What is in your company’s network? In what offices, floors, or buildings all the equipment is situated? What devices are connected to routers and switches? All these questions do not seem as just curiosity when it comes to documenting all the network, especially if it consists of dozens or even hundreds hosts, that are located in different offices, floors, or buildings.
In order to make the network mapping process quicker and less expensive, it is recommended to use the special software. It is easy and comfortable to use. All the process needs are a few mouse clicks and it takes from a few seconds to a few minutes, depending on the network’s size and the amount of devices that are connected to it.
On the first step, the network discovery program scans the provided IP address range to make a list of hosts that are on the network. But getting a list of networked devices is only a half of the job. Any system administrator needs the network map to be readable intuitively, at a glance. A network diagrammer is able to recognize what devices are on the network: switches, hubs, computers, file or database servers, local or network printers, etc.
The program places them on the map in the form of intuitively recognizable icons. Links between devices are drawn automatically, if there are managed switches that support the SNMP protocol. In any case, it is not too difficult to draw the connections manually. Besides, you can replace the icons, arranging them by the rooms or offices, and draw areas.
What goes next? The system administrator can save the map, export it to Microsoft Visio for further operations with it, or print it and use it in future. In what cases the system administrator might need the network map?
1. If you have a network diagram before your eyes, you will be able to understand more quickly what the problem is and where to go to recover it.
2. If you know the topology of your network, you can make a better choice of hardware and software for using in your company. This can save funds, decrease the amount of failures in future, and make the network’s operation more stable.
3. The network map helps the system administrator evaluate possible bottlenecks and be ready to any unpleasant surprises.
Thus, the network map does not only make the administrator’s life much easier, but it helps to spend the company’s money more effectively on purchasing software and hardware, in a word, to channel the budgets and efforts appropriately. Also, the network diagram helps to make the network more stable.
The choice of the most appropriate software for discovering the network topology depends on the company’s size and on the available budget for the IT department. In any case, such software, as any other programs, has to meet some general requirements:
1. The program has to have a trial period in order to give the system administrator an opportunity to evaluate its features.
2. The support has to be highly professional and qualified, and has to be given in time by e-mail or over the phone.
3. The program’s interface has to be comprehensive and comfortable to use.