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LANsurveyor does a great job visually mapping my network because I can really understand which devices are on which switches. The map looks like my physical network.

Many other apps I've tried prints a map, but it's hard to understand the layout. Nmap is a very wee renowned networking tool. But I don't understand the network map feature.

Now I'm looking for a tool that does the job without emptying my wallet.

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I had never seen a LANsurveyor map before and now I'm interested in something that do the same thing on the cheap. I like how it discovers what ports on the switch devices are connected to. Maybe it can help us find dumb switches too. –  PHLiGHT Sep 19 '10 at 14:39

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We were looking at something at work last week called "The Dude" for Windows by MicroTik - looks like closed source, but it is free to use. The diagram it automatically drew of our LAN switching environment was very good. We are planning to investigate it further...

If you are going to be testing lots of new Windows Network Management applications, I'd recommend using VMWare so that each install can use a "clean" Windows environment - from experience, by the time you install 2 or 3, your PC will start getting a bit crufty.

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For an open source alternative, that is not as nice as The Dude, but still works http://nmap.org/book/zenmap-topology.html

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It is built on top of nmap, and is a GUI to nmap that also builds a topology.

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