Network Management Documentation & Diagrams | CompTIA Network+ N10-007 | 3.1

In this video you will learn about network documentation such as:  diagram symbols, standard operating procedures/work instructions, logical vs. physical diagrams, rack diagrams, change management documentation, wiring & port locations, IDF/MDF documentation, labeling, network configuration & performance baselines, and inventory management.

Diagram Symbols

Diagram symbols are useful for mapping the connections in a computer or telecommunications network.  Network diagrams can show everything from high-level networks, such as connectivity across cities, to more granular networks, such as an office building’s network.[1]  Your IT department should utilize standard templates to represent objects in network diagrams consistently; in addition to providing legends that clearly delineate one network device from another.[2]

Standard Operating Procedures/Work Instructions

A standard operating procedure (SOP) is a set of step-by-step instructions compiled by an organization to help workers carry out routing operations.  SOPs aim to achieve efficiency, quality output and uniformity of performance, while reducing miscommunication and failure to comply with industry regulations.[3]  Whenever possible, it is important to document the procedures your IT staff are to follow given certain network conditions; for example, steps for dealing with an Internet outage could aid staff members in taking quick action & minimizing disruptions.[2]

Logical Diagrams

A logical network diagram depicts how information in the network flows.  In a logical diagram, the following elements in a logical network topology are typically displayed[4]:

  • Subnets (such as:  IP addresses, VLAN IDs, & subnet masks)
  • Network objects (routers & firewalls)
  • Specific routing protocols
  • Routing domains
  • Voice gateways
  • Traffic flow
  • Network segments

Logical diagrams make network management easier in the following ways[4]:

  • Troubleshooting:  If service is out somewhere between 2 IP addresses, using a logical network diagram to quickly rule out an issue caused by a firewall.
  • Firewalls:  With logical network diagrams, you can ensure firewall rule-bases remain accurate.
  • Eliminate Redundancies:  Logical network diagrams will clearly help determine what isn’t redundant, and what is.
  • Capacity Planning:  Although physical network diagrams are instrumental in capacity planning, logical diagrams also help.  With them, you can map out expanding or changing the network & see what will impact what.
  • Sharing Network Information:  If you need to share information about the network, but want to conceal physical information about the network, you can use a logical network diagram.

Physical Diagrams

A physical network diagram illustrates the interconnection of the devices in the network with wires & cables.  The physical network diagram reveals the network topology with all the physical aspects, such as ports, cables, racks, servers, specific models, etc. usually used by IT professionals, they are used to visualize the communication scheme of the network arrangement in residences or offices.[5]

Rack Diagrams

A rack diagram, also known as a rack elevation, is a visual representation of the organization of IT equipment within a server rack used to track & manage data center assets.[6]

Change Management Documentation

It is critical that change controls be in place in your organization as well as careful documentation when changes actually take place; this helps ensure the accuracy of network information and can prove critical in security response and troubleshooting operations.[2]  Change management also does the following[7]:

  • Process to coordinate the change needed by business.
  • Authorizes changes & coordinates change timelines to avoid conflict.
  • Responsible for governance, not execution activities.
  • Ultimately to support the change owner & the implementation of a successful change.

Wiring & Port Locations

Wiring & port location documentation allows you to track cable runs from switches and map them to the actual wall jacks where users connect to your network; these connections might also represent trunks to additional network devices such as wireless access points.[2]

IDF/MDF Documentation

An intermediate distribution frame (IDF) is a distribution frame in a central office or customer premises, which cross connects the user cable media to individual user line circuits and may serve as a distribution point for multipair cables from the main distribution frame (MDF) to individual cables connected to equipment in areas remorse from these frames.[8]  Diagrams are also crucial for IDFs and MDFs.  These distribution and core facilities house critical network data and devices, and proper documentation can aid in all forms of maintenance and security.[2]


Proper labeling in diagrams as well as on physical equipment can ensure that such documentation is as useful as possible.  Today’s networks & data centers house a large number of diverse bandwidth-related devices.  These devices are interconnected by networking equipment, so a systematic labelling scheme will provide transmission pathways for mission-critical data to flow across the entire networked infrastructure.[9]

Network Configuration & Performance Baselines

Documenting base configurations for network devices as well as capturing data utilization & bandwidth consumption during “normal” business operations might also include taking service-level agreement (SLA) measurements during this time.  Without this baseline information, it can be nearly impossible to gauge subtle performance problems.[2]

Inventory Management

Network inventory management is the process of keeping records of all the IT or network assets that make up the network.  It enables network administrators/businesses to have a physical record of all IT & network equipment within the organization.  Network inventory may include[10]:

  • Number or routers, their make, type & place of installation, serial numbers
  • IP addresses of all devices/nodes, IP addressing scheme used
  • Number & type of software along with license keys and expiry dates.

This data helps businesses with:

  • Network size estimation
  • Network capacity planning
  • Network cost/ROI estimation
  • Physical network administration (to deal with device/equipment loss and theft)


  1. Network Diagram Symbols and Icons. Lucidchart.
  2. Sequeira, A. (2018). CompTIA Network+ N10-007 Cert Guide. pg. 39.
  3. Standard operating procedure. Wikipedia.
  4. Ash, H. (2018, Sep 5). What is a Logical Network Diagram? Graphical Networks.
  5. The Physical Network Diagram Explained. Wondershare EdrawMax.
  6. Rack Diagram. Sunbird.
  7. Yale University Change Management Process Guide. Fruition Partners. pg. 3.
  8. Intermediate distribution frame. Wikipedia.
  9. Standards-based Labelling: The Key to Effective Network Cabling Plan. Bicsi.
  10. Network Inventory Management. Technopedia.