This is my last post as an ambassador. I've had a ton of fun and appreciate everyone’s feedback and opinion. Now let’s talk about some network diagrams!

No network should be without a good visual representation of the overall design and layout. When push comes to shove any documentation is better than no documentation. For me an awesome network topology is worthy of printing it out on a plotter and handing it on my cube walls. But what techniques can you use to build great visual representations of your network that are both clean and provide adequate details?

Here are several of the techniques I use:

  1. Basic shapes for equipment. To me stencils can get messy where a plan square is simple to organize the layout of connections. I avoid rack view stencils and real images unless Im doing an elevation diagram.
  2. Separate the network into multiple pages. I usually build a separate layer two and layer three diagrams and I will also usually keep network and servers/services in different workbooks all together. Depending on the complexity I will also separate WAN, VPN services etc into their own page. This keeps each page clean and simple.

          If you get annoyed with jumping back and forth between diagrams or tabs then you can use layers. To me this adds more complex and doesn’t always work well. That could just be me though.

  1. Organize the layout in a way that can quickly represent the flow of traffic but always try to avoid crossing connections. For physical cabling and connections I like to keep lines running horizontal and vertical and never run at an angle. Angled and curved lines for me represent logical connections.


So, what are the techniques you have used?

What has worked for you in the past and what do you try to avoid?