Network Diagrams are essential for ensuring your have a complete understanding of how your network topology is interconnected and can give you an overhead view of whats going on in your network.
Many times, it will help you visualize where your infrastructure is lacking and what needs to be upgraded/replaced.
Having a properly documented schematic of your entire network and connections can also ensure you can troubleshoot issues in a systematic order when they arise.
Here is our list of the top ten network diagram, drawing, topology and mapping tools:
- SolarWinds Network Topology Mapper – FREE TRIAL Push a button in this diagram designer and it will automatically scan your network and create a map for you. You then have the option to adjust the layout. Runs on Windows and Windows Server.
- Datadog Network Performance Monitor – FREE TRIAL This network monitoring system also seeks out all attached devices and automatically draws up a topology map based on those findings. This is a cloud-based system.
- ManageEngine OpManager – FREE TRIAL A package of network and server monitors that includes an automated network topology mapper. Available for Windows Server and Linux.
- ConceptDraw Pro This design tool has libraries of icons that are specific to networking, such as typical depictions of switches, routers, servers, and desktops. The package can also be used to create other types of charts, diagrams, and presentations. Runs on Windows and macOS.
- Lucidchart This diagram design tool comes with a series of templates to depict different types of network diagrams, such as L2, L3, and security views. Available for Windows, macOs, Linux, and Chrome OS.
- Intermapper A network discovery and automated topology mapper that also supports network performance monitoring. Available for Windows, Windows Server, macOS, and Linux.
- Diagram Designer (Free) A nice, free diagramming tool that you can also get the source code for. Installs on Windows.
- eDraw A very sophisticated chart and diagram editor that produces great presentations. Runs on windows, macOS, Linux, and Chrome OS.
- LanFlow A diagram editing tool with icons for network topology mapping. Installs on Windows.
- Network Notepad A network diagram designer with an autodiscovery add-on to automatically collect network topology data. Available in free and paid versions, this tool installs on Windows.
- Microsoft Visio Although it is expensive and doesn’t include a network discovery function, this design tool is the industry leader. Available for Windows and Windows Server.
The best Network Diagram Software, Topology Software & Mapping Tools
Some of these software packages even automatically update your network topology map when new devices are added or removed from the network, which really cuts down on manually having to remove them yourself.
Below you will find an Extensive list of the Top (some of which are FREE) Network Diagram Software packages available for download and trials.
A brief overview of the software is listed below to give you a better understanding of what it is capable of doing.
SolarWinds Network Topology Mapper (formerly known as LANSurveyor), is one of the Best, if not the best, diagramming tools on the market right now, especially for the Price you are paying compared to Microsoft Visio.
Built in network scanning Wizard and diagramming allows for jump starting your drawings and automatic detection of new devices and changes on the network make this tool indispensable, especially with support for extensive discovery protocols and methods including SNMP, ICMP, WMI, CDP, VMware® and Microsoft® Hyper-V®, along with many more.
This tool automatically builds network maps from single scans and populates them with industry specific icons and clipart, along with providing reports for VLANs, subnet scanning, switch ports and more.
You can also exclude certain IP ranges and Subnets as needed through the Wizard. At this point, you can Group components by Roles, Vendor, Machine Type, Location, Subnet, VLAn or unidentified Nodes.
Added functionality, such as viewing only certain Layers are an added bonus for further detailed views.
You can then export your maps to PDF, PNG, Visio (.vdx file format) and even Orion® Network Atlas, along with exporting to SharePoint and other collaboration tools. PCI Compliance reports can also be exported out of this software quickly and effortlessly.
Datadog Network Performance Monitor is one of a list of infrastructure monitoring tools available from Datadog. The Datadog platform is a SaaS system, so you access the dashboard through any standard browser from anywhere. The system is able to monitor any network and can also extend its monitoring capabilities out over the internet to cloud resources.
A key feature of the Network Performance Monitor is an automated device discovery system. This runs constantly, not just when you first create an account on the service. IT will spot any changes in your network and automatically update its network inventory. The service also draws up a series of network visualizations, based on the inventory. This is a live service, so any changes detected by the discovery module are instantly reflected in the network topology maps.
The network maps are interactive and you can query each node for statuses by hovering your pointer over it, or click through to a detailed status screen.
