How to Add Layer 2 Switch in GNS3

Adding a Switch to GNS3 is a very simple process. After adding a Switch, you can study more specifically for the Cisco Switching exams.

How to Add Layer 2 Switch in GNS3

How to Use Layer 2 Switch on GNS3

After installing GNS3 on your computer, network devices such as Cisco Switch or Router are not installed by default. So you have to configure these devices manually.

For example, if you want to install Layer 2 Switch on GNS3, you must first get the IOS image. Then, you must add it from the QEMU section of the program.

If you’re preparing for Cisco exams, you’ll need to add and use L2 Switches to gain experience in Switching.

When configuring an Layer 2 Switch, you may not be able to use all the features that physical Switches provide because some IOS images do not support all features.

For example, some of the actions you can configure after adding a vIOS Switch image; VLAN, VTP, STP configurations.

How to Add and Configure L2 Switch in GNS3

First, click the button below to download the image of Switch (vIOS-L2.vmdk).

Download vIOS-L2

   Step 1

After downloading the Switch IOS file, run the GNS3 program, and then click Edit.

GNS3 / Edit

   Step 2

From the Edit menu, click Preferences.

GNS3 / Edit / Preferences

   Step 3

In the General Preferences window, click Qemu VMs under the QEMU tab.

Qemu VMs

   Step 4

In the Qemu VM Templates, click the New button.

Qemu VMs / New

   Step 5

In the Qemu VM name window, type a name for the Layer 2 Switch.

Qemu VM Name

   Step 6

In the Qemu binary and memory window, if your operating system is 64 Bit, select the option in the image below.

Qemu Binary

   Step 7

Also, set the RAM amount of the Switch in this window and click Next.

Setting the RAM for the L2 Switch

   Step 8

Select New Image and click the Browse button.

Selecting an Image File

   Step 9

In the window that opens, select the downloaded vIOS-L2.vmdk file and click the Open button.


   Step 10

Click Yes to copy the image file you want to add to the default location.

Confirm Default Location

   Step 11

After determining the image position, click the Finish button.

Locating IOS

   Step 12

In the Qemu VM Templates window, you can see that the Layer 2 Switch has installed successfully.

QEMU VM Templates

   Step 13

Right-click on the Layer 2 Switch from the Devices section.

Configuring Layer 2 Switch

   Step 14

Click Configure template.

Configure Template

   Step 15

In the Layer 2 Switch configuration window, select the Switches group from Category.

Category / End Devices

   Step 16

Click Browse to change the Layer 2 Switch symbol.

Category / Switches

   Step 17

You can select a symbol as in the image below.


   Step 18

After changing the symbol of the switch, click the OK button to save your settings.

Closing Switch Settings

   Step 19

Drag and drop Layer 2 Switch into the workspace.

Add Switch to Workspace

   Step 20

To add the Interface to the Switch, click on the Right-Click / Configure button.

SW Configuration

   Step 21

From the Network tab, you can add interfaces to the Switch.

L2 Switch / Network Settings

   Step 22

Double-click on the switch to open the CLI command prompt, and use the show vlan brief command to check if the device is working.

show vlan brief

“show vlan” Command Output

vIOS-L2-01#show vlan

VLAN Name Status Ports
---- -------------------------------- --------- -------------------------------
1 default active Gi0/0, Gi0/1, Gi0/2
100 VLAN100 active
200 VLAN0200 active
300 VLAN0300 active
1002 fddi-default act/unsup
1003 trcrf-default act/unsup
1004 fddinet-default act/unsup
1005 trbrf-default act/unsup

VLAN Type SAID MTU Parent RingNo BridgeNo Stp BrdgMode Trans1 Trans2
---- ----- ---------- ----- ------ ------ -------- ---- -------- ------ ------
1 enet 100001 1500 - - - - - 0 0
100 enet 100100 1500 - - - - - 0 0
200 enet 100200 1500 - - - - - 0 0
300 enet 100300 1500 - - - - - 0 0
1002 fddi 101002 1500 - - - - - 0 0
1003 trcrf 101003 4472 1005 3276 - - srb 0 0
1004 fdnet 101004 1500 - - - ieee - 0 0
1005 trbrf 101005 4472 - - 15 ibm - 0 0
---- ------- ------- ----------
1003 7 7 off

Primary Secondary Type Ports
------- --------- ----------------- ------------------------------------------



How to Configure Layer 2 Switch ⇒ Video

After setting up L2 Switch to the network simulator, you can watch the video below to configure some basic configurations and also subscribe to our YouTube channel to support us!

   Final Word

In this article, we added and configured the L2 IOS image on the Graphical Network Simulator-3 to prepare for the Cisco Switching exams. In the following articles, we will examine how to configure VLANs with L2 Switch. Thanks for following us!

   Related Articles

♦ How to Install Cisco IOS in GNS3
♦ How to Configure Cisco Router
♦ How to Configure Telnet in Router
How to Configure SSH in Router
♦ How to Install SDM Express

  1. Manfarre 30 October 2017

    funciono correctamente thanks so much

    • tolqabaqci 31 October 2017

      I’m glad to hear that. Thanks for your comment!

  2. Amez 14 November 2017

    Thanks so much! This whole website is so helpful!

    • tolqabaqci 14 November 2017

      You’re welcome. Also, thanks for your comment!

  3. Stanna448 18 November 2017

    Thanks man 🙂

    • tolqabaqci 21 November 2017

      You’re welcome. Also, thanks for your comment!

