Documenting The Network

Sections of this topic

    How does the Technical Writer or Communicator document a network of machines that communicate with one another? Documenting even a small company’s network on how its machines communicate or transmit information or data can be a challenging task. This includes learning and describing how each piece of equipment operates.

    The Technical Writer has to know how each machine functions and know its varied components. The writer also has to understand how the machines communicate among themselves and to humans. The machines can consist of any of the following – backup systems, servers, laptops, peripheral’s like printers, ip addresses that identify each machine, protocols that are a set of rules for communicating, its wiring or connectors, its properties, ports, etc.

    The following is a list of suggestions to follow.

    • First, create a chart of all the equipment within the company and note the location of each. Label everything.
    • Second, get a description of each piece of equipment and its functionality.
    • Third, get a description of the software involved; set up, usage, accessibility, and maintenance.


    If a piece of equipment is connected to another device via a cable,

    • Note its description, location, functionality, and associated software.
    • Create drawings, mappings, wireframes, etc. of all the equipment that are associated and located in one area and label each item. In any organization, do this for every piece of equipment and group them into categories.

    Creating categories and sub categories.

    Break it down.


    If a laptop is connected to a printer via a USB cable, or if the laptop is connected wirelessly, create a category labelled printers. Then create sub categories of hard-wired and wireless printers.

    When creating the documentation:

    Use diagrams

    • Mappings to show functionality within the company.
    • Diagrams to show the design and the internal components of each piece of equipment.
    • Wireframes for showing the skeleton of the connections for communication.
    • Graphics to show the movement or the process for transmitting information or data.

    Create detailed documentation, including

    • Creating detailed user manuals and reference guides.
    • Listing the owners and those authorized to use the system.
    • Describing the system features, menus, what to do and what not to do, and possible error messages.
    • Describing the hardware, ports, and mechanics of the system.
    • Writing about the protocols of the system.
    • Describing how the information is transmitted, and how the machines communicate with one another.

    Pages and pages of diagrams and documentation can be created, but it can be simplified. Break it down by categories, such as regions, or procedures and processes. Create a hierarchy from the top down. At the top, state the goal. Then, as you go down, break it down by systems, then applications, then processes, then hardware, etc. till you get to the bottom where the intricacies are denoted and explained.

    If you have had experience documenting a network of systems, and wish to add to this topic, please leave a comment. Thank you.