Price: Datadog Network Performance Monitor is a subscription service, priced at a rate per host of $5 per month when paid annually or $7.20 month to month.
This service pairs well with other Datadog modules, such as the Network Device Monitor or the Infrastructure Monitor.
ManageEngine OpManager has an automatic network mapping utility built into its network monitoring capabilities. As well as monitoring networks, this system monitors servers and some applications and services. Among the services that this monitor will supervise are virtualizations and it maps the virtual infrastructure as well.
The mapper in OpManager creates network topology maps on demand. The information that these maps are based on comes from the network inventory. That inventory is constantly updated with periodic network scans. That means the topology map that you see is always based on the latest version of the network.
The topology mapper is able to present the network in a number of different formats. Here is an example of a layer 2 map, which only shows the switches on the network.
There are other layouts available. The service can plot a WAN on top of a real world map. It can show a 3D image of the office building or a floor plan with the network and all connected equipment shown. It is also able to present a rack view.
ManageEngine OpManager is a software package that is available for Linux and Windows Server
OpManager is available in four editions:
- Free for up to three devices — $0
- Standard starting at a price to monitor 10 devices — $245
- Professional starting at a price to monitor 10 devices — $345
- Enterprise starting at a price to monitor 250 devices — $11,545
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4. ConceptDraw Pro – best features overall
ConceptDraw Pro is a very versatile Business diagramming and drawing tool that doubles as a network diagram tool as well.
The software’s interface is very familiar to that of Microsoft Word 2007 in terms of button layout and menus.
Because of its extensive menu and icon layout, it is Very Easy to use due to its Drag-n-Drop functionality, making this software easy to learn and use on a daily basis with very little training.
Sample of a Diagram Created in ConceptDraw Pro
You have the ability to create custom objects or shapes and saving them for future use within the Library.
The software is Available for Download and Installation on both Microsoft Windows 7/8.1/10 (32 bit & 64 bit) and Mac OSX 10.9 and higher.
Recommended RAM for both Operating systems is 1.5 GB and minimum 500 MB of space needed to install.
Price: $199 for ConceptDraw Pro
Lucidchart has a great offering and as of lately, probably one of the top solutions for those looking to create quick and easy topology diagrams of their network infrastructure.
They have a wide array of pre-built templates that are ready for you to plug in your data and quickly modify to your needs.
Some examples of pre-built templates include the following in this image:
As you can see, you can grab an existing diagram and not have to waste time configuring and building one from scratch that will likely take twice as long to get to the same starting point as one of these.
Lucidchart has a great pricing program in place that allows for flexibility of use and allows you to quickly scale to more users if needed on the fly.
As of this writing, here is the pricing structure for Lucidchart for Network diagramming:
One of the most intersting and exciting features that stood out to us when looking at lucidchart was the fact that you could import and export Visio file format directly into Lucidchart and back out if needed.
This gives you the flexiblity to share diagrams with people who are still using Visio for their diagramming needs.
Check out their Website for more information here:
They even have a Free Trial version that you can test out and see if you suits your needs.
Intermapper is network topology mapping and monitoring software for Windows, Linux, and Mac that provides a unique, sophisticated live view of network configuration and performance.
Intermapper auto-discovers network devices and diagrams them on live network maps which users can personalize to reflect your unique IT infrastructure with hundreds of device icons, layout options, and background images.
Hierarchical mapping allows you to visualize the status of the whole network on a top-level map while drilling in to specific sub-maps by office location, floor, closet, etc.
Intermapper maps show a color-coded status of network equipment and animate live traffic flow to give you at-a-glance information on your network health that few products provide, in an easy-to-use, drag-and-drop interface.
Price: Intermapper is priced by the number of devices you want to monitor. It’s free to monitor up to 10 devices.
Subscription pricing starts at $303 for 25 devices. Device-based licensing starts at $765 for 25 devices.
You can request a quote for a more detailed price estimate.
Maintenance plans can be purchased for any paid plan, including email, live chat, and telephone support from technical experts and access to new software versions.
Find more Information about Intermapper at their Official Website:
7. Diagram Designer – Free
Diagram Designer is another very basic topology mapper, with a little more functionality then Dia, it brings a little more to the table than other software.
First off, Diagram Designer has a lot more selection of icons and symbols to choose from and has a easy interface to use as well.
