SYS-CON MEDIA Authors: Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan, Pat Romanski, Esmeralda Swartz, Kevin Jackson

Related Topics: SOA & WOA

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Discover the Network Topology and Create Its Map

Network's stability depends on its architecture and the elements that the network consists of

Network's stability depends on its architecture and the elements that the network consists of. That is why the system administrator needs to know its topology. The network map in front of his eyes helps the IT manager to view where all the network devices are located. In this case, he gets an opportunity to react on occurred failures more quickly.

There are three solutions for the problem:

1. Drawing the network map manually. This process includes the wire tracking in order to discover the topology, and the map drawing on paper or using the computer. This method is free, but very time consuming and "dusty". If the network is big and complex you have to manually track connections of all devices across the wires. Sometimes, it is even necessary to open the floor covering. In addition, when a new network device is added, the system administrator has to add it on the map manually.

2. An outsourcing company can create a network map for you. Often, such organizations use special software to discover the network topology automatically. This method is much quicker, but it is not free. The outsourcing companies' services are rather expensive. Above all, if the map is changed (devices are added or vice versa) the system administrator will have to correct the map manually or use the outsourcing company's service again.

3. The organization can purchase the network topology discovery software. What opportunities it will give?

  • Drawing the network map in few minutes. Quickly, handy, visually.
  • An opportunity to save a lot of money - you do not have to hire people for this purpose anymore. By the way, outsourcing companies use the same network mapping software, but take more money for using it.
  • In case of the system administration's discharge, all the documentation will stay in the company in convenient form. Thus, a new employee will not have to start from the very beginning. He will be able to evaluate all the pros and cons of the existing network topology and get to know about its bottlenecks.
  • The opportunity to monitor all new connections to the enterprise network, for example, if employees use laptops at work. New devices appear on the map automatically. This makes the administrator's work easier and lets him solve other important problems.

As a rule, the network topology discovering process does not take much time and consists of three steps. The first one is the program installation on the computer. Secondly, the mapping software scans the network to detect all the hosts in it. If there are switches that support the SNMP protocol, the program will draw the connections between devices automatically. And the third step is finishing the map manually - dragging icons and placing them in "offices" and "floors".

As you can see, everything is quite easy. Network topology discovery is not so difficult and expensive process, as someone may think. But this program gives a lot of incontestable advantages: from building a stable network to saving the loyalty of existing and potential customers.

More Stories By Dmitriy Stepanov

Dmitriy Stepanov is a CEO at 10-Strike Software, Network Inventory, Network Monitoring, Bandwidth Monitoring Software developer. 10-Strike Software is a software developing company. They offer their high quality networking products since 1999. 10-Strike Software specializes in producing Windows network software for corporate users.

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