Tutorial: Ns-2.33 (and nam) on Ubuntu 8.04 (Hardy Heron)

  • Posted June 11, 2008. Last modified August 4, 2010 by

Since I have been working with ns2 for the last few months in preparation for my thesis I have decided to write a guide on how to install the most recent version of ns2 on the most recent version of ubuntu (at the time of this writing, Monday June 9th, 2008).

I have found many people already who have had difficulty setting it up so maybe this will be of some help to someone. For this tutorial I am assuming you have installed the most recent version of Ubuntu (8.04). (At the time of writing)

Step 1: Update Ubuntu

Since it has already been a month or so since Hardy Heron has been released its probably best, if you haven’t already done so to update Ubuntu. The easiest way I’ve found is to go to System>>Administration>>Update Manager. Alternatively, you can enter this into the terminal:

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get upgrade
Update Manager - Ubuntu Hardy Heron

Step 2: Download all of the required pieces to make ns2 work

Here is a list of archives required for ns2 to work properly (you can download them by clicking the links or just enter all of the commands in the code sections below for automatic download and untar). I saved each archive to the desktop so I could find each one easily but you could use anywhere you like.

  1. tcl 8.4.14
  2. tk 8.4.14
  3. otcl 1.13
  4. tclcl 1.19
  5. ns 2.33
  6. nam 1.13

Step 2.5: Install Ubuntu Packages

Before installing everything else, I have found that it is helpful to get a few packages from the ubuntu repositories or else it wont build correctly. Grab a cup of coffee it might take a while since kdebase-dev is somewhat large. I’m sure there is a way to do this with fewer packages however I know this works. If anyone figures out exactly which packages are required let me know so I can update this.

sudo apt-get install libx11-dev kdebase-dev

Step 3: Install tcl

wget http://www.jasonernst.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/06/tcl8.4.19-src.tar.gz
tar xvf tcl8.4.19-src.tar.gz
cd tcl8.4.19/unix
sudo make install

Step 4: Install tk

cd ..
cd ..
wget http://www.jasonernst.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/06/tk8.4.19-src.tar.gz
tar xvf tk8.4.19-src.tar.gz
cd tk8.4.19/unix
sudo make install

Step 5: Install oTcl

Important Note: The ‘./configure –with-tcl=’ portion of the following two code fragments should point to the source files for tcl. If you have been following the guide by copying and pasting the previous commands what we have here will work just fine. Otherwise you will need to change this to point to the correct location of your tcl source files.

cd ..
cd ..
wget http://www.jasonernst.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/06/otcl-src-1.13.tar.gz
tar xvf otcl-src-1.13.tar.gz
cd otcl-1.13
./configure --with-tcl=../tcl*/
sudo make install

Step 6: Install tclcl

cd ..
wget http://www.jasonernst.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/06/tclcl-src-1.19.tar.gz
tar xvf tclcl-src-1.19.tar.gz
cd tclcl-1.19
./configure --with-tcl=../tcl*/
sudo make install

Step 7: Install ns2

cd ..
wget http://www.jasonernst.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/06/ns-2.33.tar.gz
tar xvf ns-2.33.tar.gz
cd ns-2.33
sudo make install

You will likely get alot of warnings for deprecated conversions. Just ignore these or if you really are concerned about them visit the nsnam troubleshooting page. If you want to make sure your version of ns-2 is working correctly after the install you can run the validation test from within the ns2 source directory. You can do this by entering:


You should see that the test output agrees with the reference output. Congratulations you have a working version of ns-2 installed.

Step 8: (optional) Install nam

cd ..
wget http://www.jasonernst.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/06/nam-src-1.13.tar.gz
tar xvf nam-src-1.13.tar.gz
cd nam-1.13
sudo make install

Note: if you get this error:

error: X11/Xmu/WinUtil.h: No such file or directory

it may be necesary to do this:

sudo apt-get install libxmu-dev

You are now ready to start working with ns2 and nam. If you are like me and working on a new protocol or something you will want to start modifying the ns-2 source code and recompile again so you might want to keep that folder handy. The rest of the source can be safely removed as far as i know. Keep in mind after you have modified the source you will want to do another make install so that when you type ns in your terminal the version you just compiled is used.

Getting Started with NS2

These are some quick tips to get you started using ns2 if you are a beginner.

All example files are located in ns/tcl/ex. You can run these scenarios on ns2 using ns filename.tcl The best way to start is probably changing things in these files until you understand what is happening more thoroughly.

The output will usually be a trace file with a similar name: ex) filename.tr. Trace files can usually be viewed with a text-editor program. There are also tools to analyze the trace files and pull stats from them. These may require some tweaking however depending on the format of the trace file. Additionally, a nam output file for visualization may be generated as well. This will usually be named filename.nam. To view the visualization use: nam filename.nam

Useful Links

I thought it might be useful to add a section on useful links here since this article has become quite popular. If you would like to suggest a link feel free to contact me.

106 comments on “Tutorial: Ns-2.33 (and nam) on Ubuntu 8.04 (Hardy Heron)”


    Being a beginner at NS2, I certainly needed clear tips on how to start using it. So your blog post was extremely helpful. Also, thank you for the additional useful links, especially the .pdf one for ‘NS for Beginners’. It is informative and helpful. Luckily, my installation of NS-2.33 on Ubuntu was successful. Hope not to face any problems further.


      I am a student of MTech(Computer science & enng), i am doing my project on ns, so need to install ns2.33 on ubuntu 11.04, so please send me the installation help. I will be very thankful to you.


    This blog is really very well-written. Could you suggest me the procedure for ns-2.34 installation on Windows XP. i am facing problems with otcl and opening tcl file on Xwin server.


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