In the past, only very large companies and organizations with equally large IT staff had to deal with network management at a massive scale, but times have changed.
Today, even small companies with just a few employees rely on complex networks, and they need every bit of help they can get to manage them, which is where Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP) comes in.
Created in 1989 to provide a reliable way for different devices on a network to share information with one another, SNMP is an Internet Standard protocol for collecting and organizing information about managed devices on IP networks. The protocol is supported by servers, workstations, printers, routers, switches, hubs, scanners, and internet of things (IoT) devices, allowing them to communicate even if they are made by different companies and run different software.
“SNMP is an Internet Standard protocol for collecting and organizing information about managed devices on IP networks”
Essentially, SNMP provides a common language that various network monitoring tools can use to determine the status of network devices in real time, keep track of changes to the network, monitor network performance, or identify devices, just to give a few examples. Without it, network administrators would have to catalog and visualize networks manually, which would not only take a lot of time but wouldn’t be able to provide enough visibility to ensure security and plan for future growth.
Routers, switches, and sometimes even servers enable SNMP by default, but the same cannot be said about workstations. For example, the Windows 10 operating system makes SNMP available as a separate Windows components but doesn’t install it by default. Windows 10 users can, however, enable SNMP manually with just a few clicks. To install the SNMP component in Windows 10:
SNMP consists of three main components:
The SNMP discovery process refers to the communication process between SNMP managers and agents. The exact details of the process depend on which version of SNMP is used.
In most cases, SNMP communication is initiated by the SNMP manager over User Datagram Protocol (UDP) or Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) using various commands and messages, which are known as protocol data units (PDUs). They include GET, RESPONSE, GETNEXT, GETBULK, SET, TRAP, and others.
This free-to-try software application can collect all relevant data on all network devices, including routers, servers, workstations, and even non-IT assets, and display the collected information in the form of customizable reports.
Thanks to its automated network audits, which can scan hundreds and thousands of connected devices in a matter of minutes, Network Inventory Advisor provides the visibility companies of all sizes need to grow their networks in the most optimal manner.
SNMP has been described as both cool and evil. While it can be used to collect heaps of useful network information easily, it also introduces some security and privacy risks which shouldn’t be taken lightly. The good news is that the shortcomings of SNMP can be avoided with the right network management tool with support for SNMP network management. We recommend Network Inventory Advisor because this simple yet powerful network management tool can automatically collect all relevant data on all network devices and provide you with detailed OS and device statistics.
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