How to Start Network Infrastructure Mapping | Lucidchart Blog
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As businesses continue to evolve and technology continues to advance, many organizations are making changes and improvements to their network infrastructure. More often than not, it helps to visualize your network infrastructure so you can better identify weaknesses and pinpoint places for refinement—that’s where network infrastructure mapping comes in handy.

Cisco Multiple ISG Diagram
Cisco Multiple ISG Diagram (Click on image to modify online)

What is network infrastructure mapping?

Network infrastructure mapping is where you literally map out your network infrastructure. This is also often called network infrastructure topology. You make a map that includes everything from routers and wireless access points to devices, firewalls, and more.

Mapping your system is typically done with a network infrastructure diagram, sometimes called a server infrastructure diagram. These IT diagrams are essentially the backbone of your network. They help engineers and IT professionals better understand the network so they can better manage and improve the network experience for users.

GCP architecture
GCP Architecture: Websites > Dynamic Hosting (Click on image to modify online)

The value of network infrastructure mapping

Today, companies are quickly growing, adding more and more remote workers, and with information being transmitted quicker than ever before. So it’s critical to have an in-depth understanding of your system and how it operates, like how the network is hosted to each device, such as laptops, phones, and tablets.

You can leverage a network diagram if you have multiple centrally located servers on-premises, if you host your product using a cloud-based platform like Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, or Google Cloud, or if you have multiple employees or users with devices across multiple offices.

Microsoft Azure basic web application
Microsoft Azure: Basic Web Application (Click on image to modify online)

Network diagrams provide an elevated perspective of your system, giving you a bird’s-eye view of the network’s complexity and interconnectivity. Network infrastructure provides many benefits that help you:

  • Better understand your network: A visual representation of your network can give you a drastically better sense of how your network is set up and how everything works together. Through visuals, you can also bring others, including new members of your IT team, up to speed quickly on your network and systems.
  • Better troubleshoot issues: Don’t guess at what might be wrong. When you can visualize your system, you can more accurately pinpoint errors and troubleshoot issues when they arise.
  • Make informed improvement decisions: When improving or updating your network or adding new devices, refer back to your network diagram and determine how devices will connect to the Internet or where you have port space available.
  • Improve compliance: Ensure you are compliant with the security requirements and have the appropriate firewalls and access control measures in place.
  • Standardize processes: When you use visuals, you can help standardize hardware and software at your company as you scale.

While there is paramount value in network infrastructure mapping and network diagrams, the rate at which systems are prone to change can make it difficult for these diagrams to stay relevant and updated. A cloud-based visual workspace like Lucidchart is a critical component to reap the benefits of these IT diagrams.

Why use Lucidchart?

Lucidchart is one of the leading platforms for individuals and businesses who want to build topology diagrams of their network infrastructure. The Lucidchart interface is cloud-based intuitive and easy to use and includes a wide range of network and Cisco shapes.

Cisco Network Diagram
Cisco Network Diagram (Click on image to modify online)

Explore the many benefits of choosing Lucidchart:

Collaborate and increase understanding throughout the company

The information on your network diagrams need to be accurate so you can confidently troubleshoot and improve your system. To confirm that information that is complete and exact, share your diagrams with IT teams using URLs or by embedding it in wiki. Or, use the in-editor commenting feature to easily provide and solicit feedback on the diagram itself to make certain you have the best information available to keep everyone on the same page.

Integrate with tools like Confluence, Jira, and more

Work without jumping from tool to tool. Lucidchart integrates with other leading platforms. Import your existing AWS architecture, and share or present diagrams using integrations such as Google Slides, Atlassian, and Slack. Lucidchart makes it quick and easy to insert diagrams directly into Jira (Server or Cloud) or Confluence so you can sync information and keep your employees in the know at all times.

Save time with templates and network shapes

Lucidchart has templates that can help you get started with your infrastructure maps, from Cisco Network Diagrams to GCP Payment Processing Architecture. If you opt to build your own diagram from scratch, Lucidchart has a library filled with the specific shapes for network diagramming, from modems to biometric readers to the new AWS shapes library.

AWS Web Application Hosting

Example of AWS Web Application Hosting (Click on image to modify online)

Track your changes with layers

Map your current and future state network diagrams using layers in Lucidchart to identify weaknesses in your network. Layers help you to track the changes you’ve made over time, while easily being able to toggle back and forth between versions.

Use hotspots to link to more resources

If your network is complex, it’s likely that you may end up with multiple pages of diagrams. Hotspots let you link to other pages within Lucidchart and even let you show, hide, or toggle layers. This functionality can help anyone viewing your diagram know exactly where to look next without having to navigate an entire page worth of diagrams.

Work from anywhere, on any device

Lucidchart is a cloud-based platform so you’ll never have to worry about cumbersome installations or worry whether or not it will work on your operating system. Instead, confidently work with anyone, anytime, from anywhere, on any device. This will allow your teams to make changes whenever necessary, without relying on one or two people with compatible devices.

Reduce the risk of outdated information

Because Lucidchart is cloud-based, you can easily make changes to your network diagrams, and it’s instantly available for viewing. Never worry if you have the “current version” again. Lucidchart allows you to track version history of your diagrams, so you can always look back and see how documents have changed over time.

Stop wasting your time trying to find the latest version of your network infrastructure (Maybe Julia has it? Or was it, Steve?). Boost your system understanding and make game-changing improvements today—try Lucidchart for free.