Best Practices

Topology Discovery

Topology discovery, the process of discovering and mapping network devices and links, is vital for a network’s efficiency.

With the advent of Virtual Infrastructure and mobile computing, current networks often alter dynamically, and automatic topology discovery is essential for monitoring network state, to identify bottlenecks and failures, and to ensure optimum network efficiency.

Discovery methods functioning at Layer 3 locate and identify devices, their roles and attributes. These approaches include:

SNMP Discovery

The SNMP manager software (present in the discovery tool), queries the SNMP-enabled devices in the network (which would be just about every device in your network!) The devices and the manager then exchange MIB (Management Information Base) data. Based on these SNMP queries and replies, the manager then builds up the network map, complete with details on device location, role and attributes

Active Probes

In this approach, the discovery tool sends out light-weight executables (the “probe” packets) through the network. The probe scans the network, and transmits device-related data back to the discovery tool through a secure communication channel

Route Analytics

This method uses protocols like OSPF and EIRGP to map networks

WhatsUp Gold Topology Maps

topology map example

WhatsUp Gold Network Topology Map

WhatsUp Gold is a topology discovery tool that scans networks in minutes, and generates granular, real-time topology maps at both Layer 2 and Layer 3 levels. With methods including SNMP Discovery, IP Address Scan, host file import at Layer 3; and ARP cache discovery and Ping sweep techniques at Layer 2; the network device discovery tool WhatsUp Gold offers administrators a quick, efficient solution that discovers, maps, documents and troubleshoots networks.

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