Cisco Packet Tracer
Frequently Asked Questions

What is Cisco® Packet Tracer?

Cisco Packet Tracer is a comprehensive networking technology teaching and learning tool that offers a unique combination of realistic simulation and visualization experiences, assessment, activity authoring capabilities, and multiuser collaboration and competition opportunities. Innovative features of Packet Tracer will help students and teachers collaborate, solve problems, and learn concepts in an engaging and dynamic social environment.

What are the benefits of Packet Tracer?

  • Provides a realistic simulation and visualization learning environment that supplements classroom equipment, including the ability to see internal processes in real-time that are normally hidden on real devices
  • Enables multi-user, real-time collaboration and competition for dynamic learning
  • Enables authoring and localization of structured learning activities such as labs, demonstrations, quizzes, exams, and games
  • Empowers students to explore concepts, conduct experiments, and test their understanding of network building
  • Allows students and teachers to design, build, configure, and troubleshoot complex networks using virtual equipment
  • Supports a variety of teaching and learning opportunities such as lectures, group, and individual labs, homework, games, and competitions
  • Supports feature expansion through external applications using an API to enhance Cisco Packet Tracer's functionality in areas such as curriculum and assessment delivery, games, accessibility, and interfacing with real equipment.

How can I obtain Cisco Packet Tracer?

Please ask your instructor or sign up for the free Getting Started with Cisco Packet Tracer course on to learn how to download, install, and get started!

What’s new in Packet Tracer 8.1?

Cisco Packet Tracer 8.1 enables Packet Tracer Tutored Activities (PTTA), a new type of activity that provides hints to the learner along the way if they want them. Packet Tracer Tutored Activities (PTTA) are designed to provide a more personalized and equitable learning experience. In addition, Cisco Packet Tracer 8.1 includes bug fixes and improvements on accessibility, usability, and security.

Version 8.1 is built upon Cisco Packet Tracer 8.0. Version 8.0 was a major release featuring two exciting new updates:

  • The Enhanced Physical Mode brings you into the virtual lab for a realistic experience of cabling devices on the rack. Reinforce critical skills such as device placement (Rack & Stack), switching on-device power, device port-to-port cabling (including cable choice and management), troubleshooting, and more.
  • A Network Controller, similar to existing real-world SDN Controllers like Cisco DNA Center and APIC-EM. You can practice a centralized network management approach using the Network Controller model. The Network Controller, managed using its Web GUI or using its APIs, gives you a centralized dashboard to view the network’s state, quickly identify & troubleshoot issues, and push configuration changes to all managed devices at once You can also access the Network Controller from real-world applications running on your computer, like a browser, Python, or Postman, to execute your own infrastructure automation scripts.

On what platforms can I install and run Packet Tracer 8.1?

Cisco Packet Tracer 8.1 is compatible with the following platforms:

  • Microsoft Windows 8.1, 10, 11 (32 bit and 64bit)
  • Ubuntu 20.04 LTS (64bit)
  • macOS 10.14 or newer (64 bit)

What are the system requirements for Packet Tracer 8.1?

To successfully install and run Cisco Packet Tracer 8.1, the following system requirements must be met:

Cisco Packet Tracer 8.1 (64 bit):

  • Computer with one of the following operating systems: Microsoft Windows 8.1, 10, 11 (64bit), Ubuntu 20.04 LTS (64bit) or macOS 10.14 or newer.
  • amd64(x86-64) CPU
  • 4GB of free RAM
  • 1.4 GB of free disk space

Cisco Packet Tracer 8.1 (32 bit):

  • Computer with one of the following operating systems: Microsoft Windows 8.1, 10, 11 (32bit)
  • x86 compatible CPU
  • 2GB of free RAM
  • 1.4 GB of free disk space

What if I do not have a Cisco Networking Academy account?

The latest version of Cisco Packet Tracer requires user authentication. A or a account is required to sign in when you launch Cisco Packet Tracer.

Please ask your instructor for a account or enroll for free in the Getting Started with Cisco Packet Tracer course on for full access to Packet Tracer.

Are older versions of Packet Tracer still available?

You are strongly encouraged to upgrade to the latest version of Cisco Packet Tracer to take advantage of new features, security improvements and bug fixes. But for compatibility with CCNA 6 and IoT course activities, Cisco Packet Tracer 7.2.2 will continue to be available for download on the download page.

More FAQs