How to Add a Cisco Router to GNS3 VM (Virtual Machine)

This easy-to-follow guide will show you how to add a Cisco Router or Switch to your GNS3 VM (virtual machine), which is already installed and running on a virtualization program. Just follow the steps, and you’ll quickly and easily put the device you want into your virtual network. You’ll learn everything about setting up the device, making a network layout, and connecting it to other virtual devices.

Plus, the guide will give you tips and tricks for fixing any problems you might run into along the way. By the end, you’ll know exactly how to smoothly add a Cisco Router or Switch to your GNS3 virtual machine, and you’ll be able to do it easily in the future.

Adding Cisco Router to GNS3 VM

Credit: Cisco

Why Should We Use GNS3 VM to Run a Router or Switch?

GNS3 VM is a unique software that lets engineers create and try out complicated LAN setups using virtual network devices. It’s a place where users can plan, make, and test projects before using them in real situations.

If you use a GNS3 VM to run a Router or Switch, you can make and try out complex structures without needing to buy costly hardware. This saves you time and money and lets you try out various setups and situations. Also, with this, you can run multiple virtual machines together so that you can test out different setups all at once.

How to Run a Cisco Router in GNS3 Server

  1. If you’ve never set up a GNS3 VM with VMware on your computer before, watch a step-by-step video tutorial. This video will give you clear instructions and show you how to begin using VM and VMware.
  2. After you’ve finished installing the software, the first thing to do is add a router. This helps the software create a LAN connection and lets you use all the system’s features.
  3. To install a Router in your VM structure, start by getting the IOS image of the device you want. Once you have it, open GNS3 and the VM, and then you can add it to your network.
  4. To get to the preferences in GNS3, click on “File” at the top of the area, then select “Preferences” from the section that pops up. From there, you can adjust different options and settings to fit what you need.
  5. To turn on the VM, start by opening the Preferences window. Then, find and pick the VM option. Make sure to check the box that says “Enable GNS3 VM.” Lastly, click the OK button to keep your changes.
  6. The “Servers Summary” panel shows that the GNS3 virtual machine is working fine without any problems. All the essential tasks are running smoothly.
  7. To add a Cisco device to your LAN layout, start by going back to the Preferences menu. Then, find and click on the IOS Routers section. This is where you can add the device to your network diagram.
  8. To make a new IOS router template, find the “New” button and give it a click. This starts the process of creating a new template that you can change to fit what you need.
  9. In the Server Type window, select Run the IOS router on the GNS3-VM and click Next.
  10. In the IOS Image window, point to New Image and click Browse, select the Router’s image, and click Open.
  11. Enter the name of the device in Name and Platform and select the platform. (E.g. c3745, c7200)
  12. To set up the right amount of memory for the device, do this: Open the Memory window, pick how much memory you want from the options, and then click Next to move forward.
  13. To add interfaces to the appliance, go to the Network Adapters window. From there, choose the interfaces you want to add, then click “Next” to continue.
  14. In the WIC Modules window, specify the Serial Interface and continue with Next.
  15. In the Idle-PC window, you need to set a value on your PC to perform more efficiently. Click Idle-PC Finder and wait for your computer to place a value.
  16. Once you’ve set up the Idle-PC value for the networking device, click Finish.
  17. Finally, in the IOS Router Templates window, check that the Server type of the hardware you added is GNS3 Server.


To sum up, using a GNS3 VM to run a Cisco Router or Switch is an excellent option for engineers. It lets you make, test, and try out complex setups without buying expensive hardware. Just follow the simple guide in this article to add a Cisco appliance easily and start making and testing your projects.

Keep in mind that the GNS3 VM is a must-have tool for any engineer who wants to plan and test LAN setups before using them in real situations.

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