A network diagram tool is an important asset for a network designer. It facilitates the development of highly secure and efficient computer networks. In this article, we will be discussing what a network diagram is, how it works, and the best network diagram tools to use.
What is a Network Diagram and How Does it Work?
A network diagram is a visual representation of a computer network that shows how the many components of a computer network interact. Routers, hubs, firewalls, devices, and other components are included in it.
A network diagram may provide a simple overview of the network or a more complex network diagram, depending on its scope and purpose.
A Local Area Network (LAN) diagram, for example, might depict individual device IP addresses. A Metropolitan Area Network (MAN) diagram, on the other hand, might depict areas or buildings with a single node. There are two types of network diagrams: physical and logical.
- Logical Networks Diagrams – The flow of data via a network is depicted in a logical network diagram. Subnets (i.e., VLAN IDs, addresses, and masks), routing protocols, network devices, and firewalls are typically displayed in a logical network diagram.
- Physical Networks Diagrams – As the name implies, a physical network diagram depicts the actual physical layout of network components. Hardware and wires are included. This style of graphic, similar to a floorplan, gives a bird’s-eye view of the network in a physical place.
Network switch diagrams, computer network diagrams, and network security diagrams are examples of several types of network diagrams. Each of these network diagrams concentrates on a single network component or element.
What are the Benefits of Network Diagrams?
Network diagrams are useful for a variety of reasons, but most importantly because they show how network components interact. Network diagrams can assist you in planning the construction of a new home or business network, as well as coordinating upgrades to an existing network.
A network diagram can also be used to report and debug networking issues, as well as to ensure that your company meets PCI and other compliance requirements.
Network diagrams are frequently used by businesses as documentation for external communication, onboarding, and training. When it comes to onboarding new team members, a clear and detailed network diagram can save a lot of time. It also serves as a useful reference point for rapidly and effectively resolving network difficulties.
Network diagrams can also be used to keep track of components, communicate essential information to a vendor for a request for proposal (RFP) without having to reveal confidential data, sell a network plan to stakeholders, and propose high-level Syslog infrastructure changes.
What are the Benefits of Network Diagramming Tools for Businesses?
Creating a detailed network diagram might take a long time and require a lot of resources. Your network diagram should be developed by a highly experienced member of your team who is knowledgeable about various forms of network diagrams to ensure accuracy.
Network switch diagrams, computer network diagrams, and network security diagrams should all be included. The person or team in charge of drawing the network diagram should have a solid understanding of which form of diagram is suitable for your company’s needs.
By constructing the network design for you, an automated network diagram tool can save you time and resources. Some of the best network diagram software can automatically detect your network and map it out based on your preferences.
Every network administrator’s arsenal should include network diagramming software, which ensures that your network diagrams are correct, up to date, and easy to understand.
Best Network Diagram Tools
Microsoft Visio is a high-end, enterprise-grade chart and map-making application that is widely used in a variety of sectors. Because Visio is so widely used, several other network diagram tools, such as SolarWinds NTM, let users export network maps to Visio. As a result, Visio is an excellent tool for combining data from various sources.
Visio is a program that runs on Windows and is also available online. It allows you to build both overview and detailed network diagrams, allowing you to document a network’s broad strokes or describe every detail down to the device level. Users using Visio can also add visuals to their diagrams, making them easier to understand at a glance.
SolarWinds NTM comes highly recommended if you’re seeking a Cisco-supported, enterprise-grade tool capable of creating accurate and dependable network topology diagrams.
SNMP, WMI, ICMP, VMware, CDP, Microsoft Hyper-V, and other protocols are used to automatically identify network topology. You may execute multi-level network discovery using a variety of discovery methods. This allows you to create an OSI Layer 2 and Layer 3 network map with detailed device data.
In a matter of minutes, NTM can discover your whole network and generate complete and detailed maps. This application allows you to manually edit node information of map objects and connect network devices, combining the ease of automation with the flexibility of manual input.
SolarWinds NTM is a flexible and user-friendly tool. Despite NTM’s advanced features, such as extensive automation and customizability options, the user interface is dynamic and easy to navigate. NTM is available for a 14-day free trial.
Despite the fact that there are a plethora of network diagram tools on the market today, each with its own set of advantages, SolarWinds NTM comes highly recommended. NTM is designed for corporate use and has a wealth of complex capabilities. It is also highly automated and adaptable.
NTM is one of the most user-friendly network diagram tools on the market, with easy-to-navigate dynamic dashboards. This product was created to grow with your firm while being simple enough for less experienced IT employees to use.
To get started with NTM, you don’t need any prior expertise or training, and SolarWinds provides plenty of help if you get stuck. You can get technical support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, or join a large and active community forum of SolarWinds users.
Lucidchart is a topology application for creating flowcharts that includes specific icon libraries for a variety of sectors, including network topology.
This network diagramming software gives you access to over 500 templates and lets you customize your diagrams with a simple drag-and-drop interface. Moreover, Lucidchart allows for real-time collaboration, ensuring that everyone in your team is on the same page, even if they are using different devices or operating systems.
HelpSystems’ Intermapper is a network monitoring tool with automatic mapping and discovery capabilities. Its network monitoring features assist you in creating a network map, which gives you a real-time perspective of what’s going on in your network.
This network diagram software is flexible, allowing you to modify the look of your map with hundreds of map layouts and icon possibilities.
ConceptDraw Diagram is a wonderful choice for firms that want to keep things simple. Maps can be imported and exported in a variety of formats, including Visio.
This network diagram creator is available as a single product or as part of the ConceptDraw Office toolset, which includes project management and planning capabilities. Unfortunately, the network diagram builder lacks the complex capabilities that many of its competitors possess.
Due to the rapid expansion of computer networks, there is a huge demand for powerful network diagramming software. These are the best network diagram tools that you can leverage to facilitate working with network diagrams.