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Best Network Documentation Software

A best-in-class network documentation software plays an important role in bridging the communication gap among a technology team as well as between teams. In order to ensure that your company’s technology (WiFi, network, network equipment) operates at peak efficiency, it is critical that you have accurate and up-to-date documentation of your networks. This way, if there are any difficulties with the WiFi, they can be resolved quickly. A detailed document also allows new team members to set up and configure equipment more easily.

There are many kinds of Network Documentation Software that you can use for your work. Network management tools help companies modernize and improve their communication protocols, computer equipment and applications. There are different types of network management software products that make easier network bandwidth monitoring, network capacity planning and manage different security risks.

Network management is the process of monitoring and maintaining computer networks, like ethernet and interconnection devices. Network management software monitors and displays information about a network’s bandwidth utilization, performance, security and inventory details. Network management also involves employing tools for fault diagnosis, configuration management, monitoring and inventory control. To achieve this, experts often purchase tools from best network documentation software free to monitor and manage network elements.

Your company’s network doesn’t just run itself and it’s important to have the right tools and know what’s actually going on. Network documentation software is less about being flashy and more about giving you exactly what you need: a place to document your network’s components, relationships, and changes so you can better manage it moving forward.

Types of software documentation. 

Documentation is a crucial part of the software. There are mainly five types of software documentation. 

  • Requirements – Identifies attributes, capabilities, characteristics, or qualities of a system. 
  • Architecture/Design – Overview of software. Includes relations to an environment and construction principles to be used in design of software components.
  • Technical – Documentation of code, algorithms, interfaces, and APIs.
  • End user – Manuals for the end-user, system administrators and support staff.
  • Marketing – How to market the product and analysis of the market demand.

Network Diagrams are essential for ensuring your have a complete understanding of how your network topology is interconnected and can give you an overhead view of whats going on in your network.

Many times, it will help you visualize where your infrastructure is lacking and what needs to be upgraded/replaced.

Having a properly documented schematic of your entire network and connections can also ensure you can troubleshoot issues in a systematic order when they arise.

The following tools will improve your documentation and presentation. Improved presentation enhances the network administrators’ ability to communicate with non-technical stakeholders in your organization and help you win the right budget for the network creation project.

1. SolarWinds Network Topology Mapper (FREE TRIAL)

SolarWinds Network Topology Mapper - Scan

The SolarWinds Network Topology Mapper includes on-demand device discovery and automated mapping. This gives you a great starting point if you are adding to an existing network. You can choose whether the discovery procedure uses SNMP or ICMP (Ping and Traceroute) to locate devices. It can also identify network infrastructure through WMI and CDP (Cisco Discovery Protocol) methods.Key Features:

  • Network autodiscovery
  • Customizable topology maps
  • Maps Hyper-V and VMWare virtualizations
  • Icon selection for different devices

The mapping discovery procedure can also plot the network infrastructure that composes virtualizations and maps clients to hosts for VMWare and Hyper-V implementations. Maps can be exported into presentation formats for distribution and it is also possible to export them into Visio for further work.

The map development environment supports different network plans and can compile several perspectives from one scan. The icon library has a suitably diverse set of device representations to enable you to distinguish between types of network equipment visually on the map. You can also adapt existing icon designs to create your own.

Solarwinds network topology mapper

If you don’t want to use an automatically-generated map, you can set the discoverer tool to just create a device inventory, from which you can plot your own topology map. An auto-update feature would not be useful for a network plan for expansion. However, you can store different maps and set your current system topology to update automatically when alterations to the existing network occur.

Pros:

  • Uses auto-discover for automated mapping, great for larger more complex networks
  • Uses multiple protocols to identify network devices, ICMP, SNMP, WMI, and CDP
  • Designed to work in virtual environments and supports both VMWare and Hyper-V hosting
  • Can build static maps and include devices from your network for capacity planning and testing

Cons:

  • Would like to see a longer trial period

The network mapper is compliant with PCI and FIPS-2 standards. This software runs on Windows environments and you can access it on a 14-day free trial.

