An investigation of network management

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Information Technology


Faculty of Computing, Health and Sciences


Modern information networks are so integral to everyday business and society that even short period of downtime can adversely affect many thousands of users. Because of the inherently heterogeneous nature of network devices and protocols, these networks are typically administered using a range of command-line interface (CLI) tools and graphical user interface (GUI) tools from many different vendors. Mastering all these different tools takes time and experience and it is often hard to get an integrated, high-level view of the network. This means network administrators may inadve1iently misconfigure their systems or overlook a potential threat.

To explore some of these issues, this project evaluated State Model Diagrams (SMDs) as both a network administration tool and as a way of teaching administrators about fundamental networking concepts. SMDs are an abstract modelling tool that allows experienced practitioners and novices to grasp the complexities of network administration by identifying essential networking objects, processes, and concepts without getting bogged down in too many distracting details.

In 2007 and 2008, ECU post-graduate students doing networking courses were given a comprehensive demonstration of SMDs. The students then completed a questionnaire on how they thought SMDs compared to other network tools and how they thought SMDs could be practically applied. A result of twenty (48.8%) of positive responses from among 41 participating students have clearly demonstrated that SMDs were potentially useful as a NM tool for managing network systems and provided a richer conceptual understanding aligned with that of an expert.

In this research study, the results showed that SMDs would help most of the participants understand and administer their networks, and a majority believed that SMDs would help reduce the fundamental complexity of their multi-tool work environment. Lastly, fu1iher research is required with a larger and more varied population but the results so far indicate that SMDs are a valuable tool for network administrators.

LCSH Subject Headings

Computer networks -- Management.

Computer networks -- Simulation methods.

Computer network protocols.

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