The network map is a very cool new feature in Windows that allows you to visually see on your network is connected together. It is part of the Networking & Sharing Center. Lets take a look at this cool new tool.
If you have been following along this week I am sure you are sick of seeing me show you how to get to the Network & Sharing Center console, but remember some people just get to this one article first
- Click on your start menu and right click on Networking and choose Properties
- Right above your graphical mini map you will see the words “View Full Map”, go ahead and click on that
- Once you click it another Window will pop up and you will see a message “Windows is creating a network map”
- Next you will see a topology layout of your network
How the Network map works is by using Link Layer Topology Discovery (LLTD) and for computers or devices to respond properly they need to have the LLTD responder loaded.
As you can see the Xbox 360 got a update that gave it LLTD functionality. Unfortunately Windows XP machines do not have the LLTD responder by default and that is why you see the two computers at the bottom. This was fixed in Microsoft KB 922120, you can download the responder from there and install it on your XP machines.
Now if you move your pointer over one of the devices on the map you will see its IP address and also its MAC address. Very helpful if you are troubleshooting or trying to isolate a machine quick and easy.
If you need greater information on the device you can right click on them in the network map and you will have several options including enabling or disabling and getting the properties
The properties can give you access to the devices manufacturer website and model numbers
You can also connect to the machines right from the Map by clicking on them, though if they require authentication you will still have to provide those credentials.
Also if you are connected to multiple networks through different NICs then you can use the dropdown menu to see your other network maps.
One limitation that must be noted is that the LLTD protocol is not routable so for this to work all the devices have to be on the same subnet.
Though the Network Map looks a little bit like fluff on the surface, as you closer at the functionality you can see that it adds real value when working on a home network for users that might not be as tech savvy as some.