EDITOR’S CHOICE

Network Topology Mapper is our go-to tool. Comprehensive automatic discovery of the network topology with intuitive diagram production. Supports a host of discovery methods. We particularly like auto-discovery and detailed maps creation.

Download: Get 14-day FREE Trial

Official Site: solarwinds.com/network-topology-mapper

OS: Windows 10, 8.1, 8, and 7 desktop OS and Windows Server 2003 and later, .Net 3.5 of later

2. Auvik (FREE TRIAL)

Auvik Device Mapping

Auvik is a SaaS platform that implements network monitoring and asset management functions through the use of an on-site agent. The central detection service of this package is its network discovery system, which also creates a network asset inventory and draws up a network map.

Key Features:

  • SaaS platform
  • Creates asset inventory
  • Constantly updated

The Auvik network map has a distinctive style. It isn’t a topographical map, so it couldn’t be laid over a world map or an office layout. Instead, it uses a tree structure that identifies the links between network nodes. This is particularly useful if you want to get a switch port summary of one device because you can get a view showing all the ports on the device that are in use, together with a note on the destination of the cable plugged into each of them

The network map gives access to details on each device. These are Layer 2 and Layer 3 systems and you can get details on their addresses, manufacturer, model, and operating capacity. The full Auvik console headlines major issues, which are derived from alerts that identify performance problems or device faults.

There are two plan levels with the Auvik package: Essentials and Performance. The Essentials service offers network device status reports. The Performance deal gives you bandwidth analysis with live capacity reports that can be viewed in the details of each device.

Pros:

  • Automatic network discovery that is constantly updated
  • A network device inventory
  • Network mapping for Layer 2 and Layer 3 devices
  • Switch port mapping

Cons:

  • No on-site version

Auvik doesn’t publish its price list. The exact price depends on which plan is chosen and the size of the network that is to be monitored. You can examine Auvik on a 14-day free trial.

Auvik Start 14-day FREE Trial

3. Datadog Live Network Mapping (FREE TRIAL)

Datadog correlate network traffic app performance

Datadog includes live network mapping services in its two network monitoring packages. These plans are the Network Performance Monitor, which provides network data flow analysis, and the Network Device Monitor, which provides constant checks on switches, routers, and network appliances. Both of these services are delivered from a cloud platform.Key Features:

  • Network autodiscovery and vizualization
  • Tagging and filters enhance search capabilities
  • Live mapping and traffic patterns

The Live Network Mapping system is able to cover local, remote, and cloud-based systems, even monitoring traffic flows on the internet connections between locations. The service automatically draws up a network map. Once assessed, the network topology view can be altered on demand to show the connections to a specific device, a topology plan of the whole network, or a focused layout of a specific route between two endpoints.

The plan constantly checks on the nodes available on the network and will automatically redraw the network topology map if any devices are added, moved, or removed. The visualization of the network also shows a live report of the traffic flow throughput on each link.

Pros:

  • Has one of the best interfaces for network mapping
  • Uses live network mapping to pull in new devices, and reflects changes in the network right away
  • Features data flow analysis to help administrators understand dependencies as well as performance metrics between devices
  • Subscription model makes DataDog accessible to any size business

Cons:

  • Would like to see a longer 30 day trial period

Datadog’s monitoring systems are charged for by subscription with a rate per month or at a lower rate if paid annually. Both the Network Performance Monitor and the Network Device Monitor include live network mapping and you can get both of these plans on a 14-day free trial.

Datadog Live Network Mapping Start 14-day FREE Trial

4. ManageEngine Network Mapping with OpManager (FREE TRIAL)

ManageEngine Network Topology with OpManager

ManageEngine OpManager is a combination of network and server monitoring systems. It includes automated network discovery and topology mapping. As well as tracking and recording all physical connections, the system is able to monitor and map virtualizations and VLAN systems for VoIP.

Key Features:

  • Maps virtual and physical networks
  • Creates network inventory
  • SNMP-based device monitoring

The OpManager system runs its first system sweep with Ping and the Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP) to identify every network device and endpoint on the system. It is able to record all information about each device, such as make, model, and operating system.