  4. Mark 18 November 2017

    Helo there, thanks for the ariticle and the video, I tried all u explained,did it exactly and it didn’t work for me. am using VMware and I downloaded the gns3vm for VMware. so if there is another way to make the switches work I will higly appreciate it

    • tolqabaqci 21 November 2017


      After adding vIOS-L2 IOS image, increase the RAM amount of L2 Switch.

  5. Akbar 26 December 2017

    Dear Sir
    Thank you for this excellent work. I really appreciate your efforts and supports available on this website. I followed your instructions to add layer-2-Switch and it worked perfect. There is one small problem. I build a small network in GNS3 with a PC+ Switch+Router. I configure all the three devices and I save the all the configuration. I closed my GNS3 and after sometimes I opened the same file again. I checked the router configuration it was ok. but the configuration from Switch was not there. I checked the console it reload the VLOS-L2 IOS image again and i have to reconfigure the switch. so is there any way that switch keep the configuration!!!

    I hope to hear back from you. sorry for lang story.


    • tolqabaqci 28 December 2017

      Thank you very much for your good comment. I will write an article for this problem and link to you.

  6. Patrice 28 February 2018

    I followed your tutorial to install the Layer 2 switch but I got stuck at the step 13.
    I can see my L2 switch on the Qemu VM templates but it doesn’t appear on my devices list on the left windows of GNS3.

    Do you have a hint?


  7. Keshoji 4 January 2019

    Wonderful! Thank you.

    • tolqabaqci 4 January 2019

      Thank you, thank you for your comment.

  8. 21 January 2019

    Wonderful, what a website it is! This webpage gives valuable data to us, keep it up.

  9. Luis Franco 3 May 2019

    You are a rock star!

    • tolqabaqci 3 May 2019

      Thanks for your comment 🙂

  10. NUMAN 9 July 2019

    hi buddy,

    i just installed the vIOS-L2.rar file on GNS3, the install went ok no errors but the IOS isn’t loading when i console in.


    • tolqabaqci 10 July 2019

      Can you try increasing the RAM of the Switch?

  11. Gustavo 10 July 2019


    Everything fine. The only problem is, no mater how many interfaces I configure, the switch only has one single interface.

    • tolqabaqci 10 July 2019

      Interesting I’ve never encountered such a problem before. Are you sure you have saved your settings? Also, what version of GNS3 are you using?

  12. Osama 22 July 2019

    Thank you, but this isn’t really an L2 switch. I tried to configure the router protocol using it, and it recognized the command.

    • tolqabaqci 23 July 2019

      Yes, you are right! But this is the only ios image file that we can use for free.

  13. RAFID ABBAS 24 October 2019

    I need image iOS gns3 switch layer2. Please

  14. Jason Willis 29 March 2020

    Very helpful. Thank you

  15. Maria RZP 17 April 2020

    thank you so much

  16. luciferdac 19 April 2020

    have install it but only ethernet0 ports are being shown no ethernet 0/0 port neither the giagabit ports shown

  17. JayDee 4 July 2021

    Whenever I add the RAR file downloaded from your link, it installs fine as a Qemu VM. However, when I start the device it states that there is ”no bootable device”. Do you know why this might be? I’m running GNS3 version 2.2.22.


    • Tolga Bagci 5 July 2021

      Have you tried increasing the RAM of the VM? If you haven’t, increase the RAM size. Also, download the image file again, maybe it was downloaded incorrectly.

    • F4r3ll 31 July 2021

      The problem is according to you, you uploaded the RAR File.
      Unzip the RAR File and pick the “vIOS-L2.vmdk” file
      that is the file that is going to run

  18. Eslam 1 August 2021

    Hello ,

    I followed all steps , but in step #22 , i can’t access SW & SW still is power off despite i power it on & there is a message appears ” HAXM acceleration support is not installed on this host ”
    Note : i increase RAM , but no use.

    Thanks in advance.

  19. Eslam 2 August 2021

    The IOS Image working with me , but only on one Switch , when i connect another Switch , this switch not working and stacks in ” GNU GRUB version 2.00 ” , Anyone can solve this issue , Please ?

    Note : i increase RAM , but no use.

  20. Rakesh 10 May 2022

    for me its showing like this in switch console
    GNU GRUB version 2.00

    |IOSv: flash0:vios_l2-adventerprisek9-m (hd0,msdos1) |
    | |
    | |
    | |
    | |
    | |
    | |
    | |
    | |
    | |
    | |

    Use the ^ and v keys to select which entry is highlighted.
    Press enter to boot the selected OS, `e’ to edit the commands
    before booting or `c’ for a command-line. ESC to return
    previous menu.
    Booted IOSv. Boot args: [/vios_l2-adventerprisek9-m]

    Smart Init is enabled

    Not enough memory in the system for IO memory
    IO memory available 137961004 required 227540992

    Memory configuration adjustment:
    Image size=108784400, PMem req=163176600, I/O mem=137961004, PMem avail=135980500

    IOMEM size chosen (137961004) did not fit in memory (273941504 bytes). Trying again with a smaller IOMEM.

    IOMEM size: 68980502 bytes

    %Software-forced reload

    *Mar 1 00:00:00.000
    Request to return (to ROMMON); not supported, reload.

    *Mar 1 00:00:00.000

    • Tolga Bagci 11 May 2022

      Hello. Can you try increasing the RAM size of the Switch?

  21. Gene Kessinger 8 December 2022

    Hello Tolga,
    This may be on a different question but i work with Cisco 9000 series Switches/Routers and i want to import them into GNS3 to give a more realistic environment. How and if i can how would i? is their some documentation on how i would available?

  22. Dragos Neagu 25 February 2023

    Hello Tolga,
    The download button doesn’t work anymore. It redirects me

    • Tolga Bagci 26 February 2023

      Hi, I checked the link is working.

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