How to Connect GNS3 to a Real Network

Written by nick grimes
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How to Connect GNS3 to a Real Network
Plug a real network into your GNS3 virtual network. (network image by Allyson Ricketts from

The Windows and Linux software Graphical Network Simulator 3 (GNS3) allows users to create virtual networks, both public and private, within a single computer or on multiple machines. This allows network engineers a great degree of control and testing capability over small or large networks. Virtual networks created in Connect GNS3 to physical networks over a LAN (Local Area Network) or the Internet using GNS3's Node Configurator panel.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Open the Control Panel from the Start menu of a computer connected to the network to where you wish to connect GNS3. Choose "Add Hardware." Select "I have already connected the hardware," then choose "Add a new hardware device." Select "Install the hardware manually" and click "Next."

  2. 2

    Select "Network adaptors," "Microsoft" and "Microsoft Loopback Adapter" in the next three drop-down menus and click "OK." Right-click "My Network Places" and choose "Properties." Click the newly-created "Local Area Connection" and rename it "Microsoft Loopback Adapter" then click "OK."

  3. 3

    Click the "New" button at the top left corner of the GNS3 interface to bring up the Node Configurator window. Drag the "My Computer" icon into the left pane of the window.

  4. 4

    Select "C0" and open the "NI0 Internet" tab. Click the top box and choose "Microsoft Loopback Adapter." Click "OK" to finish adding your network to GNS3.

Tips and warnings

  • If using GNS3 on Linux, there is an existing Loopback Adapter preset within the system files. Skip Steps 1 and 2 and add this adaptor to the "NI0 Internet" tab instead.

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