Step Two: Survey Your Existing Equipment

The next step in your network assessment is determining how much of your currently existing network elements support SNMP.

As in Step One, your goal here is to collect information about your existing network so you can systematically plan what upgrades will be necessary for SNMP monitoring.

If you're lucky, much of your current equipment will already support SNMP. A lot of recently manufactured equipment is built with native SNMP support, so your newer equipment may already be SNMP-ready, even if you've never used that capability before.

LAN-based monitoring for sites without LAN access
An SNMP network element with dial-up backup can bring
SNMP monitoring to sites without LAN access.

Now let's look at your network elements that don't support SNMP. Some of these may be upgradeable. Check with the manufacturer of your equipment to see if there is an SNMP upgrade option.

The upgrade could be as simple as installing new firmware on the equipment. But you may have to replace your existing equipment with a later model that supports SNMP.

Unfortunately, for some of your equipment, upgrade options just won't be available. The manufacturer may no longer support your model, or, in some cases, the manufacturer may no longer be in business.

In those cases, you're going to have to consider replacing the equipment with something entirely new. But you have to be careful about replacing equipment - it can involve unnecessary costs.

Another potential problem is that new SNMP equipment may not be equivalent to your older equipment. Replacement may mean giving up useful features of your legacy equipment.

After completing your equipment survey, you can divide your equipment into four categories:

  1. Equipment that natively supports SNMP.
  2. Equipment that can be firmware upgraded to support SNMP.
  3. Equipment that can be swapped out for a later SNMP model.
  4. Equipment that cannot be replaced with a direct SNMP equivalent. (This is the most dangerous equipment-related pitfall - for solutions, see "High Costs of Replacing Non-SNMP Equipment" and "Losing Valuable Monitoring Capabilities," in this white paper)

Using this information, you can create a conversion plan for implementing SNMP monitoring on your network. You now have a list of what needs to be upgraded to use SNMP, and how it can be upgraded.

In combination with the transport network map you created in Step One, you should now have a complete diagram of how the network needs to be adapted to put SNMP monitoring into place.