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Wireless Networks Thread, Documenting an existing network in Technical; Hi all, Looking for some help here! I'm still relatively new here, but have managed to get the job of ...
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    Documenting an existing network

    Hi all,

    Looking for some help here! I'm still relatively new here, but have managed to get the job of re-doing the network diagrams.

    Now, the diagrams we have are quite out of date, so a lot of it is wrong. I've been tasked with updating it all, but am completely at a loss as to how to go about it. I've only been here four months or so and haven't been allowed to have that much to do with infrastructure, so I have no idea myself of what goes where. But I'm here on my own over the Christmas holidays, so I've been lumbered with doing it.

    Any hot tips on how to figure out how it's all done?

    Cheers!

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    How much has it changed from the diagrams you have? (IE, are the switches the same as before?)

    I mean, doing network diagrams is difficult on its own but doing it on your own will suck too if you want to do it properly, i.e. working out which patch lead goes where etc?

    How many days do you have to do this in?

    I'd be looking at starting from the core and unplugging each patch lead one at a time to identify where it goes and document that first, then moving to each child switch and verifying which cable from the core is going into it and marking that.

    It's laborious at best.

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    What make are your switches? With 3com kit you can use their free network supervisor software to map out the connections between any IP devices that are on at the time (so at least all your switches and servers)

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    Thanks for the suggestions.

    The old diagrams are quite out - some of the switches have been changed, and some port locations are given as the names of people, who've either moved rooms or left entirely!

    The switches are a mix, some 3Com but other makes too. I don't think they are all managed either!

    I've got until the end of the hols, but alongside other things to be done too.

    I doubt I'd be allowed to use any of the software tools - our roles are quite segregated and I'm not a domain admin.

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    You don't need domain admin rights (or any rights, really) to map out a network, though you will be greatly aided by read-only access to network devices though (switches, routers, etc) as a decent switch will tell you which mac addresses are (or have been) connected to which port. Combine that with a dump of the dhcp leases to a csv or .txt file and you should be able to work out where most machines (and switches) are connected without leaving your chair.

    I'd start at your core switch and work outwards, checking uplinks and server connections first. Get someone to dump the dhcp leases from your dhcp server, if you can't do it yourself. Xmas holidays are a bit of a dual-edged sword with regard to network mapping - it's quiet, but everything tends to be turned off at the workstation level.

    It's the non-connected ports that will take more time - a network tester with multiple dongles is handy here, as is someone else at the other end of a cb radio. Ask the oldest member of the support staff regarding ports named after people who have left - you can identify and sort those easily.

    If you're feeling ambitious, you could integrate the information into a Nagios ( www.nagios.org ) config for monitoring purposes. The bonus being that if someone changes something, Nagios will bleat until they change the config to match. Items in nagios can be linked to wiki entries using the hostexternalinfo setting.
    Last edited by pete; 23rd December 2008 at 04:47 PM.

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