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The MIB, or Management Information Base, is an ASCII text file that describes Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP) elements as a list of data objects. Think of it as a dictionary of the SNMP language - every managed object referred to in an SNMP message must be listed in the MIB.
The fundamental purpose of the MIB is to translate numerical strings into human-readable text. When an SNMP device sends a message or "trap," it identifies each data object in the message with a number string called an object identifier, or OID. (OIDs are defined more fully later in this paper.)
The MIB provides a text label called for each OID. Your SNMP manager uses the MIB as a codebook for translating the OID numbers into a human-readable display.
Your SNMP manager needs it in order to process messages from your devices. Without the MIB, the message is just a meaningless string of numbers.
Your SNMP manager imports it by compiling the raw ASCII text of the file into binary that the SNMP management system can understand.
Because as far as SNMP managers and agents are concerned, if a component of a network device isn't defined in the MIB, it doesn't exist.
For example, let's say you have an SNMP RTU (Remote Telemetry Unit) with a built-in temperature sensor. You think you'll get temperature alarms from this device - but you never do, no matter how hot it gets. Why not? You read the RTU's MIB file and find out that it only lists discrete points, and not the temperature sensor. Since the sensor isn't defined in the MIB, the RTU can't send traps with temperature data.
As you can see, the MIB is your best guide to the real capabilities of an SNMP device. Just looking at the physical components of a device won't tell you what kind of traps you can get from it. You might think it's strange that a manufacturer would add a component to a device and not describe it in the MIB. But the fact is, a lot of devices have sketchy MIBs that don't fully support all their functions.
When you're planning your SNMP monitoring, you need to be able to read MIBs so you can have a realistic idea of what capabilities you have. When you're evaluating new SNMP equipment, examine its MIB file carefully before you purchase.
NetGuardian 832A SNMP RTU (Remote Telemetry Unit)
Here are 5 essential features that your SNMP RTU (Remote Telemetry Unit) must have: