Packet Tracer Network Simulator (2014)
Chapter 11. Creating Packet Tracer Assessments
We've finally arrived at the final chapter of this book. So far, we've been using Packet Tracer to learn things ourselves, but in this chapter, we will create assessments with Packet Tracer to test how much other people have learned. In addition to being a simulator, Packet Tracer combines the feature of an assessment tool with a lot of potential. Creating an assessment is as easy as creating an initial network or creating an answer network (or rather, a final network).
The Activity Wizard guides you through the creation of an assessment. It is made accessible by navigating to Extensions | Activity Wizard, or by pressing Alt + W. In this chapter, we'll create a simple assessment with a PC, router, switch, and a server, and configure a simple Access Control List (ACL).
The welcome screen and instructions
The Welcome screen allows you to enter Author Information (author name and comments). The Instructions section is where you enter questionsand objectives for the user to see. This section uses HTML syntax to format the instructions. A set of supported tags are listed in Packet Tracer's help file.
This is an example of using HTML ordered lists with the <ol> and <li> tags.
The initial network
The following figure is what the examinee will see when the assessment file is opened. Clicking on the Show Initial Network option will take you to the logical workspace, from where you'll have to add devices. We will only add the devices shown here, and not connect them or assign IP addresses to them.
We'll open the CLI tab of the router, change the hostname, and set an enabled password by entering the following commands:
R1(config)#enable secret cisco
We'll stop the creation of the initial network here. Click on the wizard hat and wand icon on the bottom-left corner to return to the wizard. Save this topology by clicking on Export Initial Network to File; we'll be using this file on the answer network.
Now, we will choose features that will be locked in the main interface, so that users do not take help from the several tools of Packet Tracer. There are a lot of items to be checked under the Locking Options tab. The following screenshot shows the items to be checked under the Interface option:
Next, we'll see the items to be selected under the Topology option.
Now, for the Existing Devices option, check for the items that need to be selected according to the following screenshot. We'll first see the PC checklist:
The Router option within End Devices has the following items checked:
The Server option within End Devices has the following items selected:
That's all; Simulation should now be fully checked.
The answer network
Now let's move on to creating the answer network. Open the Answer Network section and import the file that we previously saved. We will now finish this network setup. This is the finished network you'd want the end users to create. Click on Show Answer Network and you'll be taken to the logical view with the same four devices again. Our finished network will look like the following figure:
We'll be using the following IP address settings:
· PC: The addresses assigned are as follows:
· IP address: 10.10.0.2
· Subnet Mask: 255.255.255.0
· Gateway: 10.10.0.1
· Router: The settings configured are as follows:
· GigabitEthernet0/0: 10.10.0.1 (Connected to the switch)
· GigabitEthernet0/1: 18.104.22.168 (Connected to the server)
· Server: The addresses assigned are as follows:
· IP address: 22.214.171.124
· Subnet Mask: 255.255.255.0
· Gateway: 126.96.36.199
After assigning IP addresses to the PC and server, do the same to the router.
R1(config-if)#ip add 10.10.0.1 255.255.255.0
R1(config-if)#ip add 188.8.131.52 255.255.255.0
Now, we'll configure extended ACL on the router so that only ICMP (Internet Control Message Protocol) and HTTP traffic is allowed.
R1(config)#ip access-list extended 100
R1(config-ext-nacl)#permit icmp any host 184.108.40.206
R1(config-ext-nacl)#permit tcp any host 220.127.116.11 eq www
R1(config-if)#ip access-group 100 in
Test if things work correctly by opening the PC and pinging the server. Then try to test the connectivity using the ftp command from the PC to the server IP address.
The FTP connection fails as expected (as shown in the previous figure). Now open the Web Browser utility and see if the web server is accessible. To incorporate it into our assessment, we need to test the same with PDUs.
· Create a simple PDU to test ICMP. This should succeed.
· Create a complex PDU to test HTTP. This should succeed.
· Create a complex PDU to test FTP. This should fail.
Now that our answer network has been tested (as shown in the previous figure), click on the hat and magic wand icon to get back to the Activity Wizard. Once you are back in the wizard, export this network and save it. We should now select all of the items that will be taken into consideration when evaluating this assessment.
We will evaluate IP addresses of the PC, server, and the router, connections between all devices, and the connectivity between the PC and the server. The following options will be selected under the assessment tree:
· PC/Server: We select the following items under this checklist:
· Default Gateway
· Ports: Select the FastEthernet0 item, and within that enable the following:
Link to switch/router: Under this checklist we enable Type
· Router: We enable the following items in the checklist:
· Ports: Check the following items within the Ports option:
GigabitEthernet0/0: We enable Access group In, IP Address, Subnet Mask, and Type under the Link to switch option
GigabitEthernet0/1: We enable IP Address, Subnet Mask, and Type under the Link to Server option
After a user has finished configuring all of these items, connectivity has to be checked. Move on to the Connectivity Test tab and you'll see the three user-generated PDUs thatwe created. The Test Condition field for the first two packets (ICMP and HTTP) should show success, and the third one should show failure. This will be a built-in check to see if the ACLs have been properly configured.
Navigate to the Settings tab and set the timer countdown. Setting the countdown will automatically pop up the answer network's window once the time is up. We will set it to 20 minutes.
Click on the Password button and set a password. The end users will be prompted for this password if they try to access the activity wizard during the assessment.
Testing the activity
Now that we have prepared our assessment, we should test it and see if it works the way it should. Click on the Test Activity button. Complete the assessment and see how the Completion percentage information increases. You should also try doing things from the Locked list to see how Packet Tracer behaves.
Once you're satisfied with the result, come back to the activity wizard and click on Save. The assessment file alone will be saved with a .pka extension. This file can be distributed to anyone who has to take up the assessment. If the end user tries to open the activity wizard, a password prompt will appear.
This chapter provided you with basic information on creating a Packet Tracer assessment. The assessment engine provides a lot of scope for working with variables. A variable allows flexibility in procuring a wide range of user inputs. Packet Tracer also provides a scripting engine; using your programming skills, you can create more interactivity within the assessment.