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Network Mapping Best Practices: Four Basics to Remember

Despite the complexity that network mapping can present for network engineers and administrators, it is an indispensable procedure that equips organizations with a visual depiction of their network and its components. An expansive view of the network enables IT teams to manage all associated systems and troubleshoot emerging issues more efficiently.

To streamline network mapping, network administrators should consider the following strategies:

1. Understand the Components in Network Mapping

The first step in network mapping involves identifying the components to include in the visualization. Essential items include all IP addresses within the network, firewall and filtering devices, and the rack layout constituting the infrastructure. It’s also prudent to create an inventory list detailing network components, including the equipment manufacturer, model, serial number, host name, and location. Companies that employ an asset tagging system should incorporate this data as well.

2. Formulating a Network Mapping Policy

Having determined what to include in the network map, managers can proceed to devise a policy to govern the mapping process within their organization. A policy is advantageous as it clarifies each network administrator’s responsibilities within the mapping process. A critical aspect of this policy involves identifying the performance baselines and indicators to capture within your maps. These baselines enable administrators to standardize the normal operating conditions of the network infrastructure, thereby ensuring appropriate infrastructure configuration in the future.

3. Create Network Maps

Having formulated a policy that standardizes performance baselines and validates device configurations, you can commence the primary task: creating the actual network maps. This can be achieved in three ways: auto-discovery, manual entry, and data file import. Auto-discovery enables comprehensive, automatic discovery of your entire network, while manual entry allows for the identification of devices, subnets, and other minor network elements. Data file import enables you to add a range or specific devices to a map.

4. Implementing an Advanced Network Mapping Solution

Given the potential intricacies of manual network mapping, leveraging a top-tier solution is advisable. A dynamic network mapping tool provides essential capabilities, including auto-discovery, visual traffic flow, and physical connection mapping. Such a software application allows you to use hierarchical, geographical, and physical maps, providing flexibility in how you choose to view your network. With these solutions, the IT team can evade many network mapping related challenges, thus capitalizing on all the benefits.


In conclusion, by implementing these four basic steps, you will be able to create policies and procedures that deliver the the best network maps for your organization.