More so, the program itself has a small footprint of only 2Mb, and supports Importing/Exporting WMF, EMF, BMP, JPEG, PNG, MNG, ICO, GIF and PCX file formats.
eDraw MAX definitely has the feel of Microsoft Visio and ConceptDraw Pro, with its elegant appearance and ease of use, it reminds us of using Microsoft Word, as the menu bar and ribbon is very similar to it.
This software package is more of an All-in-One business diagram software, which allows users to not only map out LAN’s and WAN’s, but produce compelling organizational and flow charts, business presentations, building plans, web design layouts and many more.
eDraw is vector-based, which means you can Zoom in as close as you want without distorting any of the objects and elements on the page, and models can scale up if needed to print in large formats easily, and more importantly, print with clear, defined lines that are not distorted from resolution issues.
This software package also has the feature to import Visio xml files and change as needed, giving you up to 2000 types of clip art bundled into the installation.
Price: Free Trial and $99 Full Edition.
Lanflow is a tool that is specifically meant for diagramming networks and computer related schematics primarily, unlike some of the previous software we discussed, that are more well-rounded in terms of flexibility and functionality (business diagramming).
LanFlow is has a drag-n-drop interface with allows you to place network equipment onto the canvas and then use “connectors” to interconnect them all.
They give you the flexibility of defining borders and line weights as well. Some of the other features this software has to offer are hundreds of share and symbols, in both black & white and 3D, Vector based designs, Snap Grid functionality for easy alignment of items, flow symbols and jogs (also known as a crossover) and much much more.
This software is fully featured and specifically designed for network mapping schematics.
Price: $99 for Single license and discounts available for multiple license purchases.
10. Network Notepad (Free)
Network Notepad (FREE) is just as the name of the software implies, a program for creating interactive diagrams of networks and their components.
This tool has a great add-on worth mentioned called “CDP Neighbor Tool” (Cisco Discovery Protocol), which is basically a function that will pull information from the CDP table of a selected Cisco device that has CDP enabled and draw and map out the network components based on that table.
Fully scalable using vector based graphics, zooming in and working on a granular level is a pleasure with no pixelated resolution and has the ability to create “Custom Shapes” for your devices within the software.
The interface of the software feels like Microsoft Word 2003 interface, with no ribbon menu as some of the other software we have reviewed.
The FREE edition runs on Microsoft Windows 9x, NT, 2K, XP, Vista, with no mention of Windows 7, 8.1 or 10.
The Professional version does however run on all the newer Microsoft versions, including Windows 10, 8, 7, Vista, XP and 2000. Just something to keep in mind when downloading it.
Price: Free version and Professional Version at £16 GBP per license.
11. Microsoft Visio
Microsoft Visio is probably the most well known network mapping and layout software among Business & IT professionals alike.
As you can imagine, the price of the Software justifies its position among the others, starting at $299 and going up to $590 for Pro Version, its no wonder that many of the software packages we reviewed above have built their interfaces around Microsoft popular Ribbon and Menu systems.
The newer versions of Visio now have added functionality that allows people to comment on your Diagrams through either Visio itself or through a Browser (using Sharepoint) and even goes as far as built in Instant messaging using either Microsoft Skype for Business or Lync.
Bundled into the software are over 70 pre-built templates and thousands of Shapes, including IT focused elements that represent Active Directory components, as well as detailed network components and Network appliances and routes.
Visio also has shapes and components for Data center, help desk, HVAC layouts, Enterprise and Home network diagramming and many more options.
Its truly a fully featured diagramming tool for not only business professionals, but for IT professionals who need serious diagramming capabilities.
One downside to Visio is the inability to scan Networks and automatically populate your diagram for you natively, although you can do this with an add-on for Microsoft Baseline Security Analyzer called Visio Connector, which can be used to scan your network and view the results in a fairly thorough Visio diagram.
Price: Visio Standard = $299. Visio Professional = $589. Visio Pro for Office 365 = $15/month
We've reviewed all the aforementioned Network Mapping Software packages listed above and Highly Recommended you do the same, as each software has its pro's and con's and Extensive list of Features and Functionality.
If you need a piece of software that will automatically map out Network Diagrams for you and keep it up-to-date, then try one of the software packages from above.