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Network Diagramming Conventions & Best Practices

I'm looking for some material on best practices for network documentation and network diagrams. The kinds of things I'm interested in are document layout, Layer 2 vs. Layer 3 conventions, common mistakes, and of course, sample documents!

Documentation in the field can be a very subjective thing. My goal is to end up with a set of templates to use internally and with clients for clear, concise network diagrams and associated documentation.

Any assistance would be greatly appreciated!

- Darren

26 REPLIES
New Member

Re: Network Diagramming Conventions & Best Practices

D-

Send me your e-mail address, and I can share a couple of sanitized drawrings and docs with you. rbowen@erac.com

I'm pretty good at drawrings...

-bo

New Member

Re: Network Diagramming Conventions & Best Practices

Regarding your sharing docs and drawings, would I have these copies so I can document my network?

My email address: tranhm@pierce.laccd.edu

Thanks.

New Member

Re: Network Diagramming Conventions & Best Practices

Would you be willing to share any documents. I also have to document our Campus Network fully. My email is is.md@stmmc.org

Thanks

New Member

Re: Network Diagramming Conventions & Best Practices

I'm also looking for a better way to document my network. I was wondering if you could send me some samples as well. My address is

Chet@webleicester.co.uk

New Member

Re: Network Diagramming Conventions & Best Practices

hello gronkhead. i love to see your layouts and drawings. i can use them for future references. my email address: bryan.hernandez@cable21.net. thank you....

New Member

Re: Network Diagramming Conventions & Best Practices

If you don't mind could you send me a copy of you santized drawing and doc.

Thanks turnerr@macdillfcu.org

New Member

Re: Network Diagramming Conventions & Best Practices

Darren,

I can send you some sample docs if you want. I took the approach of documenting by layers working from top to bottom. My documentation is threefold. (We have about 1000 users, 17 buildings spread out over a 30 mile radius. We are a government office so we also have connections to many State and Municipal networks.)

The first section is an overall picture of the network LAN/WAN showing the network and any networks coming into us. I used Visio to create the document. I also labeled each of the routers and switches with port numbers and IP addresses. I even went as far as labeling the T-1's, as well as the circuit numbers of our leased lines.

The second section of my documentation consists of the configurations of each and every router and and switch that routes. Every interface on the routers also has a description. I just used Reflection to telnet to the router and do a wr t and printed the configuration.

The third section of my documentation consists of a drawing of all the network fiber backbone and switches for each building in our network by floor and wiring closet. We color coded connections so we could tell which were fiber and which were cat5. We used Visio for this project. In this document each port of the switch is documented if it is for any purpose other than a connection for a PC.

Finally I have a document that contains a listing of every IP address for all important network infrastructure. Servers, switches, routers, firewalls, vpn's etc. I also have a Visio drawing that indicates what servers are named, what OS they run as well as their physical location.

I keep a hard copy of all of these in my briefcase as well as electronic copies on my laptop. A hardcopy is in my office as well as the computer room. This is done in the event of a disaster or systems are unavailable. We also make these documents available on our Intranet for our IT department. I don't know if this is a best practice, but that's what we're doing.

Hope that helps.

Kathleen

New Member

Re: Network Diagramming Conventions & Best Practices

That would be great. Good thinking regarding your DRP strategy. If you are able to share some "sanitized" drawings they would likely help a lot!

my email address is darren.head@wnsemergent.com

Thanks

New Member

Re: Network Diagramming Conventions & Best Practices

would also be interested in receiving copies of the sample documents.

my email address

macximuce@hotmail.com

New Member

Re: Network Diagramming Conventions & Best Practices

Hi i also think the way you set up your diagrams will be of help to me too

may you please also send me the sample so that I get a hint when I draw our network this will be of great help

my e-mail address is rsiriba@yahoo.com

thank you(in advance)

New Member

Re: Network Diagramming Conventions & Best Practices

Kathleen,

I'm also looking for a better way to document my network. I was wondering if you could send me some samples as well. My address is yolande@itas.net.

Thanks in advance.

New Member

Re: Network Diagramming Conventions & Best Practices

We take a similar approach to Kathleen, by splitting the documents up to help you quickly find things.

First, we use topology diagrams that are drawn for plotter sized paper. Our network has over 180 sites distributed throughout North America, so we've kept the information on the topology diagram to a minimum. Included are Circuit ID, DLCI (if applicable), loop back, and description. This is drawn in Visio.

Each site has it's own document, which is a set of multiple pages in Visio. The pages are:

- Cover page (with legal information about distribution, copying, and editing)

- Table of contents

- Layer 1 a: If applicable, campus layout showing buildings linked by LAN technologies like wireless, DSL, fiber.

