What is Network Simulation : Types and Its Advantages

Nowadays, the advancement in wireless technology has been increasing rapidly. In computer networks, the unproven protocols cannot be initiated on a large scale because of the indecision of its successful result. So, the latest protocols are tested through analytical modeling otherwise simulation tools. If the latest protocols show good results after the simulation, then the protocols will be executed in the real world. Network simulation is the common and most useful method, used to calculate various network topologies exclusive of real-world implementation. These are extensively utilized by the research community to estimate new theories & hypotheses. There are different kinds of simulators but its selection in research work is critical for researchers.

What is Network Simulation?

Definition: Network simulation is one kind of method in the research of a computer network where a software program forms the performance of a network by analyzing the relations between the various network entities such as links, Nswitched, routers, nodes, access points. The network performance, different applications, services & supports can be monitored in an analysis lab. Different features of the surroundings can also be changed in a controlled way to evaluate how the network or protocols would perform beneath different conditions.

Network Simulation
Network Simulation

Network Simulator

Software that is used to predict the performance of a computer network is known as a network simulator. These are used when communication networks have turned into too difficult for fixed analytical techniques to offer a precise understanding of system performance. In a simulator, the computer network can be molded with the help of links, devices and applications and the performance of a network can be reported. These are available by using new networks and technologies which are used today like IoT, 5G, WLANs, ad hoc networks of mobile, WSNs, LTE, ad hoc networks of vehicles, etc.

Network Emulation

This is one kind of method used to test the act of real applications over a virtual network. This is dissimilar compare with network simulation wherever only mathematical form of traffic, channels, protocols and network models are applied. The main function of this is to assess performance, estimate the impact of change, and otherwise optimize decision-making in technology.

Different Network Simulations

The different types of network simulators/ network simulation tools are open source and commercial

  • Network Simulator version 2 (NS-2)
  • Ns3
  • Netkit
  • Marionnet
  • JSIM (Java-based Simulation)
  • QualNet
  • The open-source simulators are Marrionet, Netkit, NS2, JSIM
  • The commercial simulators are OPNET and QualNet

Network Simulator Version 2 (NS-2)

It is an object-oriented kind of simulator mainly used for simulating the protocols of networking as well as routing protocols for the networks like wired & wireless. These can be implemented through OTCl & C++.



This type of simulator is mainly designed for the purpose of education as well as research. When compared with the Ns2 type, it uses Python to work in a better way because of the low-level of abstraction. The modules of Ns3 include protocols and network devices, written in the languages of C++, Python.


Netki is open-source software that uses User-mode Linux. This simulator is used whenever there is a need to form a networking environment with small endeavors. It is a simulation tool based on the command line. It is also used to create a total network over a single PC through exploiting VN (virtual network) devices.


Marionnet/Virtual Network Laboratory is utilized as an educational tool because of its smart Graphical user interface. By using this, a complex network can be defined by the user on a host computer.

Java-based Simulation (JSIM)

It is used mainly in web-based simulation to build by using the event package otherwise process the package. This is used to design quantitative numeric models & estimate them with respect to the data from the experiment.


It is used in research & development to provide whole flexibility to study regarding communication networks, protocols, and applications. When it includes both programming environment and GUI, then it provides a platform for the user to form the network when they require it.


It is used for engineers, scholars to build virtual models for all kinds of data, voice & video networks. In fact, it is a testing, planning and also a training tool used for signifying the network situation with accuracy.

Advantages of Network Simulation

The advantages of network simulators include the following.

  • The main advantage of a simulator is to provide practical feedback to the users while designing real-world systems.
  • They allow the designers of the system to study trouble at numerous abstraction levels.
  • These are used in an effective way which means to teach otherwise demonstrate the concepts to students.


1). What are the best network simulators?

They are GNS3, Packet Tracer, Virtual Internet Routing Lab (VIRL) and Boson Network Simulator

2). What is ns2 Simulator?

It is an open-source tool used for simulation using Linux

3). What is the main difference between simulation & emulator?

A simulator demonstrates the network’s behavior & its components, whereas an emulator is used to copy the network’s behavior to replace it functionally.

Thus, this is all about an overview of network simulation, working and its advantages. The tools of network simulation are up to date technology. The simulator aids the user to expand the networks through real-time. So it is helpful in testing the new networking protocols within the access protocols. The tools of network simulator are OPNET, NS2, GloMosim, J-sim, NetSim, QualNet, OMNET++, Ns3, REAL, etc. Here is a question for you, what is the function of network simulation?