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How to View, Edit, and Read the Management Information Base (MIB)

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OID tree
Each element in the MIB is given an object identifier,
or OID. This tree structure illustrates how each
OID is formulated.

How do I look at a MIB?

A MIB file is just ASCII text, so you can view it in any word processor or text editor, such as Microsoft Notepad. Some manufacturers provide precompiled MIBs in binary format, but those aren't readable. You want the raw ASCII version of the MIB file.

Note: MIB files are sometimes provided as Unix text files. Unix text format is significantly different from DOS/Windows text format. DOS/Windows text files have a carriage return and a line feed at the end of each line; Unix files only have a line feed. If you view a Unix text file in a Windows text editor, all you'll see is one long line, because the editor will never hit a carriage return.

If you want to view MIB files on a Windows PC, ask your vendor for a DOS-formatted version. Or, if you're a do-it-yourself kind of person, you can get a conversion utility to convert between text formats.

Will I need to edit the MIB?

Generally speaking, no. MIB files aren't really designed to be edited by the end user. You could edit the text descriptions of managed objects to be more user-friendly, but it's better to use your SNMP manager's presentation software to create a useful display.

How do I read the MIB?

To read a MIB file, you have to understand just a little about how the MIB is structured. Don't worry - you don't have to master MIB notation in order to get useful information from the MIB. In this paper we're going to cover just the essentials you need to know to discover the telemetry capabilities of SNMP devices.

Next Page: What does a management information base (MIB) look like?
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