The network search also reveals how all of the equipment on the system connect together. This information is then made available to a network topology mapping in the monitoring bundle. The system discovery process is continuous, so it adjusts the network inventory whenever changes are made to the network.

The network topology maps are generated anew whenever the map module is accessed by the user. That means that the topology map that is displayed is always based on the latest version of the network inventory and is never out of date.

Pros:

  • Supports network and server monitoring capabilities built into the topology map
  • Has an option to simulate and track physical connections, great for messy switches and larger complex networks
  • Uses both Ping and SNMP to discover devices, making it more thorough than some smaller tools
  • Maps are automatically redrawn when a device changes, keeping it up to date and accurate every time it is viewed
  • Available on both Linux and Windows

Cons:

  • Is a feature-rich tool that requires time spent with the product to fully learn all of its features

OpManager is delivered as on-premises software for Windows Server or Linux. The system is available for a 30-day free trial.

ManageEngine Network Mapping with OpManager Download 30-day FREE Trial

5. Domotz (FREE TRIAL)

Domotz Network Topology

Domotz is a SaaS platform that offers network monitoring for IT Departments and it is also suitable for managed service providers (MSPs). The system offers a multi-tenant architecture and there is no limit to the number of user accounts that you can create for technicians to get access to the Domotz console. This tool can unify the monitoring of multiple sites and it includes an automated network mapping system.

Key Features:

  • Automated network discovery
  • A network asset inventory and network map
  • Live network performance reporting

The Domotz system uses an agent on the monitored network and that program collects data for upload to the Domotz server. Processing is performed on the cloud server and that is also where the console for the system is hosted. The tool performs a network discovery routine, which is based on SNMP and other network protocols, and it repeats constantly, so data is always updated. This information goes into a network asset inventory and this database of devices is the source material for the network map. Whenever the inventory gets updated, the network map gets redrawn.

This system can monitor physical and virtual networks, plus wireless services. It will track the performance of endpoints, equipment, and IoT devices.

Domotz is a subscription service with a set price of $21 per network per month, regardless of the number of nodes on the network. There is also a custom plan, which is priced by negotiation. You can access Domotz with a 14-day free trial.

Domotz Start 14-day FREE Trial

6. Faddom (FREE TRIAL)

Faddom Connections Map

Faddom is a system documentation and monitoring package that is able to identify resources on an internet and applications composed of microservices. The service provides IT asset inventories and network maps.

Key Features:

  • Automated network discovery
  • Constantly updated
  • Network topology mapping

The Faddom tool provides hardware and software inventories that can be used for system monitoring plus patch management and software license management.

The searching and mapping capabilities of Faddom can be applied to application dependency mapping. This use identifies all of the supporting microservices that back the frameworks, APIs and plug-ins that supply many of the functions that get folded into mobile apps and websites.

Pros:

  • A discovery and mapping service for networks
  • A constantly repeating system that updates assert inventories and topology maps
  • Software inventory for patch management and software license management

Cons:

  • No cloud version

Faddom is an on-premises software package that runs on top of its own virtual machine. You can get a 30-day free trial of Faddom.

Faddom Start 30-day FREE Trial

How do I map all devices on my network?

The easiest way to get a full map of all devices on your network is to use a network topology mapper. If you don’t want to use a standard format for your network diagram, look for a network topology mapper than has a range of templates to choose from or one that allows you to manually change the generated network map.

Conclusion

Documentation is one of the key elements of network administration. Network engineers and administrators must create, update and maintain its documentation every day in order to keep it up to date and true. The best documentation software plays a crucial role in the success of your business.

The present day networking strategy is largely based on the current IT technologies and its deployment in an enterprise network. Network documentation software provide you with features to draw, annotate and link network elements together. A schematic diagram of the network components works as a visual guide to understand its internal workings. The best network diagram software offer different drawing tools to combine textual and graphical notations. Nowadays, there are a lot of choices available for the task of drawing a network diagram or map.

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