Emulated Ethernet Switch Functionality: GNS3 Lab Configuration
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Now that the basics have been covered for the set up of GNS3 in the previous articles it is time to take a look at how to use its capabilities to emulate a real environment. This article will take a look at the configuration of GNS3 using a emulated Ethernet switch.
GNS3 Ethernet Switch Capabilities
The Ethernet switch that will be used by GNS3 is part of the Dynagen package that is used by GNS3 to emulate routers. While not the equivalent to a Cisco Catalyst switch it can be configured in a number of different ways that allow support for most common scenarios. Some of these capabilities include the ability to perform Ethernet Switching (if that wasn't obvious), as well as support for access VLANS, 802.1Q tagged VLANs and QinQ (Stacked) VLANs. Other than direct management, these are the features that make up a basic managed switch.
GNS Lab Configuration
The configuration of a lab that utilizes the emulated Ethernet switch functionality is rather simple once the configuration of the individual devices has been completed. The following figures will walk through the setup of a basic GNS3 lab using three routers and a single Ethernet switch with default settings that include all devices on the same VLAN (1).
Figure 1 shows the beginning configuration of the lab by dragging each of the devices from the Nodes Types pane to the Map pane.
Figure 1 - Beginning Map Configuration
For this example, three different routers will be used, each of which have been dragged to the Map pane and configured with 2 Fast Ethernet interfaces.
Figure 2 - Completed Router Map Configuration
The next figure shows the configuration of a Ethernet switch that has been dragged over to the Map pane. For this example the default configuration will be used but it is important to know where the different options could be configured if needed.
Figure 3 - Configuring a GNS3/Dynagen Ethernet Switch
To configure these options Right-Click the switch and select the Configure menu option. Once this has been done the screen shown in Figure 4 will be displayed. From here you will select the Ethernet switch name from the left pane.
Figure 4 - Ethernet Switch Node Configuration Screen
From the next screen shown in Figure 5 the user can configure the Ethernet switch based on the requirements of the specific lab. By default, there are 8 different switchports that will be available that are all configured as access VLAN ports on VLAN 1. From this screen any specific switchport configuration could be completed, setting up additional links between Map pane devices.
Figure 5 - Ethernet Switch Switchport Configuration
Now that both the routers and the switch have been configured it is time to configure the links between the devices and the Ethernet switch. To do this select the Add a Link button shown in Figure 6.
Figure 6 - Add a Link
The next few figures show the configuration of the links between the routers and the Ethernet switch (Note: These figures utilize GNS3's manual link mode available under Preferences).
Figure 7 - Connecting R1
Figure 8 - To SW2
Figure 9 - Connecting R2
Figure 10 - To SW2
Figure 11 - Connecting R3
Figure 12 - To SW2
Once all of the links have been configured, exit the Add a Link mode as shown in Figure 13.
Figure 13 - Exit Add a Link Mode
At this point the lab is ready to be started, which is shown in Figure 14. Once all of the devices are up and running each of the routers can be configured the same as they would if there were three physical routers connected to a physical Ethernet switch.
Figure 14 - Completed and Running Emulation
All things being equal, the configuration of GNS3 is rather simple once the basics are covered and the student has a couple different lab configurations under their belt. The Ethernet switch functionality of GNS3/Dynagen is very simple and straight forward but it is limited and this should be considered when planning the lab topology. Hopefully the content of this article will enable the reader/student the ability to get GNS3 up and running and configured in the scenario being tested quickly and without much delay. This way time can be be spent on learning the networking system and not GNS3.