What Is Network Mapping: Best Industry Practices


Network mapping can be a hard nut to crack for network administrators and engineers. Apart from its challenges, it’s essential to make sure that the company has a visual representation of the network and everything related.

Having a complete picture of the network at the question, the IT team can do a better job of managing all the systems and troubleshooting all the potential issues.

In order to monitor these systems, you need technology that can discover and map everything on the network.

Understand and execute these best practices and you’ll have a successful network monitoring.

Here’s how you should do network mapping

Get Familiar With The Industry Standards

Network monitoring means the visual representation of physical things like routers, servers, switches, connection types, etc., and the rational relations between them.

Over the course of years, companies like Cisco have built standard network topology components, icons and assigning names to conventions as they explained what their products are capable of.

Get acquainted with these icons, terms, and symbols so you can make the best use of them.

Know What Network Mapping Should Contain

In network mapping, one of the main things to understand is, which components should be involved in the visualization. There are a number of important items to include.

For example, all the IP addresses, filtering equipment, firewall, and the track layout that constitutes the infrastructure.

What’s more, managers should create a list of items that has all the details about the network components, such as, the equipment manufacturer, model, hostname, serial number, and location. Companies with an asset tag system should list this information as well.

Network Mapping Tools

Having the best network mapping tool is important for any admin’s network environment when tracking everything deployed on the network and ensuring that you have an updated idea about your network all the time for faster troubleshooting.

What’s more, these tools work as the foundation of compliance regulations, which includes, PCI DSS, which calls for an updated network topology map.

Above all, network mapping tools are the one and only way to actually visualize the network infrastructure.

Detect and Map Device Dependencies

Maps and discovery tools can spot downstream dependencies, which allows alarm suppression.

For example, if your router depletes, then other devices start down-streaming from your router, gets registered as unavailable on the screen and prompts alerts.

This type of situations can give birth to boatloads of alerts and delay the fault isolation part. Modern discovery tools almost always detect these dependencies automatically or ease up the creating process for the user, consequently, suppressing downstream alerts.

Establish maps

Once you create a policy that standardizes performance baselines and makes sure the device configurations are set right, you can get started on the project at hand – establishing the network maps.

You can establish maps in 3 different ways – manual entry, auto-discovery, and importing a data file.

Manual entry is able to find devices, subnets, and smaller things of your network. Auto-discovery lets you do thorough discovery of your whole network automatically.

Test The Map Out

If you’re curious to find out how accurate your network map is, head over to a network engineer and make them recreate it on a network simulator, such as GNS3. After that, compare it to the live configuration.

GNS3 and such similar tools let you upload virtual machines as network appliances for study and testing purposes.

When creating such maps, your ultimate goal should be balancing thoroughness clearly. When you’re in doubt, go specific. Often people forget to mention details like cable types, wireless networks, encryption strength, version of the number, last-changed date, and much more.

Last Words

The modern networks come with plenty of network devices, mobile elements, virtual domains, and device interdependences that the only way of comprehensively visualizing them for troubleshooting and monitoring is to create network maps.

Establishing solutions that comply with these suggestions ideally provides the foundation required for monitoring network in real-time.

Learning how you can get the most out of network discovery and mapping would arm your company with the latest network monitoring abilities.

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