Network mapping

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Network mapping is the study of the physical connectivity of networks. Internet mapping is the study of the physical connectivity of the Internet. Network mapping often attempts to determine the servers and operating systems run on networks. It is not to be confused with the remote discovery of which characteristics a computer may possess (operating system, open ports, listening network services, etc), an activity which is called network enumerating and is more akin to penetration testing.

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Large-scale mapping project

Images of some of the first attempts at a large scale map of the internet were produced by the Internet Mapping Project and appeared in Wired magazine. The maps produced by this project were based on the layer 3 or IP level connectivity of the Internet (see OSI model), but there are different aspects of internet structure that have also been mapped.

More recent efforts to map the internet have been improved by more sophisticated methods, allowing them to make faster and more sensible maps. An example of such an effort is the OPTE project, which is attempting to develop a system capable of mapping the internet in a single day.

The "Map of the Internet Project" [1] maps over 4 billion internet locations as cubes in 3D cyberspace. Users can add URLs as cubes and re-arrange objects on the map.

Graph theory can be used to better understand maps of the internet and to help choose between the many ways to visualize internet maps. Some projects have attempted to incorporate geographical data into their internet maps (for example, to draw locations of routers and nodes on a map of the world), but others are only concerned with representing the more abstract structures of the internet, such as the allocation, structure, and purpose of IP space.

Enterprise Network mapping

Many organization create network maps of their network system. These maps can be made manually using simple tools such as Microsoft Visio, or the mapping process can be simplified by using tools that integrate auto network discovery with Network mapping. Many of the vendors from the Notable network Mappers list enable you to customize the maps and include your own labels, add un-discoverable items and background images. Sophisticated mapping is used to help visualize the network and understand relationships between end devices and the transport layers that provide service. Items such as bottlenecks and root cause analysis can be easier to spot using these tools.

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