How to Install GNS3 VM on macOS/Mac

In this article, we will examine how to run and configure the GNS3 VM, which helps to prepare for Cisco exams more professionally in macOS 12 Monterey operating system on an Apple Mac computer.

How to Install GNS3 VM on macOS/Mac

How to Install GNS3 VM (Server) on macOS 12 Monterey

When you run a Cisco Router or Switch on GNS3, the performance of your computer is seriously reduced. Therefore, when you design more advanced network topologies, you may encounter performance problems as each device running will put an additional load on your host’s processor.

The main purpose of using a GNS3 VM is to minimize performance issues. When you add the Router IOS image after connecting the GNS3 and GNS3 VM, the image is uploaded to the server and run from there. As a result, you will be able to create more specific network designs and gain more performance gains.

Before you can use the GNS3 VM on your Mac, you must have a virtualization program installed on your computer. You can use VMware Fusion or Oracle VM VirtualBox to configure the GNS3 VM on your macOS system.


Before starting to configure the GNS3 VM, install the necessary programs from the links listed below.

  1. Install GNS3 on macOS
  2. Download Cisco IOS
  3. Install VMware Fusion on macOS

How to Download and Install GNS3 VM

By downloading the GNS3 VM.ova file from the GNS3 official website to your computer, you can easily import it with the virtualization program you have installed.

   Step 1

To download the GNS3 VM, visit this link and click “Download the GNS3 VM” at the bottom of the download page.

GNS3 VM Download

   Step 2

On the page where virtualization programs are listed, click the Download button next to VMware Workstation and Fusion.

VMware Workstation and Fusion

   Step 3

After downloading the archived GNS3 VM file to your Mac, go to Downloads and double click on it to extract the archived file to the folder.

Expanding Zip File

   Step 4

After extracting the zip file to the folder, the contents of the GNS3 VM folder will be as follows.

GNS3 VM.ovf

   Step 5

Open your VMware Fusion software and click File / Import from the tool menu.

Import Process in Fusion

   Step 6

In the Choose an Existing Virtual Machine window, click the Choose File button to specify the location of the OVF file.

Choose an Existing Virtual Machine

   Step 7

Go to Downloads and select the GNS3 VM.ovf file in the GNS3 VM folder and click Open.

Selecting the Ovf File

   Step 8

After adding the GNS3 VM, click Continue and allow the Fusion software to access the Downloads folder.

Granting Access to Downloads Folder

   Step 9

Specify the location of the GNS3 Server virtual machine and click Save.

Configuring the Location of the GNS3 Server

   Step 10

Wait while the GNS3 VM virtual machine is imported into Fusion.

Importing the Virtual Machine

   Step 11

After the import process is completed, you can see the information about the virtual machine in the Finish window. Click Customize Settings to make some changes in GNS3 Server.

Customize Settings

   Step 12

Click Advanced in the GNS3 Server settings.

Advanced Settings

   Step 13

Disable Side Channel Mitigations and change the Troubleshooting property to None to make the GNS3 server work better.

Disable Side Channel Mitigations and Troubleshooting

   Step 14

In the Processors and Memory settings, configure the RAM size and number of virtual cores according to the performance of your host computer.

Configuring Processor and Memory Size

   Step 15

Run the GNS3 VM virtual server.

Running the GNS3 Server

   Step 16

After the GNS3 VM is turned on, you can see the server version or virtualization platform information on the software’s screen. You can use the IP address to launch Web-Ui so that you can access the server from a web browser on your computer.

Viewing GNS3 Server Information

How to Connect GNS3 to GNS3 VM

You can connect to the server via Web-Ui and create your projects without integrating the GNS3 VM into your GNS3 software. However, we recommend that you use this method as it will be more efficient to connect to the server via GNS3.

   Step 1

Click Help / Setup Wizard from the GNS3 tool menu.

GNS3 Setup Wizard

   Step 2

Select Run appliances in a virtual machine in the setup wizard and click Next.

Run appliances in a virtual machine

   Step 3

Leave the GNS3 local server settings as default and click Next.

Local Server Configuration

   Step 4

After the connection to the local GNS3 server is successful, click Next again.

Local Server Status

   Step 5

To activate the GNS3 VM, select the program installed on your system for the Virtualization Software and click Next after changing the vCPU value and RAM size according to the hardware features of your host computer.

Choosing VMware for GNS3 VM

   Step 6

In the Servers Summary section, you can see that the GNS3 VM is started automatically. After checking the information in the GNS3 Virtual Machine summary window, click the Finish button.

Server Summary

How to Add a Cisco Router

After downloading a Cisco Router IOS image to your computer from the link in the requirements list, you can easily add it to your GNS3 server.

   Step 1

Click Preferences from the GNS3 tool menu to open the IOS image attachment wizard.

Opening GNS3 Preferences

   Step 2

In the New IOS Router Template window, select Run this IOS router on the GNS3 VM and click Next.

Run this IOS router on the GNS3 VM

   Step 3

In the IOS Image window, click Browse to specify the location of the IOS image you downloaded to your Mac.

Choosing the Location of the IOS Image

   Step 4

Go to the Downloads folder and select c7200-adventerprisek9-mz.152-4.M7.bin and open it.

Selecting c7200 iOS

   Step 5

Click Yes in the question asked to decompress the IOS image.

Decompress IOS Image

   Step 6

Wait while the Cisco Router IOS image is uploaded to GNS3 Server.

Uploading Router to Server

   Step 7

After copying the IOS image to the server, click Next again.

Checking IOS Image

   Step 8

You can change the name of the Router IOS image or edit its platform. If you add the same image again, do not forget to change the Router Name.

Editing IOS Image Name and Platform

   Step 9

You can increase the memory size according to the hardware features of your host so that the Router you have added will work more stable on your computer. The default memory size for the c7200 IOS image is 512 MB.

Configuring Router Memory Size

   Step 10

If you want to add a serial interface or gigabit interface to the Router you have added, you can add those interfaces to the empty slots in the network adapters window.

Adding Network Adapters

   Step 11

In order not to use 100% of your Mac’s processor, you need to set an Idle-PC value. The simulator software automatically determines this value according to your computer’s specifications.

Click the Idle-PC Finder button to find a suitable Idle-PC value for the Router c7200, and after the appropriate value is found, click Finish to close the window.

Finding Idle-PC Value

   Step 12

When you check the information of the image you added in the IOS Router Templates section, you can see that the Server value is GNS3 VM.

Viewing Router's Information

How to Create a New Project

After installing GNS3 VM on your macOS system and adding an IOS image to the server, you can test the Router device you added by creating a new project.

   Step 1

Configure the name and location of the project in the window that opens after clicking the New Project icon in GNS3.

Creating a New Project

   Step 2

After adding a c7200 Router to the project, select the GNS3 VM in the server selection window while adding the VPCS device.

Choosing a Server for VPCS

   Step 3

After running all devices, open the console by double-clicking on R1, and execute the commands below to assign the IP address to the interface connected to the VPCS.

R1# conf t
R1(config)# interface fastethernet 0/0
R1(config)# ip address
R1(config)# no shutdown

Giving an IP Address to the FastEthernet Interface

   Step 4

In order to assign an IP address to the VPCS device, execute the following command in the console window and check with the show ip command.

PC1> ip
PC1> show ip

Assigning an IP Address to a VPCS Device

   Step 5

You can see that the connection between the two devices is successful when you ping from R1 to VPCS.

Ping Between Router and VPCS


Installing Old Versions

YouTube Video
macOS Monterey (New)
macOS Mojave
macOS High Sierra


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