Network Diagrams Redux

I want to draw some network diagrams. I have been trying to learn LibreOffice Draw. There has been much weeping and gnashing of teeth, but I think I have developed an approach to using Draw for this task.

I am using the VRT Network Equipment extension. The extension is a great start but some challenges exist.

  • A lack of sufficient glue points for complex devices. Mostly switches.
  • Glue points are not built into the actual visible boundaries of objects.

The VRT extension is licensed under Creative Commons. Users are allowed to modify the objects. I am no artist and struggle drawing a straight line with a ruler or a computer. Somebody else would need to fill the void, but adding additional glue points in the objects would be a great help. Network switch objects should be expanded to include 4, 5, 7, 8, 16, and 24 port devices with the same number of glue points. Glue points should be added to the visible boundaries of objects. A notable example is the desktop computer object. The glue points are well outside the visible boundaries and snapping connectors looks weird with the empty space.

That off my chest, I think that nonetheless Draw and the extension is a good start to drawing network diagrams. Needed is a plan and a template of some sort.

Draw defaults to 18 point font sizes. Way too big for network diagrams squeezed onto a standard Letter or A4 size paper. Related, creating text caption boxes for the network objects is helpful. New style tags are needed for device names and device information. I settled on 9 point for names and 7 point for device information, such as IP address or MAC address.

Another glitch is the default connector color is light blue, which looks beautiful on screen but fails to print. Related, the line connector width is too narrow for printing.

Some objects don’t exist, such as power-over-ethernet (POE) devices or VOIP ATAs. These need be nothing more than boxes.

Also missing is a master page.

The next step seems to be creating a network diagram template.

Posted: Category: Usability Tagged: General

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