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. 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.
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.
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.
Solarwinds Network Topology Mapper
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.
Price: FREE Trial for 14 Days and $1495 thereafter. Get a Quote on Professional Version.
Cade Software is a 2D vector Editor for the Microsoft windows platform. It is FREE and can be used over the Internet through either a web interface or the actual Desktop software itself. It boasts a “locking/unlocking” feature that allows multiple users to work on the drawing at the same time. The Layouts, Drawings and Diagrams can then be viewed on the internet through a web browser without the need for any additional plug-in’s.
CADE Software uses file formats that are similar to other CAD programs, such as Autodesk Autocad and Microstation, utilizing the DXF 12 format for all its files. This allows the program to export Drawings and Maps out to various different formats, including EMF, JPG, PDF and XAML. The Server portion of the software gives users the ability to collobarote and share documents over the internet, as specifiied earlier. The server communications over the internet using XML format data and needs minimal software packages to get up and running, most notably PHP support.
Dia, based on Microsoft Visio, is basic business and network mapping tool that has no frill or thrills in terms of GUI and appearance. It now runs on Linux, Unix, Max OS X and Windows under GPL License.
Dia gives you the ability to create network maps which can then be saved in a custom XML format and also be exported out in EPS, SVG, XFIG, WMF and Png file formats, providing either a vector graphic file or a PNG file format.
See our full Review of Dia here!
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.
NetProbe isn’t your typical drawing tool, its more of a real-time device monitoring software for networked devices, that also gives you the ability to graphically draw elements on your network after its been scanned. This allows for better visualization of how your network is actually laid out and how everything is interconnected after the initial network scan and layout by the software.
From the looks of the actual software, the images of components are just that, images, and may not be scalable (vector graphics), so keep that in mind if you are looking for something that will Print and scale up correctly. The software is primarily made for monitoring network connected devices, but is definitely worth a mention due to its diagram capabilities.
Price: Standard Version: FREE (up to 8 hosts), Pro version is $40 (up to 20 Hosts), Deluxe is $80 (up to 45 hosts) and Enterprise is $295 (up to 400 hosts).
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.
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.