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If I have no idea of the current network setup, and I'm connected to the LAN - is there any GUI that could possibly identify nodes visually or give me any sort of insight?

I'm looking for a more comprehensive solution than Window's built in Network Map, which only shows your connection.

I'm using Windows and Ubuntu.

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Presumably this is not a network you own or administer. Unless the tool is just passive (i.e. looks at the traffic coming to your node and tries to identify nodes from that) it will scan other nodes on the network. This may be contrary to the network usage policy and, in some jurisdictions, could even be illegal. –  mas Jul 16 '09 at 7:22
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I've been contracted to manage a network where no documentation of the system is available. In the home and business, some of these networks can have various hardware (Repeaters, Access Points, Cameras, A/V Equipment, Etc...) and rather than dig into walls using Toners and Cable Testers, I was thinking there could be something out there. –  Charlls Jul 16 '09 at 9:30
    
Interesting question...you might also get some good responses from the sister site serverfault.com. –  Bernard Dy Jul 20 '09 at 13:15
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I really recommend you ask this on servefault.com as well. –  Stefan Thyberg Jul 20 '09 at 16:20
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Typically, this kind of software is something offered by companies that make networking equipment and only works on their hardware. I've written something like this myself that works using ping, snmp and a database of snmp responses for certain models, it does mean snmp has to be enabled on everything though. –  Stefan Thyberg Jul 20 '09 at 16:27

13 Answers 13

up vote 19 down vote accepted
+50

The latest nmap comes with a flashy GUI that can graph network topology.

enter image description here

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how can i do this for local network?? i am trying nmap -PE -PA21,23,80,3389 -sP 192.168.1.0/24 but it show me only ring! –  Jeson Park Mar 12 at 11:51

We use NetworkView which works quite well.

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this looks promising –  Charlls Jul 16 '09 at 11:00

Have you tried something like Spiceworks? You tell it the network to scan and it will identify nearly any device on the network. Feed it SNMP and login information and it will pull specific information from those devices to help map the network. They have a network mapping utility that is still in beta, but it seems to work decently well.

Best of all, it's free.

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Visio has a plugin called LanSurveyor which will scout your network, identify nodes, and plot them out. It is put out by Solar Winds, and has a free trial. Their express version was available free through a promo which I don't know is still active or not - here's the link for that:

http://www.solarwinds.com/register/registrationformB.aspx?program=583&c=70150000000E50d&CMP=LEC-Visio-Toolbox-HP-LSE-DL

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I have used solar winds in the past and it was pretty slick! Importing right into visio sounds like a real time saver. –  Axxmasterr Aug 12 '09 at 16:18

You could try Network Notepad

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This is to create network maps, correct? Not to auto-generate them from some sort of scanner. –  Charlls Jul 16 '09 at 6:33
    
Looks like the auto discovery features may not work for you. See networknotepad.com/NNCDP.html –  LachlanG Jul 16 '09 at 6:42

If you're using Windows Vista, there's a Network Map feature built in. You'd probably have to search around for third-party tools for other operating systems.

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This probably isn't of any real use but i thought the idea was pretty cool.

Visualizing network architecture using the Quake III engine.

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Zenmap provides a very slick graphical interface for viewing network topology.

http://nmap.org/book/zenmap-topology.html

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I did not see these mentioned in this thread, so I thought I would list some of the other programs which also do this sort of thing. These are all high end programs, so don't expect to find free versions however you might get the benefit of using a trial copy just to see if you like it.

HP OpenView - Excellent tool and one of the industry leaders

CA Unicenter - Extremely high end and powerful but is difficult to set up.

Tivoli - High end tool as well.

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If you're running Windows 7 or Vista, go into the Network and Sharing center. In the upper-right corner you can click on See full map, and Windows will automatically create a diagram of your network.

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I'm looking for something slightly more comprehensive –  Charlls Jul 16 '09 at 6:21

Depending on how extensive your need is, you may want to look at network monitoring tools like OpenNMS or Nagios.

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I find that WhatsUp Gold to be an ideal program for this. All you do is point it at your network segment and it will scan and identify every device which responds back. Their website is http://ipswitch.com . There are trial versions of this software out there to be had and I am sure the company will give you a trial copy too.

This is perhaps the simplest and most intuitive tool of this type that I have used to date. It also has a web server feature which will allow you to move around the network if needed.

I find the graphics of this program certainly nice enough for a quick and dirty map of the local network. You'll find it worthy as well!

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Windows Vista and 7 Network Map

It doesn't seem to show only your connection, but rather shows other devices on the LAN. Now maybe your LAN is built such that it can't detect the other devices...

Or you could get an actual map of places using WireShark 1.2's GeoIP and OpenStreetMap support.

Actual Places

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