Step-by-step guide – Home Network Diagram

Home Network Diagram - how to visualize your home network

 

Home Network Diagram

Part of the Home Cybersecurity series

Once we have a good inventory of what is on our network, it is time to draw a diagram of what we have to get a good picture. Visualizing your home network with a home network diagram will help you to plan and visualize what you have on your network.

A typical home network is fairly simplistic. You have the router that your ISP gave you which sometimes is also WIFI. You have two networks: the first is wireless, sometimes you also have a small switch and a wired network. Here is a diagram of what we are talking about:

 

Basic home network diagram of a "starter network"

 

On the diagram we have the two networks: wired and wireless. You need to fill in what devices you have on your network. There is a great site that you can use for free – no signup needed, here is the link.  Just click start and you can make a diagram and download it.

Take out the spreadsheet that you have been gathering your information about your network and start sketching things out. I suggest you do this on paper for the first part as you can change things around easier. Just use boxes for the devices for now. Write the device name, MAC address, and the current IP.

pencil sketch of the devices on my network

Once you have the devices in boxes use a highlighter to color code which network they belong to. You can use red for your guest network, green for wired and yellow for wireless. We want to group them as they are now. We will further drill down and change things later.

Setting up a secure home network

This is the beginning of visualizing our network. But, we are not going to stop here. To make our network more secure we need a few things.

A more secure home network diagram

 

You might notice that we have added a few devices. These will help you to be much more secure and private.  The first thing that I added was a firewall. This is a hardware firewall. It is a device that protects your network before anything gets to it. You might be familiar with software firewalls. They are programs on your computer that help to weed out malicious things from getting on your computer. One of the drawbacks is that it is on your computer and that is OK for defense in depth, but it should not be your only or first defense. We will get into how to setup the firewall in another article.

The firewall that I recommend is Protectli – I recommend the 4 port model.

Protectli-Vault-4-Port-Firewall - protect your home network

Order one today and be ready for the upcoming article on setting it up.

Other equipment that we are going to add to our network are:

  • A smart switch
  • A WIFI router
  • A NAS (Network Attached Storage device)
  • A media server (This one is optional)

We are also going to use a secure VPN to keep our network safe. I suggest Proton VPN. I have used it for years and I recommend it highly.

A glimpse at my home network

Here is the start of my home network diagram.

My Home Network Diagram - This is just a start (rough draft)

As you can see, I have four networks: One Secure Wired (Cat6 Ethernet), A Secure Wireless network, A Guest Network (For friends who come over and also for our phones), and finally an IOT Network for untrusted devices.

Summing it all up

Making a diagram of your home network will help you to see your entire network better. I am a very visual person, so I love diagrams. With the MAC Addresses and the IP Addresses on the same diagram you can really see what you are starting out with. For those who followed along and have completed the spreadsheet and are now starting their home network diagram, congratulations! You have done what most people haven’t. You now know what is on your network and a lot about the devices. Well done!

If you haven’t started, go back and read the first two articles.

 

 

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Updated on December 31, 2023