What Is Network Mapping?

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  • Written By: R.James
  • Edited By: C. Wilborn
  • Last Modified Date: 04 November 2019
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Network mapping, otherwise known as Internet mapping, is a group of tasks used to study Internet connectivity and determine how network systems are operated. In effect, network mapping develops visual materials that can be used for a large variety of purposes, ranging from business to national security. Mapping makes use of software to identify operating systems and other technical information, but can also provide a better overall understanding of how different networks operate.

Basic network mapping tasks include flow charts, network diagrams, and device inventories. More advanced techniques, such as active probing, can be used to create network maps and to analyze the network and its processes further. Active probing gathers information on the system by sending probe packets into the network. After probes are released, they report back information on the IP details of the network. This information can be used to determine how the networks operate, which can then be used to map the system.

Networks are now a fast growing system even outside the corporate world, making mapping such a valuable concept. These networks tend to be overwhelmingly complex, however, especially as they grow larger and involve different devices and connections. Mapping deciphers these complex networks and breaks them down into segments that are more easily understandable. As mapping takes place, network systems can be visualized to communicate how the network operates.


The utilization of network mapping does have its downsides. Setting up a mapping system can be burdensome in itself, and the keeping the system running properly can be even more toiling. Without proper maintenance, the network map will not be effective if new devices or connections are added.

Network mapping tools can be extremely important when placing the system into effect. The range of software that can be implemented includes both open-source and commercial software. Some programs use less automation, whereas others may require less effort. For network engineers, mapping is conducted without the need for automation. Automated mapping tools usually incorporate network discovery methods to construct network maps.

In terms of business, network mapping is used to create comprehensive maps of the Internet business network. Network mapping creates a visualization of the network. It shows relationships between devices throughout the network that, afterwards, can be used to better understand and analyze the system.


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