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 network diagram, drawing, topology and mapping tools:
- Auvik – EDITOR'S CHOICE This SaaS platform reaches out from the cloud to your network and searches for connected devices. It compiles a network inventory and then automatically draws up a network topology map. It scans all switch ports as well and details what devices are connected to each. Start a 14-day free trial.
- 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. Start a 14-day free trial.
- Faddom – FREE TRIAL An on-premises package that discovers network devices and maps them, also creating an asset inventory. Runs as a virtual appliance. Register for a free trial.
- 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. Get a 14-day free trial.
- ManageEngine OpManager – FREE TRIAL A package of network and server monitors that includes an automated network topology mapper. Available for Windows Server and Linux.
- Domotz A cloud-based platform that offers network monitoring for LANs and WANs and is available in a multi-tenant architecture for managed service providers.
- 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
What should you look for in network topology mapping tools?
We reviewed the market for network diagram and mapping software and analyzed options based on the following criteria:
- An autodiscovery system that lists all devices on the network
- A switch port scanner that identifies how all devices connect together
- A recursive scan that constantly rechecks the network
- A network device inventory
- A dynamic mapping tool that creates a topology diagram from network inventory data
- A free trial or a demo service that enables you to test the software before buying it
- Value for money from an automated network discovery and documentation tool
With these selection criteria in mind, we identified a group of network diagramming and topology mapping systems that offer time-saving insights into the network layout.
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.
Auvik is a cloud service that offers network monitoring and management. At the heart of the Auvik system is a network discovery and topology mapping service. As it is hosted in the cloud, the Auvik system isn’t restricted to one site. It can map any network anywhere as long as you give it access.
- Network discovery
- Topology mapping
- Network monitoring
- Network management tools
Another advantage of the cloud location of this software package is that it can be accessed from anywhere. This enables large businesses to centralize their network monitoring service and small businesses to let a single network technician track performance while away from his desk. The dashboard can be accessed from any device that has an internet connection.
The initial scan of the network creates a device inventory. This forms a menu for ongoing device monitoring and it is constantly updated.
The network topology map is drawn up automatically from the device information contained in the inventory. So, when a change occurs on the network, it is reflected in an updated inventory and a redrawn topology map.
The mapping services in the Auvik package can draw up plans at Layers, 1, 2, and 3, so you can flip between physical, switch-level, and router-level views of your system. Protocol analysis provides you with activity graphs that are segmented by application. See what are the major traffic generators and get an idea of where you can cap resource availability and share out the network more equitably. Identify interactive services and prioritize them with queueing to ensure a decent quality of service for VoIP and video streaming.
Auvik is a SaaS platform that is delivered from the cloud so its dashboard can be accessed from anywhere through any standard Web browser and it will document and map any network to which it is granted access.
- Remote access to networks from the cloud
- Autodiscovery of network devices
- Network topology mapping
- Continuously updated inventory and map
- No software inventory features
Price: Auvik is available in two editions: Essentials and Performance. The Performance plan has more features and so is more expensive. However, Auvik doesn’t publish its price list, so you have to contact the company and request a quote.
Download: Get a 14-day free trial.
Auvik is our top pick for network diagram, topology, and mapping software because it offers three layers of views in its automated mapping processes as well as the live creation of a network inventory. See details of each device and instantly understand how that device slots into the network. Get traffic data as well so that you can seal with applications that hog all of the bandwidth and prioritize interactive services.
Official Site: https://www.auvik.com/lp/see-auvik/
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.
- Runs on Windows Server
- Network scanner
- SNMP and Ping
- Attractive device icons
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.
SolarWinds Network Topology Mapper takes care of all of the work for you. You don’t need to search through your network for details about your network devices and how they link together because the autodiscovery function in SolarWinds does that for you. You don’t even need to update your topology maps because SolarWinds periodically rescans your network, spots changes, and updates the map for you.
