How to Install GNS3 VM on Mac

GNS3 is a tool lots of people use to make and test extensive networks. Getting it to work on macOS 12 Monterey can take time and effort. We’ll help you set up a GNS3 VM on your Mac with macOS 12 Monterey.

Just follow these steps, and you’ll be able to use it on your Mac without any problems. Then, you can start making and testing your network designs.

Running GNS3 VM on a Mac PC

Credit: macOS

Using GNS3 VM to Run Cisco Router and Switch IOS images on your PC

If you want to use specific Cisco Router and Switch IOS images on your computer, you can use the GNS3 VM (Virtual Machine). This is a virtual machine that works well with GNS3 and Cisco devices.

It can be set up in two ways: it can be part of the GNS3 program or used separately. It’s usually better to use it because it gives better performance for Cisco stuff.

You can download and install the GNS3 VM on your Mac. Also, it’s made to run the Graphical Network Simulator-3 and Cisco IOS images in a way that works really well. This means your Cisco devices run smoother, and you avoid problems that might happen if you try to run them on your computer’s regular operating system.

However, setting it up takes some work. You need to check if your PC can handle it and make sure you have the right software. Also, you’ll need to get the right IOS images for your Cisco devices and set them up to work with the emulator software.

Using it is a good idea if you want to use specific Cisco Router and Switch IOS images. It makes things run better and lets you build and test your network setups more easily.

Installing GNS3 VM in the Mac PC

There are two easy ways to get the GNS3 VM running on your Mac. You can look to watch our video tutorial or follow some simple instructions. Either method will help you set it up on your macOS so you can begin your networking projects.

  1. Before you start installing anything, install GNS3 on your Mac. This software helps you make pretend network setups and try out your settings. After you’ve got it, you’ll also need to install VMware Fusion. This software lets you pretend computers on your macOS, which is super essential for testing and using network setups.
  2. To get the VM, go to the official GNS3 website. Then, pick the option to download it made for VMware Workstation and Fusion. Once you’ve got the correct version, install it, and you’re ready to use the virtual machine.
  3. When you download the GNS3 VM for your Mac, it comes as a zip file. After it finishes downloading, go to your Downloads folder and double-click the zip file. This will unzip the contents and put them in a folder on your macOS.
  4. To bring in a file with VMware Fusion, first, open the app. Once it’s open, go to the “File” tab at the top of the screen. Then, pick “Import” from there.
  5. When you see the “Choose an existing virtual machine” screen, click on the “Choose File” button to add the VM.ovf file. Then, you can pick the file you want from your computer and add it to the list of virtual machines.
  6. To find the VM folder, open the Downloads folder on your macOS. When you see it, check what’s inside and look for the file that ends with “.ovf.” That’s the one you need to choose to continue.
  7. To keep going and bring in the virtual machine listed in Fusion, click on the ‘Continue’ button. Then, you’ll have to wait a bit for the process to finish up.
  8. After you bring in the GNS3 server, it’s a good idea to tweak its settings to make it work better. Go to the server’s settings and turn off the Side Channel Mitigations option in the Advanced section. Also, you can change the Troubleshooting value to None. These changes will help the server run faster and smoother, making your work better.
  9. To make your macOS work better, you should adjust the Processor and Memory settings. It would be best if you did this depending on how powerful your computer is. Just go to the Processor and Memory settings and pick values that match your computer’s capacity. This will help your Mac PC run smoothly.
  10. To begin using it, you first have to start the emulator software. Just follow the instructions that GNS3 gives you. Once the server is up and running, you can open it and start making your network setups.

Configuring GNS3 VM on a Mac PC

  1. To link GNS3 with GNS3 VM on Mac, click on the Help/Setup Wizard option. This will walk you through the steps needed to connect the two programs.
  2. To use your appliances in a virtual machine, tick the box for it in the Setup Wizard section. After that, make sure you don’t tweak anything in the local server setup. This will keep everything the same and prevent any problems.
  3. To set it up, pick VMware as the virtualization platform and choose the server you want from the VM Name. Then, adjust the vCPU Cores and RAM settings based on what you need. Once you’ve done that, both will connect on their own.
  4. To put Cisco Router IOS in the virtual server, go to Preferences and choose IOS Routers under Dynamips. In the New IOS Router Template, pick “Run this IOS Router on the GNS3 VM” in the Server Type section, then add the IOS image.


Getting a GNS3 VM on Mac & macOS 12 Monterey can help you realistically practice with Cisco devices. Just follow the easy steps we mentioned, and you’ll have a virtual network on your macOS in no time.

This VM platform allows you to use Cisco Router and Switch IOS images and link them to the simulator program or use them alone for better performance. With this setup, you can learn a ton about networking without spending a lot on equipment.

If you’re using the GNS3 VM to run Cisco Router and Switch IOS images on your Mac, you should learn how to clone a VM in VMware Fusion. Cloning can be helpful when you want to create multiple copies of your GNS3 server for testing or backup purposes. Taking a snapshot in VMware Fusion can be beneficial when you want to save the current state of your virtual server. Thus, you can revert to it later if needed.

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