- Layer 1 b: building layout if you can get it, describing how to get to gear

- Layer 1 c: cabinet layout, and if possible a digital picture

- Layer 1 d: physical connection layout, describing equipment connections

- Layer 2 : Carrier related info (loop IDs), encapsulation, etc

- Layer 3 : IP info on each routed interface (in Cisco doc type format)

- Flow: Special routing (policy, access lists or NAT, encryption, etc)

- Special application or support information

- Background page with logo, edit information and title for each page using Visio fields to automatically populate for the page it is on.

The core infrastructure at our data centers are split up in a similar way to the SAFE blueprint, dividing internet, extranet, remote access, server (or content switches), and monitoring into separate categories, but with the same formats as listed in the remote sites above.

We store these on a file share, listed in folders by province or state followed by city, and have printed copies for our support staff. Remember, if there is a problem in the core, or in a disaster recovery scenario you may not be able to reach a soft copy of the document!!! I've also found it helpful to print off Cisco TAC white paper pages regarding troubleshooting of various gear or technologies (like DLSw or VLANs) just in case.

It would be ideal to have your own company stencils in Visio so that if multiple people are preparing the documentation, they are at least using the same symbols for the gear. If you are getting the visio stencils from Cisco's web page, I usually edit the icons to have control points on them. Connecting devices via control point makes it much easier to move them around later when you are upgrading or changing things.

Visio has been a real help, and a problem. It works good for smaller pictures, but for the topology diagram and for fairly complex documents with multiple pages it doesn't seem to scale well. (My topology diagram with simple info on it is still 10 Mb). For this reason, we have begun to link diagrams using hypertext so that not all of the document has to be loaded or emailed across the WAN...

Thanks,

Brad.

New Member

Re: Network Diagramming Conventions & Best Practices

I would also be interested in receiving copies of the sample documents.

al_tusa@hotmail.com

Thanks

New Member

Re: Network Diagramming Conventions & Best Practices

i wouldnt mind one too please

New Member

Re: Network Diagramming Conventions & Best Practices

We are getting serious about network documentation and I would surely benefit from any examples you could send. My email address is mwm2863@bjc.org.

Thanks in advance,

Mike

New Member

Re: Network Diagramming Conventions & Best Practices

i would also be interested in receiving copies of the sample documents.

my email address is

macximuce@hotmail.com

New Member

Re: Network Diagramming Conventions & Best Practices

I would be very interested in seeing sanitized versions of your drawings format. Our head engineer is considering doing all our network drawings in a similar fashion. Thank You for your prompt response, JBM

New Member

Re: Network Diagramming Conventions & Best Practices

Hello,

Like Kathleen, I would recommend using Visio, and documenting as much information as possible, but without bombarding the reader with so much information at one time.

This is why it is better to document L1 and L3 solutions and configurations I think.

That normally has all the pertinent information needed.

Keith

New Member

Re: Network Diagramming Conventions & Best Practices

I would also be interested in receiving copies of the sample documents. Always looking to improve where I can

jmesser@cme.com

New Member

Re: Network Diagramming Conventions & Best Practices

Hi all,

I would also be interested in any network docs. I am always looking for ways to improve my network and my skills.

Thanks,

Bryan

email: bhealy1975@yahoo.com

New Member

Re: Network Diagramming Conventions & Best Practices

To everyone that requested samples from me, I'll try to get those to you by Monday. I completely forgot to check back at this forum.

Kathleen

New Member

Re: Network Diagramming Conventions & Best Practices

Kathleen

I am also interested in recieving a copy of the documentation.

Thank You

Chuck

cmielke@iengi.com

New Member

Re: Network Diagramming Conventions & Best Practices

Kathleen

I am also interested in recieving a copy of the documentation.

Thanks

Jefferson

jefferson.soletti@copel.com

New Member

Re: Network Diagramming Conventions & Best Practices

Hi,

I would be as well very happy for the samples!!!

Thanks in advance

Wolfgang

New Member

Re: Network Diagramming Conventions & Best Practices

Kathleen,

Hi, I am a newbie in networking but is very keen to learn.

I am very interested in having a copy of the document, is it alright for you to email me a copy too?

Thank you.

Dylan

Dylanloh@yahoo.com

New Member

Can I also please have a copy

Can I also please have a copy of your documents? 

I just started new job and they have very little documentation on network diagrams. 

Email: a2.utami@hotmail.com

Thank you. Much appreciated

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