Network mapping is an important requirement for every business to have better visibility over their network devices, locations, performance and capacity. Network mapping will assist you in identifying issues, optimizing network performance, or help plan for growth. In any organization unlocking the benefits of network mapping takes just a few steps.
A network map is a graphical representation of your network infrastructure. It includes all of your network devices; routers, switches, firewalls, access points, wireless devices, endpoints and other devices. In order to correctly map your network, most mapping solutions require SNMP, WMI, TelNet, SSH, WMI and other protocols. With these protocols, your network mapping software will be able to discover all devices and connections between those devices on your network.
A network map is important because it helps network administrators identify potential issues, security threats, and discover IT assets. By creating a network map, administrators can see the different components of their network and how they are connected. This will help them make educated decisions regarding network upgrades.
There are many key components in networks. Here are just a few: (Check out our Glossary for more)
Network Topology: Network topology is the physical and logical arrangement of nodes and connections in a network. Nodes usually include devices such as switches, routers and software with switch and router features. The network topology can be represented using different models, such as a star, mesh, or ring.
IP addressing and naming conventions: IP addressing identifies devices on the network. Naming conventions are also important, as they make it easier to identify and manage different network components.
Switches and Routers: A network switch can connect multiple devices and networks to expand the LAN, a router will allow you to share a single IP address among multiple network devices.
Wireless Access Points (WAPs): A wireless access point (WAP) is a networking device that allows wireless-capable devices to connect to a wired network.
Firewall devices: A firewall is a network security device that monitors incoming and outgoing network traffic and decides whether to allow or block specific traffic based on a defined set of security rules.
Many organizations have not made it a priority to keep their network maps up to date. This is typically because mapping the network manually is a slow, difficult job with Visio. New tools like, UVexplorer, have automated the network mapping and are very fast and easy to use. Whichever method you choose, unlocking the benefits of network mapping will help IT management teams with the following:
Improves Network Visibility
Network mapping provides a comprehensive view of network assets and makes it easier for administrators to find network failures and performance issues. Automated network mapping tools, like UVexplorer, allow administrators to know what devices are in their network and what could be causing outages.
Increases Security and Decreases Risk Management
A network map helps secure the network by identifying all devices connected to the network. And notifies team members of unauthorized devices on their network. The network map is also required by security audits and vulnerability assessments. Network maps also help administrators detect unauthorized devices, mitigate these unknown devices and protect the network.
Optimize Network Performance
Network mapping provides critical insights into the performance of individual devices, enabling administrators to optimize performance. By tracking usage patterns and device load, network administrators can identify weak spots and make upgrades.
Simplify Troubleshooting and Maintenance
Network mapping solutions that include troubleshooting tools can help identify the root of network issues quickly, speeding up the resolution time and thus helping the network be up and running 24/7.
Improve Planning for Network Expansion
Network maps help growing businesses by helping network administrators to see what areas of the network can handle more devices and also help them plan future expansion of their network. This helps save time and future headache when the expansion occurs.
Network mapping has been around for a long time but new, powerful mapping tools allow organizations to automate their discoveries, notify in the event of issues and provide reports for regulators and audits. Unlocking the benefits of network mapping will help your organization be ready for future tasks. There are a number of tools that provide automated network mapping, here is our list of the Top 5 Automated Network Mapping Solutions.