Undocumented networks are extremely common. Many times this is related more to the difficulty of keeping the documentation up to date rather than to the difficulty of the documentation process itself. Many LAN Administrators had big dreams at one time of keeping elaborate drawings detailing every last aspect of the network. However, networks tend to change too frequently for such drawings to stay current. In spite of the difficulty, having a well documented network can help you solve problems quickly when they arise and is vital to the overall security of your network. In this article, we’ll discuss some alternative documentation methods that are more practical in the ever changing world of networks. Label Everything
Perhaps the most important part of a good network documentation plan is to label everything. You should create the labeling scheme with the idea that the structure of the network will be constantly changing as will the people who use the network.
Perhaps the most important thing to label is your network cables. If you’ve been networking for very long, you’ve probably seen way too many network closets that contain a massive web of tangled cable. Usually all of this cable looks alike, and it’s impossible to tell which cable connects to what without some extensive diagnostic work. Most of the network administrators that I know are way too busy to have time to fish through a million cables hoping to stumble upon the correct one every time that there’s a problem.
Because of this fact, you should label both ends of each cable as to what the cable does. This label should be written in such a way that in five years when you’ve moved on to another job or have totally forgotten all of the stuff that you did today that the labels will still make sense.
Although it may seem way too obvious, this means making the cable legible. Wrapping the cables in masking tape and writing on the tape is a bad idea. These sort of...