Network Discovery searches your network for IP-enabled resources by querying Microsoft DHCP servers, Address Resolution Protocol (ARP) caches in routers, and SNMP-enabled devices. Network Discovery can also search Active Directory domains and IP subnets.
To successfully discover a resource, Network Discovery must be able to identify the subnet mask in addition to the IP address of the resource. Because you can have many different types of devices connected to the network, Network Discovery often finds resources that cannot support the Configuration Manager client software and therefore cannot be managed by Configuration Manager.
Network Discovery can provide an extensive list of attributes as part of the discovery record, including the following:
- NetBIOS name
- IP addresses
- Resource domain
- System roles
- SNMP community name
- MAC addresses
Complex networks and low bandwidth connections can result in Network Discovery running slowly and generating a lot of network traffic. As a best practice, run Network Discovery only when the other discovery methods cannot find the resources that you need to discover. For example, use Network Discovery if you need to discover workgroup computers because they cannot be discovered by the other discovery methods.
Network Discovery actions are recorded in the log file netdisc.log in the <InstallationPath>\Logs folder on the site server.
Network Discovery Types
You can use Network Discovery to discover your general network topology. For more information about discovering your networks topology by using this method, see How to Determine Your Network's Topology.
There are three levels of network discovery:
- Topology: This level causes Network
Discovery to discover IP-addressable resources, such as subnets and
routers, by using SNMP. For an example, see Topology-Only Network
- Topology and client: This level
additionally discovers potential clients such as computers and
resources, such as printers and routers, by using SNMP, DHCP, and
the Windows Browser. For an example, see Topology and Client-only
- Topology, client, and client operating
systems: In addition to topology and potential clients, Network
Discovery also determines the computer operating system name and
version by using SNMP, DHCP, Windows Browser, and Windows
Networking calls. For an example, see Topology, Client, and
Operating System Network Discovery.