Case Study Naming Conventions

A naming convention, or scheme, that is easy to use should be employed in any network for which you are responsible. A naming convention should scale with the network as it grows. The purpose behind a naming convention is to make network documentation easier to prepare, and assist with network maintenance and troubleshooting. For example, a network engineer new to the company's operations would be able to easily recognize the function and purpose of a device so named HQ_7500Router_WAN rather than the same device referred to as Sprint Router.

A good naming scheme would incorporate the geographic location of the device. Use the following design: Geographic location_Network Device Division or Segment_Miscellaneous Identifier

For example, a switch located at an organization's corporate headquarters could be named in one of the following fashions:

• Chicago_Switch

This reflects a network switch located at corporate headquarters, in this case located in Chicago, Illinois. A network device being used by a particular division or building floor might use the following scheme:

• Chicago_Switch_Marketing

• Dallas_5509_Floor4 (Dallas_5509_4thFloor)

The Miscellaneous Identifier gives flexibility in identifying the network device in question.

For example, NewYork_Router_IT_Backup, clearly identifies where and what the network device in question is (Router in New York), the network segment (IT), and the devices function (Backup).

A naming convention should be easy and comfortable to use, and a single naming convention cannot work with every network. These are examples of what can be called a "generic" convention, but one that certainly is useful and flexible. If you have found a different scheme that works, then please continue to use it. The idea is that if someone else looks at your network documentation, that person can easily determine the topology.

This same naming convention can be globally deployed and supported across the organization by the use of a domain name server (DNS). By deploying the naming scheme across the domain with DNS, administration and inventory are easier to manage. Troubleshooting is also facilitated in a more manageable fashion than without the use of naming.

For example, the following trace route command would not be of much help to an engineer without the names (unless the engineer was fortunate to know to which device each network address was assigned):

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