- Uses auto-discover for automated mapping, great for larger more complex networks
- Uses multiple protocols to identify network devices, ICMP, SNMP, WMI, and CDP
- Designed to work in virtual environments and supports both VMWare and Hyper-V hosting
- Can build static maps and include devices from your network for capacity planning and testing
- Would prefer a longer trial period
Faddom agentless, self-service software that helps you visualize your on-premise and cloud infrastructure with continuous, automatic updates. It can be used to create network topology maps and application dependency maps.
- Maps network and cloud infrastructure
- Application dependency mapping
- Interactive maps
The discovery process creates an asset inventory, listing details of each encountered device. That inventory forms the reference base for a topology mapper in the package. Each node on the map is clickable and leads through to the device details page.
The discovery process repeats automatically and so spots any changes made to the network. Those changes get reflected in the inventory, which automatically updates the network topology map. The service provides live statuses on device health and network traffic flows.
Compatibility: The software bundle for Faddom includes a custom VM, so it can run on any operating system as a virtual appliance.
- Can be used for network mapping or for identifying application dependencies
- Provides a console for live network performance monitoring
- Includes network traffic flow monitoring
- Creates a hardware inventory, which is kept constantly up to date
- Creates a software inventory to aid patch management and license management
- No SaaS package available
Price: There are two editions with scalable pricing according to the number of nodes that you want to monitor. For 100 instances, the Basic edition costs $120 per month and the Standard edition costs $240 per month.
Download: You can begin by registering for a free trial.
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.
- SaaS package
- Automatic discovery
- Constantly updated topology maps
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.
- Has one of the best interfaces for network mapping
- Uses live network mapping to pull in new devices, and reflects changes in the network right away
- Features data flow analysis to help administrators understand dependencies as well as performance metrics between devices
- The subscription model makes Datadog accessible to any size business
- Would like to see a longer trial period
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.
- LAN diagrams
- WAN maps
- Server room and rack views
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
- Supports network and server monitoring capabilities built into the topology map
- Has an option to simulate and track physical connections, great for messy switches and larger complex networks
- Uses both Ping and SNMP to discover devices, making it more thorough than some smaller tools
- Maps are automatically redrawn when a device changes, keeping it up to date and accurate every time it is viewed
- Available on both Linux and Windows
- Is a feature-rich tool that requires time spent with the product to fully learn all of its features
Price: 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
Download: Get a 30-day free trial
Domotz is a cloud-based service that offers network monitoring for LANs and can unify the monitoring of several sites. It also offers a multi-tenant architecture that makes it suitable for use by managed service providers (MSPs). The system constantly polls network devices and generates a network map from the information that it gleans.
- SaaS package
- Automatic network scans
- Dynamic hierarchy-format mapping
The Domotz system installs an agent on the monitored network. This acts as a data gatherer and uploads that information to the Domotz server for processing. Domotz creates a network asset inventory from that data and then draws up the network map.
The information that helps compile the network map is also displayed as status reports. It is also stored for demand analysis and capacity planning.
Compatibility: As a SaaS package, you access the Domotz system through any standard browser. The package will download an agent onto a server on your network and this process is managed by the Domotz interface.
- Useful for centralizing the monitoring of multiple sites
- Suitable for managed service providers with a multi-tenant architecture
- Uses SNMP to poll network devices for status reports
- Creates a constantly updated network inventory and map
- Monitors physical, virtual, and wireless networks
- No endpoint agent for macOS
Price: Domotz is a subscription service and the standard plan is called Pro, with a rate of $21 per network per month. This is a flat rate and applies to networks of all sizes. An Enterprise plan is a custom package and is priced by negotiation.
7. 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.
- High-end graphics editor
- Network icons
- Useful for other business charts
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.
- Lightweight tool that uses very little system resources
- Supports Visio file format
- Integrates well with other tools like Office and Google, making it a flexible option for users who use those tools
- Supported on Windows and Mac
- No auto-discover functionality
- Does not support live devices in any way, is strictly a charting software
- Graphics and interface feel outdated
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.
