Networking / Beginners

Working with Network Map

When mapping is permitted by Group Policy and discovery is enabled, Network Map provides an expanded graphical depiction of the network configuration and connections. You can access Network Map by following these steps:

  1. Click Start and then click Network.
  2. In Network Explorer, click Network And Sharing Center on the toolbar.
  3. In Network And Sharing Center, click View Full Map.

Note: In a standard configuration, computers running Windows Vista can create a summary network map like the one available in Network And Sharing Center. Any more detailed network mapping, however, is only permitted when network discovery is enabled and when allowed by Group Policy.

When you click View Full Map in Network And Sharing Center (and both discovery and policy settings allow it), Windows Vista generates a map of the current network. Computers and devices that are discovered and can be placed on the map are shown with lines that depict how they are connected. Computers and devices that are discovered but cannot be placed on the map are listed at the bottom of the page.

On the network map, any problems with the network configuration or connections are depicted with warning icons. A yellow warning icon indicates a possible configuration issue. A red X indicates a lack of a connection for a particular network segment. Clicking a warning icon starts Windows Network Diagnostics, which tries to identify the network problem and provide a possible solution.

Several helpful links are provided. You can open Windows Help And Support by clicking the Why Are Some Computers And Devices Missing link. You can open Network Explorer by clicking the View Computers And Devices link.

Network Map can be useful in some situations. However, because it allows discovery of an organization's internal network, which can put the network at risk, network mapping is disabled in Group Policy by default. Group Policy settings for controlling network mapping are found under Computer Policy\Administrative Templates\Network\Link-Layer Topology Discovery. For a computer to discover other computers for mapping, Turn On Mapper I/O (LLTDIO) Driver must be enabled in a Group Policy Object being applied to the computer. For a computer to be discovered by other computers, Turn On Responder (RSPNDR) Driver must be enabled in a Group Policy Object being applied to the computer.

When you enable either or both of these settings, you can also specify how this feature should work. In most cases, if you allow mapping, you'll want to configure the settings to allow operation while in the domain and prohibit operation while in a private network. Only allow operation on a public network when there is a specific requirement to do so and then only allow it for the individual computer or computers that require mapping.

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