The SANDS visual language is specifically designed to accommodate abstract visualization of: communication networks including legacy telecom, radio and TV networks, data and/or mixed communication networks, network function virtualization (NFV), and ultimately software defined networks (SDN). Visualization of data and telecommunications network architecture (topology) is not standardized, there are no universally accepted schematics equivalent to ones used by electrical engineers. The goal is to standardize an appropriate notation i.e. SANDS.
Based on empirical reviews over almost ten years of observations, and intensive experimentation, we found the proposed notation to be beneficial for quickly creating abstract models of network architecture supporting use cases in security analysis, in teaching and/or writing about software and network architectures using universally recognized symbols, reasoning about dependability (security, safety and fault tolerance) of storage network configurations).
The work presents an evolution of a symbol set, standardized abstract network diagramming symbols (SANDS), as an original contribution to abstract visualization notation independent of implementation technology (hardware devices), independent of protocols, and even backward compatible with historical or existing networks. As a proof of concept several original Visio stencils are designed and experimented with in various contexts mainly dealing with systems assurance/cyber security.
Extension of the SANDS research is in the planning stage to additionally integrate abstract data flow diagrams of software and data intensive systems architecture, with abstract network diagrams and use to them as overlays in cyber security treat modeling and analysis.