking more money out of you, like data caps, to enable the hotspot feature on your phone. And, speaking of data caps, if you do have a data cap this will count against your cap. If you have a carrier with true unlimited or “unlimited” (lookin’ at you, T-Mobile), this is great emergency internet to download larger files such as an IOS image, drivers, or what have you. As of course, your mileage may vary. This is also for fairly technical people so if you’re not a techie, best to skip out. And, please, FILE A COMPLAINT WITH THE FCC ABOUT DATA CAPS!

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