Software for network modelling / documentation / GIS


Does anyone have any recommendations for software to do network
modelling / documentation / GIS, for a campus network? Mid-scale, a few
campuses with the largest being around 25 buildings. Free/open source
would be excellent, but commercial is also an option.

This is a live network, with very little documentation.

At the very least, I would like to document things. Ideally, though, if
I were designing the software, I would like to have an intelligent model
of the network from L1 to L3, serving not only for documentation but
also to validate existing configuration and creating new work orders.
Something like this:

  * conduit
      o has vertices (locations on the campus plant)
      o has a cross-section area
      o has links
  * link
      o has 1 port on each end
      o has media types (OS2, OM3, ...)
      o may have a cross-section area (when inside a conduit)
  * node
      o can be a switch, a router, a patch panel, an access point, a phone
      o has ports
  * circuit
      o can be a VLAN, or a VPN, etc
      o spans multiple links / nodes / circuits
      o has 1 port on each end (logical port, circuit endpoint)
  * port
      o has physical characteristics (E2000, SC, LC, ST, 8P8C, logical
        endpoint ...)
      o may have other properties (link speed, PoE)

User Bob requests activation of the network socket D-78 in his office on
building A, floor 5, room 29. An operator will use the software to
connect port D-78 on the corresponding patch panel to an available port
on a switch, and specify the desired VLAN (circuit).

The software knows where the VLAN exists and will provide instructions
on how to propagate it, taking into account redundant links. It will
also provide instructions for the physical part: take one 2m patch,
connect panel port D-78 to switch 2 port 17. Remember to bring the
keyring because that cabinet opens with a non-standard key.

If the cable guy goes on site and sees that switch 2 port 17 is already
used, he will flag an inconsistency and request another port.

Periodically, the software will go crawl the active equipments via SNMP
or somesuch and detect existing state (port VLAN assignments, port
state, link speeds, switch capacity, LLDP neighbors). If it finds any
inconsistency with the configured model, it will alert an operator.

Of course, all that is an ideal case. I would be happy if I can just use
this for static documentation: on building A, network socket D-78
connects to switch 2 port 17, and is on VLAN 30.

Does anyone know of something similar to this exist in commodity
software, outside of custom solutions developed for a specific network?
Anything between "purely for static documentation", and "this
autodetects your cables, configures your switches and sends a robot to
connect everything".

Thank you and best regards,

Israel G. Lugo

FWIW, I'm pretty sure Visio has been able to snmpwalk for many years. Some NMSes have this sort of capability, too.

This tool is not cheap, but I believe it can handle all the physical plant inventory and provisioning objectives you listed:

-mel beckman

Does anyone know of something similar to this exist in commodity software, outside of custom solutions developed for a specific network?

FWIW, I'm pretty sure Visio has been able to snmpwalk for many years. Some NMSes have this sort of capability, too.

None of these necessarily get to your ideal state, but at least get you going wrt discovery for semi-dynamic documentation.

- have not used, but has been around the block.

- have used for rudimentary discovery
- have not beat on it extensively

- used at previous $dayjob
- decent integration/exports for other common monitoring or network management tools

/r/networking may have more.

At the very least they should get you going without excessive setup time while you eval whether they fit the bill or you want something more integrated/comprehensive.


If you want to go the full stack, start open source and to have the support
and com.ext. option you can check iDoIT.

Good thing is, it has also a nice API for further automation and you can
use it as generall CMDB.

Rgds, SJ

Good day

Have you had a look at NEDI ?

While quite Cisco centric, it can, and has been extended, to other manufacturers. I previously ran it in a multisite LAN/WAN environment and the team liked it. It lacks some of the physical layer attributes I think you want - conduit IDs and such but has layer 2 connectivity , tickets, and monitoring

There is a "free" version (the previous release) and options for paid support.

Steve Benoit
Manager, Academic Technology, Information Technology
Georgian College| One Georgian Drive | Barrie ON | L4M 3X9
705.728.1968, ext. 1185 |

Thank you for the suggestions.

I've used Netdisco in the past, older 1.x version. It was nice and
useful. I've gone ahead and looked at a recent Netdisco demo and it
looks even better. Doesn't seem to include passive equipment (e.g.
cabling), though, but it might be useful even on its own.

mnet seems to be a bit more rudimentary, more towards basic discovery

As for Netdot, I've only ever used it for IPAM, but I will try it.
Perhaps with some plugins it may fit the bill.


That actually seems nice!

I tried a quick demo of the Pro version and it has a distinct DCIM-like
feel. Still not sure it can place things e.g. on a floor plant but
perhaps there's a way to integrate with some API.

The community version does lack multiple useful features, though. I'll
have to try one and the other.

Thank you,

Judging from the description on the PDF, that does seem to be very
complete. Have you used the software, had a good experience?

I don't have an idea of the price ballpark, but I can try to get in
touch with them to find out.


There is the Giiro:

Despite the content is in Brazilian Portuguese, it may work well to use Google Translator to read the overview.

The software developed was funded by the Brazilian NREN. The software is maintained by a team of research and development.


I’ve worked with providers that use it. I don’t know the pricing details, other than the providers were spending thousands of dollars a year just for software maintenance. But these organizations had hundreds of POPs. The software vendor likely charges based on capacity.


Hey, that's really interesting!

I'm from Portugal, so the language isn't a problem :wink:

From the overview, it seems to be more focused on the passive infra, but

perhaps there may be room for developing a campus side and active
equipments. I didn't find a way to access the demo, but I'll get in
touch with them to see if we can get some cooperation going. My need is
actually for a uni, so it would be a nice touch if we work together with
an NREN.