About Network Discovery

Updated: January 1, 2012

Applies To: System Center Configuration Manager 2007, System Center Configuration Manager 2007 R2, System Center Configuration Manager 2007 R3, System Center Configuration Manager 2007 SP1, System Center Configuration Manager 2007 SP2

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 uses the following methods to identify the subnet mask of an object:


Method Details Limitation

Router ARP cache

Network Discovery queries the ARP cache of a router to find subnet information.

Typically, data in a router ARP cache has a short time-to-live. When Network Discovery queries the ARP cache, the ARP cache might no longer contain information about the requested object.


Network Discovery queries each DHCP server that you specify to discover the devices for which the DHCP server has provided a lease.

Network Discovery supports only DHCP servers that run the Microsoft implementation of DHCP.

SNMP Device

Network Discovery can directly query a SNMP device.

For Network Discovery to query a device, the device must have a local SNMP agent installed. You must also configure Network Discovery to use the community name that is being used by the SNMP agent.

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.

For information about how to configure Network Discovery, see About Network Discovery and How to Manage Network Discovery.

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 Discovery.

  • 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 Network Discovery.

  • 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.

See Also

For additional information, see Configuration Manager 2007 Information and Support.
To contact the documentation team, email SMSdocs@microsoft.com.