Naming Convention

A naming convention is a way to give names to devices on a network so they are descriptive or easier to type into a connection string. In college I was a network administrator for the “spirits” lab where the various terminals had names like “vodka”, “rum”, etc. I did not start this, but did later modify it in another environment so that certain types of alcoholic beverages referred to a certain type of item e.g. switches were beers, servers were wines, etc.

Later at my first job out of college I was tasked with setting up a public key infrastructure. This included installing and configuring several servers. For this I took the first two characters of the server’s role, (e.g. “di” for directory server and “ca” for certificate authority), and chose a word that started with those characters. As an example two of the directory servers had the names “dirk” and “diggler”, (a reference to the move Boogie Nights). That rose some eyebrows at work, but thankfully thinking back upon it we never had to name the servers directly in any presentations to management, so it was a joke kept to the system administrators.

With the number of devices on the home network growing, (especially with home automation devices), a naming convention was desired that could identify what a device was, where it was, and be easy to remember. The result is not as creative as a theme, but is efficient.

The main goals for a naming convention are:

  1. Make it easy to identify and connect to systems and devices on the network
  2. Provide names for systems and devices that broadcast data or services on the network
  3. Be able to identify the function and (if not mobile) the location of the system or device

These are somewhat different goals, so there is no hard rule on what something is named. The fallback standard is, however, as follows:

  1. A two-character identifier of the device
  2. A one-character identifier of the floor on which it is located
  3. A one-character identifier of the location on the floor in which it is placed
  4. At least one digit in case multiple devices of the same type are located in the same area

Device Identifiers

The following table lists the current device identifiers:

ADGeneral Android Device
AEAmazon Echo
ALGeneral Apple Device
APWireless Access Point
ASAutomation Switch such as an electrical outlet
AVAudio / Video Receiver
BDBlu-Ray Disk Player
DRDoor Lock/Controller
GHGoogle Home
HVHVAC Controller/Device
IRIrrigation Controller/Device
LBLight Bulb/String
LDGeneral Linux Device
LSLinux Server
MIMicrophone (if not part of something else like an Amazon Echo)
MPMedia Player
MSManual Switch such as a light switch
PRPrinter (may also do scanning, copying, etc.)
RCRemote Control (when dealing with controlling devices in a certain area)
SNSensor such as a water detector/alarm/weather station
SPSpeaker (if not part of something else like a camera)
SWNetwork Switch
TVTelevision / Display
URunRAID Server
VCVideo Capture Device
WDGeneral Windows Device
WSWindows Server

Floor Identifiers

The location for the network is two stories plus an attic and a basement. Floors follow US naming conventions where the ground floor is called the first floor. There are also some devices are located outside. The following table lists all the “floor” identifiers defined:

1First Floor (Ground)
2Second Floor
EEast (outside right if looking North)
NNorth (outside front)
SSouth (outside rear)
VMVirtual Machine
WWest (outside left if looking North)

Location Identifiers

Location identifiers are very arbitrary and have different meanings based on the floor identifier. The following table lists the location identifiers defined sorted by their associated floor identifiers:

1CCoat Closet
1DDining Room
1GGreat Room
1LLaundry Room
1MMusic Room
1SShoe Closet
2EEast Bedroom/Closet (looking North)
2MMaster Bedroom/Bathroom/Closets
2WWest Bedroom/Closet (looking North)
AGGeneral Area
BGGeneral Area
BLLiving Room
BRRack (main communication hub area)
BUUnfinished Area
BWWorkout Area
GGGeneral Area
RBBottom Roof
RTTop Roof
SV(Vegetable) Garden


Some devices show their names when browsing the network, connected to via a technology like Bluetooth, are mobile or use a virtual name when more than one system can provide the same service. In these cases a different name may be chosen. In this case all Windows desktop computers, mobile Windows devices like laptops, Android phones / tablets, iOS phones / tablets, and virtual destinations do not follow the above naming convention. A non-easily-mobile device such as a desktop or server or console may have a name like KARYLPC or STEINSERVER or SHIELDGREATROOM. A more mobile device like a laptop or tablet or phone may have a name that identifies the device and/or primary user like KarylHPEliteBookFolioG1 or KarylGalaxyTabS or KarylGalaxyS6. A virtual IP may be assigned a name like “syslog” that may be used in configurations no matter which physical or virtual server is responding.

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