How to Read and Understand the SNMP MIB File

Previous Page: Get the Facts Before You Purchase Your Next Network Monitoring System
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Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP) is an open standard protocol. This means there is no company determining how SNMP can or cannot be used, or declaring a set of rules on how messages can be created and processed. So, this protocol is very flexible and it will not become obsolete by a singular vendor going out of business.

The SNMP structure is based on the manager/agent model. It consists of a manager, an agent, a database of management system information, managed objects and the network protocol. The manager's purpose is to provide the interface between the human network operator and the managed devices.

The manager and agent work with the management data in the form of variables called Management Information Base (MIB) and a relatively small set of commands to exchange information. The MIB is tree-structured with individual variables, like a point status or description (think of them as represented as leaves on the branches). A long numeric tag - the object identifier (OID) - uniquely identifies each variable uniquely in the MIB and in SNMP messages.

MIB files are specific to each vendor, but they are community-based. They define how the vendor's devices understand OIDs and respond when one is received. So, for example, without your vendor's specific MIB file, your device could still receive a trap (SNMP message), but would not be able to know what it means or what to do in response to it.

There's no need to master MIB notation in order to get useful information from the MIB file. One of the best tactics for addressing MIB problems is to simply read through the file. Since MIB files are composed of ASCII text, they can be viewed using any word processor or text editor, even Microsoft Notepad.

Easily Understand Any SNMP Device

Is your SNMP protocol knowledge good enough? Are you confident when someone asks about MIB files? Would you be able to glean the features of a device from a collection of MIB files provided by an equipment manufacturer? Would you be able to contribute to a project that involves integrating SNMP telemetry into your company monitoring system?

If you are not able to answer yes to any of those questions, this white paper can help.

Some SNMP Managers require an MIB file or files to effectively integrate equipment for monitoring. If you have this kind of SNMP Manager, being able to read and sometimes adjust a MIB file is a valuable skill. This SNMP white paper presents some basic concepts in an easy-to-understand presentation.

Even if you have a next-generation SNMP Manager like the DPS TMonLNX, being able to confidently read and understand MIB file content can provide insight into equipment design and capabilities. Though the TMonLNX allows SNMP telemetry messaging to be integrated without the administrative loading and compiling of MIB files, you may still find the information in the MIB files to be useful as you integrate the equipment into your monitoring system.

So whether you have one of the many SNMP Managers that require MIB loading and compiling or you have a next-generation SNMP Manager like the DPS TMonLNX, being able to read a MIB file can is a valuable skill. Many people consider this white paper a must-read for anyone who works with SNMP in a contemporary monitoring system.

Download this complete guide to the SNMP Management Information Base (MIB):


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