Creating a special customer called 'All' allows searching for information across all the available customer/autonomous systems using the 'Display subnet' function. This special customer can contain areas and ranges that limit the scope of searches, just like normal customers. Using this feature allows a user to see the entire network picture in one view.
When creating new subnets, it is also beneficial to create unused subnets with a a description of either 'free' or 'spare'. These can be searched for at a later stage using the 'Find Free' function.
It may also be beneficial to give ASE (Autonomous System External, networks not local to yours) a special handle like EXTERNAL so that they can be searched for at a later stage. These networks often appear in routing tables as static routes to third parties (not via the Internet).
Searching can also be done on individual addresses using the 'Match any IP address in subnet' option of the 'Display subnet information' option. This is useful for finding which networks, either for a single customer, or for all customers an IP address belongs to. Using this option makes it easy to find the offending network in a complaint situation if you are an ISP.
If matching by IP address, you will automatically jump to the IP address edit page if the search is unique and matches only one subnet from one customer. If you use the 'All' customer you will need to click on the relevant customer network you wish to work with.
You can also create areas and ranges to search across only certain address space ranges. Areas are containers for ranges. Selecting an area that has ranges attached will search only in those ranges. Select an area and not selecting a range will search across all the ranges in the area.
Depending on what settings have been selected in the config.php file, ranges may either never overlap (the default), have overlaps within an area only, or overlap in anyway, including having duplicate ranges.
Areas with no attached ranges will not display in the "Area" selection list until ranges are added to the area. Areas with no ranges yeild no search results.