A network management system includes a user interface, a virtual network and a device communication manager. The virtual network includes models which represent network entities and model relations which represent relations between network entities. Each model includes network data relating to a corresponding network device and one or more inference handlers for processing the network data to provide user information. The system performs a fault isolation technique wherein the fault status of a network device is suppressed when it is determined that the device is not defective. User displays include hierarchical location views and topological views of the network configuration. Network devices are represented on the displays by multifunction icons which permit the user to select additional displays showing detailed information regarding different aspects of the corresponding network device.