[AusNOG] Diagramming Networks in 2022 - Should it be this hard?

Philip Loenneker philip.loenneker at tasmanet.com.au
Mon Oct 10 12:04:58 AEDT 2022

I haven’t used it, but I like the idea of DrawThe.Net – network diagrams as YAML which can be rendered.

It appears it hasn’t been updated for around 6 years, so if you come across any issues, you might need to follow the trail of the 116 people who have forked it to look for newer versions.

From: AusNOG <ausnog-bounces at ausnog.net> On Behalf Of Johnathon Brandis
Sent: Sunday, 9 October 2022 7:41 PM
To: Etienne-Victor Depasquale <edepa at ieee.org>
Cc: AUSNOG <ausnog at lists.ausnog.net>
Subject: Re: [AusNOG] Diagramming Networks in 2022 - Should it be this hard?

You don't often get email from jcbrandis at gmail.com. Learn why this is important<https://aka.ms/LearnAboutSenderIdentification>

Stranger these days to this forum. However,

Was recently in Bangkok for Work and I noticed in the SNOC (it was like container ships welded together), wood blocks on a wall (would have 2 x sedan long and basketball ring high) with string, visualise a tapestry. I asked the manager, what’s that. He replied, that is my network. He had used wooden blocks (including taks) with some magnetic adhesive strips as switches, and string around the taks depicting uplinks.  Switches (blocks) were different colours (red/green/orange) and had labels from a labeller, which could be peeled off easily. The coolest thing, he showed me cable tracing in this (it was pretty big network). He simply plucked it and watched it vibrate back to the switch it was connected too.

For him, it had been a success and he gave up on diagrams for the reasons you talk about. One of the upsides of travel is meeting really clever people doing things you wouldn’t have thought of.

Stay well all.

On Sunday, October 9, 2022, Etienne-Victor Depasquale <edepa at ieee.org<mailto:edepa at ieee.org>> wrote:

Last September (https://mailman.nanog.org/pipermail/nanog/2021-September/thread.html), I posted a similar question to NANOG.
The thread was titled "Telecommunications network drafting software".
You might find something helpful there.

I'll confess that ultimately, I resigned myself to:

(a) using Visio
(b) buying Visio templates (especially those for radio access networks)
(c) using basic shapes and labelling them, instead of endlessly chasing a wild goose on the Internet.

Ultimately, my humble diagnosis is that we're on our own until someone decides to take this up as a business venture.



On Sun, Oct 9, 2022 at 2:30 AM Jason Leschnik <jason at leschnik.me<mailto:jason at leschnik.me>> wrote:
Hi everyone,

Frustration has gotten the better of me, hence the post. Sorry if this isn't 100% relevant, I thought about posting on Reddit but find sometimes the replies are a bit of a dumpster fire.

We're using Visio and some very basic templating practices (common symbols, guidelines for link color/type & styles). But every time I jump into our diagrams, I'm always frustrated with how tedious it is to use Visio (possible lack of skill?) and how rigid the tool is. Moving a device/adding a new site, effectively means getting out the scissors and glue and spending an afternoon like an artisan redrawing and reflowing links. I understand there are other tools out there, draw.io/lucid<http://draw.io/lucid> which are better but still all take time and some artistic flare.

Possibly this is due to a mix of how we're using connectors (some in our team are just reverting to using simple lines now to avoid the connector reflow madness). But things like labels on links, having to chase them around the page manually, and diagrams that are difficult to read because of lack of room. Surely we're doing it the hard way?

Does anyone have examples of their "real world" diagrams (redacted of course!) to show how they do this better? All the Google-Fu I do on the subject just brings me to those "edgy" isometric Network diagrams that are used in marketing slideware.

tl;dr looking for practical Network diagram styles so I can use some of the themes in our diagrams.

Attached sample, moving anything around in this small area requires a few hours to rework everything. It shouldn't be this hard right?
[cid:image001.png at 01D8DCA0.82B815D0]
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Ing. Etienne-Victor Depasquale
Assistant Lecturer
Department of Communications & Computer Engineering
Faculty of Information & Communication Technology
University of Malta
Web. https://www.um.edu.mt/profile/etiennedepasquale
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