Data Centers

Diagram your network with these tools

Document your network by checking out our list of network diagramming tools (half the list are free). Submit a network diagram to us and get some TR swag.

Last week, I featured some user-submitted network diagrams in a gallery that I stumbled upon while trying to get an idea of the diagramming software that is available these days.

This week, blogger Jack Wallen presents his gallery of 10 diagramming tools, and half of them are free to use. Each slide shows you an example screenshot and a short summary of the tool (plus Jack's likes and dislikes). Of course, you can do some pretty fancy stuff with some of the pricier paid versions, but depending on your needs and budget limitations, you should be able to find a tool that works well for you.

Here is a summary of the gallery list:

I think it would be interesting to see some of your efforts in documenting your networks (you and your organization can remain anonymous). Submit a network diagram for feedback from your fellow IT pros -- or just to show off -- by sending them to trol, and if we get enough entries, we'll create a gallery. Invite some constructive criticism, help spot possible problems, and display a little artistic flair by participating -- and get some TR swag for your efforts.

Send in your network diagrams between now and September 30, which should give you some time to play around with some of the tools if you haven't tried them.

About

Selena has been at TechRepublic since 2002. She is currently a Senior Editor with a background in technical writing, editing, and research. She edits Data Center, Linux and Open Source, Apple in the Enterprise, The Enterprise Cloud, Web Designer, and...

22 comments
C.bale
C.bale

If you want something free try gliffy (http://gliffy.com), which I think has a free option for one user. It's a SaaS-based tool. As for the whole "let me discover the network automatically and draw it" I would agree, and there are tools out there that do that, but bear in mind that many engineers need to draw components of the network that are not discoverable by definition.  

In that category you have opnet Netmapper (www.opnet.com) and netTerrain (http://graphicalnetworks.com/netterrain-logical-2/), the latter lets you diagram anything akin to Visio, even if you can't discover it.

Speaking of Visio and assuming your organization is large, the problem with that tool (besides the clunkiness, especially dedaling with links and the fact it is all manual work) is that it is still a desktop tool and doesn't really support web-based collaboration. 

CB

surfacepm
surfacepm

You can also check out http://surface.pm which is a free online graph-based diagram designer. Besides other things it allows you to create graph-based diagram from a text list.

Raby_Pan
Raby_Pan

Edraw is wonderful, and I have been using it for a quite long time. The most important thing is their after-sale service is very good.

Oscar Brunn
Oscar Brunn

Thank you. I used Visio and now ConceptDraw for ERD, UML, ORM, FlowCharts, etc

Anna1024
Anna1024

I checked out some of the links from the list, and none of them were free: they were just free trials for products which did not specify the trial limitations. Like: can I no longer open the product after 21 days? Can I save my work in another format first then, which I can open/view with another product then? I don't download trials which don't specify the trial limitations, because I don't like to waste my time/work.

laurielora
laurielora

I've been using Visio and ConceptDraw. Visio was always a standard tool for us and we just got used to it. However I was looking for a better templates and mac support. Firstly I've faced ConceptDraw 7 which was an interesting alternative but not very stable. Thankfully to their support I stayed with this product. Now I'm using version 9 and that's a big breakthrough in diagramming that gave me a stable product. I'm also surprised with their update policy, they release free updates with lots of cool stuff almost every month.

KlausGerome
KlausGerome

I was looking for how to make vehicular networking diagram and found it with Conceptdraw pro. I must say that I'm very impresed with this product. They call it solution park, where you can find samples and videos of what you can do with concept and updates for network diagramming drawings.

pablomarle
pablomarle

Another diagramming tool can be MaSSHandra. It creates network diagrams in 3D

flotsam70
flotsam70

Gee, maybe some of the more successful among us diagram and document our networks (or parts thereof) _before_ implementation (good luck auto-discovery ;-)). An excellent method to give yourself a chance at recognizing/correcting problems before they occur.

ddalley
ddalley

Wait... you want ME to use a tool to DRAW a diagram of a network? Don't be silly. I am running a computer on the network. Let the lazy thing discover what is on the network itself and let IT draw the diagram! In the meantime, doing this may actually be productive, IF it is be able to show me where my network is broken. Where's my suntan lotion?

lefty.crupps
lefty.crupps

plus Kivio on Linux machines, which can use Dia graphics in addition to its own, and possibly others as well.

Kevin917
Kevin917

While not specifically a Network Diagram tool it can be used for that. It's main advantage is the display of linked graphs like network diagrams. The data format is XML, a format called graphml. The editor is Java based and FREE. http://www.yworks.com/en/products_yed_about.html

Sensor Guy
Sensor Guy

It would be nice if you could just add which OS they use, Linux, OSX and Windows.

seanferd
seanferd

If you don't need to diagram a network, and you aren't in charge of a network, why would you need to diagram a network? I suppose everyone on the TV speaks directly to you, issuing commands, as well? Also, this has absolutely nothing with network auto-discovery features of operating systems and network hardware.

Dave Vane
Dave Vane

Why is everyone having a dig at ddally? I think what he is saying is that there are tools out there that will auto-discover (much of) your network and make the job of documentation much, much easier. Not all of us enjoy the luxury of good documentation. I am a contractor and have walked into jobs with extreamly complicated networks were the only documentation existed in the previous encumbant's head (probably why they were "previous"). If there are tools that give you a head-start on the mapping process why not use them?

ddalley
ddalley

But that doesn't mean I can draw or draw a network properly or accurately. I paid all of this money to get computers to work FOR me.

boxfiddler
boxfiddler

Everybody on the TV speaks directly to me.

ddalley
ddalley

"I Don't Get It Why is everyone having a dig at ddalley?" Because it is easy to take anonymous potshots at people on the web. Thanks for the Solarwind LAN tool. I will look into it.

Dave Vane
Dave Vane

Solarwinds have a nice tool called LANSurveyor. It uses SNMP and pings to map your network and will span network (just specify the IP range). LANSurveyor Express is a free download from Solarwinds and works automatically with Visio 2007 to draw an acceptable map.

rjluvkc
rjluvkc

"Oh computer,...computer....(picks up mouse and speaks into saying)...computer...a Keyboard..how quaint!"

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