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  • Last Updated : 12 Jun, 2020
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Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP) is majorly used by the administrator to monitor the networking devices. Implementing this protocol would reduce the efforts to login to each of the devices and verify all the logs and ensures that the network is reliable at all times by informing the administrator about any suspicious logs/activity based on the configuration and is widely accepted.

SNMP is an application layer protocol which uses UDP port number 161/162 and is defined by the Internet Architecture Board(IAB) in RFC1157 for exchanging management information. Over the years there were significant improvements to the protocol and there are three major versions namely SNMPv1, SNMPv2 & SNMPv3.

  1. SNMPv1 –
    Defined in RFC 1028, is relatively easy to use as it provides the basic functionality of data polling. Its major limitations were security and 32-bit counter architecture. It is used even today, after 30 years in LAN networks.

  2. SNMPv2 –
    Defined in RFC 1901, 1441, supports 64-bit counter architecture and improves error handling but the data is unencrypted which leaves security as a limitation.

  3. SNMPv3 –
    Defined in RFC 3410, adds security to the already existing advantages of SNMPv2. It being the latest and currently mostly widely used.

Characteristics :

  • SNMP is used to monitor network
  • It detects any network faults
  • Can also be used to configure remote devices.
  • Allows a standardized way of collecting information about all kinds of devices from various manufacturers among the networking industry.

Advantages :

  • Eases the task for an administrator by collecting the data from all the devices and allows to take control when needed.
  • The traps would help isolate the issue when a problem arises.
  • Informs the issue on time by sending enough notifications over various platforms to the admin.
  • Analysis from the logs collected helps gain more insights(even supports visual interpretation) and plan accordingly.
  • Flexible network auto-discoveries and templates help reduce the tedious configuration.
  • Can monitor any networking device that follows the industry standards.
  • There are open source SNMP servers available which makes it easier and cost efficient.
  • SNMP is universal as it is commonly understood and uses the standardized structure.

Disadvantages :

  • Configuration is difficult, tedious and time consuming.
  • SNMP works on interval polling mechanism, an events that occur between the intervals can be missed. For example, an interface that went down and came back up in between the polling interval will not be notified to the administrator.
  • Polls huge amounts of data at regular intervals which requires more processing power.
  • Uses UDP for any communications which adds the necessity that the packets make it from the networking devices to the monitoring tool.
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