Network device naming standard

Update - February 21, 2013

The traditional naming convention of <constituency>-<devicetype>-<building>-<floor>-<TR>-<order> has been deprecated. See below for more information.

A device is loosely defined as an infrastructure device that is not normally accessed by the general public, but rather only by IT support staff. For example, this would include network switches and routers, or security cameras, but not such things as printers. We recommend that IT support groups on campus adopt this standard, for consistency and usability.

The following naming convention is intended for access layer devices. That is, any device downstream from a distribution router; dist-rt-mc & dist-rt-phy, currently.



Wireless Access Points (AP) - WN-AP-<building>-<devicetype>-<TR>-<order>
ResNet Devices - RN-<building>-<devicetype>-<TR>-<order>


building is the official University of Waterloo building code where the device is located (or connected in the case of an AP).

devicetype is one of:

Abbreviation Description
aaa Authentication and Authorization Appliance (e.g. RADIUS server)
ac Air-Conditioner
ace Application Control Engine
ap Wireless Access Point
cam Security CAMera
co COnsole server
em Environmental Monitor
kvm Keyboard/Video/Mouse switch (KVM)
naa Network Authentication Appliance (NAA)
rt RouTer
sa Security Appliance
sw SWitch
toc Traffic Optimization Controller (shaper or otherwise)
ts dialup Terminal Server
ups Uninterruptible Power Supply
  • (In those cases where a switching device is configured for routing, use rt for devicetype, not sw.)
  • TR is an alphanumeric designator for the telecommunication room in which the device is located (or connected in the case of an AP).
  • device is an alphanumeric designator, defining a specific device in the TR. Information Systems & Techonology (IST) uses a single-character letter a-z; others might use variations such as a department, etc.

Legacy examples:

as-sw-mc-1-2-b is an Academic Support switch in MC, on the 1st floor, in TR 2, and is device b (implying there is a device a).

lib-sw-lib-10-1-c is a Library switch in the Dana Porter library, 10th floor, TR 1, third (c) switch.

eng-sw-e3--1234-me1 is an Engineering switch in E3, floor left unspecified, in TR 1234, and is device me1.

New examples:

qnc-rt-2508-a is a router in the Quantum Nano Centre, in TR 2508, and it is the first (a) router in this location.

qnc-sw-2508-b is a switch in the Quantum Nano Centre, in TR 2508. It is the second (b) switch in this location.

The last components are optional for the higher layers of the network, such as core switch/routers and aggregation devices. For example, the 2 campus core switches will be named cn-rt-mc and cn-rt-phy and the campus external router in MC will be ext-rt-mc.

We have adopted a convention for naming VLANs, keeping the names deliberately short to adhere to the HP name size limitation.


Where nettype is one of:

Type Description
mgmt Network Management Network
wifi Wireless Management Network
voip IP Phones Network
bldg Building Network (ie: Security/PlantOps)
user User Network
dot1x 802.1x Unauthenticated Network
dyn Completely Dynamic User Network
unauth Legacy 802.1x Unauthenticated Network
auth Legacy 802.1x Authenticated Network
lab Lab computer subnet
srv Server Room subnet

The additional VLANS of the same type should have a number appended:

  • qnc-user
  • qnc-user2
  • qnc-user3, etc.

Name registration

Router Loopback and management addresses should always be private and registered in the domain.

An alias should be created for building routers, in the form:



$ host hs-rt is an alias for has address has IPv6 address fd74:6b6a:8eca:400:f001:400:0:1

.0 network addresses should be the VLAN name -net with a .ns (internal zone) or .nsx (external zone) suffix, in the domain. This information is necessary for the /etc/networks file.


$ host domain name pointer

Gateway addresses should be in the form:


Private gateway addresses should be in the zone, and public gateway addresses should be in the zone. This ensures that PTR records are always automatically generated.


$ host domain name pointer

$ host domain name pointer

We have also adopted a convention for naming interfaces on the routing devices as follows:


Where interface

is the short-form internal device interface name, such as v932, f0-12, or g1-0-23, and devicename is the name of the device as defined above.

For example, for a link between cn-rt-mc and as-rt-lib that existed on interface Vlan672, the cn-rt-mc end would be named v672-cn-rt-mc, and the as-rt-lib end would be named v672-as-rt-lib.

Physical device names often contain a ‘/’ character; we will translate that to a dash ‘-‘, as in the examples above. For example, interface FastEthernet0/12 will be f0-12 and interface GigabitEthernet1/0/23 will be g1-0-23.


$ host domain name pointer