- Template library
- Import and edit maps
- Desktop and mobile formats
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.
- Uses a simple color scheme and interface that makes maps look great
- Features a free and paid version
- Can import maps saved in Visio format, making this a good option if you plan to ditch Visio
- Team version allows for collaboration
- Is available multi-platform as well as on iOS and Android devices
- No autodiscovery
- Does not support live devices in any way, is strictly a charting software
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: https://www.lucidchart.com/pages/examples/network_diagram_software
They even have a Free Trial version that you can test out and see if you suits your needs.
9. Fortra's Intermapper
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.
- Network discovery and monitoring
- Live hierarchy maps
- Overlay on real-world maps
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.
- Offers a free and paid version
- Is capable of using auto-discovery to find new devices
- Features SLA compliance reporting, good for MSPs and larger networks
- Available on Window, Linux, and Mac, making it a flexible option across multiple operating systems
- The interface feels outdated, making it difficult to navigate at times
- Visual options are limited
- Maps are generally not visually appealing, not great if used in a presentation
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.
Download: Find more Information about Intermapper at their Official Website: https://www.fortra.com/products/network-monitoring-software/network-mapping-software
10. Diagram Designer – Free
Diagram Designer is another basic topology mapper. It is a vector graphics editor with a list of features that puts it ahead of its close rivals.
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.
- Free to use
- Chart templates
- Exportable maps
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.
- Highly customizable
- Supports numerous import/export file types such as WMF, EMF, BMP, JPEG, PNG, MNG, ICO, GIF and PCX images.
- Leverages file compression to support larger graphs
- Lightweight tool, can run on legacy systems if needed
- Visuals are very rudimentary, could use an update
- Is strictly for designing, does not support live device mapping
- Larger companies will likely want more from a diagramming tool
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.
- Free to use
- Chart templates
- Exportable maps
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.
- Extremely detailed, can map out rack views, LDAP connections, and permission relationships
- Supports 2D and 3D views
- Available for Windows, Linux, and Mac
- Dated and cluttered interface can feel overwhelming
- Lacks a live network component
- Cannot monitor devices on a network
- Lacks integrations found in similar tools
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.
- Networking icons
- Drag-and-drop editor
- 3D option
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.
- Uses a simple, but effective interface that is easy to use even for non-technical users
- Supports 2D and 3D modeling, good for presentations
- Can build your own icons, making it highly customizable
- Only available for Windows
- Does not support auto-discovery
- Does not support live device management
Price: $99 for Single license and discounts available for multiple license purchases.
13. 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.
- Graphics editor
- Networking icons
- Multi-user collaboration
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.
- Supports two versions, one for network mapping and another for simple charting
- Barebones interface makes this a lightweight and clutter-free tool
- Supports in-depth networking details like VLANs, subnets, and address pool
- Only available for Windows
- Only uses ping to discover devices
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.
14. 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.
- Graphics editor industry leader
- Network icons
- Topology templates
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 Datacenter, 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.
- Easy to use, part of the Microsoft Suite
- Good for network planning and theoretical designs
- Widely used file format
- Only available in Windows
- Lacks live network auto-discovery builtin (The plug-in is no longer supported)
- Fairly expensive when compared to its competitors
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.
Network diagramming FAQs
What are the different types of network diagrams?
There are two types of network diagrams. These are physical and logical. A physical network diagram shows the hardware in the network and how it connects together. A logical network diagram is a schematic that can include non-fixed links, such as “the internet” represented as a straight line.
What is a topology diagram?
A topology diagram is a physical network map. A basic topology map shows lines between network devices, representing cables. A more sophisticated network topology map can be shown on a floorplan of the premises, which ensures that the real-world lengths of the cables in the network are accurately represented on the drawing.
What is the best free tool for drawing network diagrams?
A good but basic free network diagramming tool is Diagram Designer. This tool is not very sophisticated and it doesn’t include autodiscovery.