Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP) is a networking protocol that aids in the transfer of data among devices, thereby managing and monitoring devices present in the internet protocol network. Networks have an array of devices connected to them, and new devices get introduced to them as trends in technology evolve.

 These new devices are often used to simplify complex processes but end up complicating simple networks. For system and network admins, uniting, monitoring, and managing all these devices is tedious. In this case, a monitoring solution for SNMP and other similar protocols can help in managing multiple devices in a network.

An overview of network management protocols

Network management protocols are a group of standards that contain policies and procedures to help in maintaining and monitoring devices present in a network. These network management protocols make real-time monitoring much easier, behaving as credentials that connect network monitoring software to devices.

 Network management protocols help in fetching information about a variety of activities within a network like the availability, packet loss, latency, and network delays of the devices. The core functions of these protocols revolve around discovery, monitoring, mapping, alerting, and reporting. Fundamentally, SNMP and Internet Control Message Protocol (ICMP) are standard management protocols from which the rest of the protocols are derived. Unlike SNMP, ICMP is generally used in reporting errors in a network.

Now, let’s take a more in-depth look at SNMP monitoring.

Components of SNMP

An SNMP-enabled environment has the following components:

  • Managed devices – Devices that are managed in a given network are managed devices. In other words, they are the elements that require monitoring.

  • Manager device – These devices exist in a centralized repository and communicate with the managed devices to fetch the required information. These devices are also known as SNMP servers.

  • SNMP agent – This is a layer of software running on managed devices that enables communication between the manager device and the given device.

  • Network management system – This works similar to the SNMP agent but runs on the manager device. It sends a query to the SNMP agent and receives the response, enabling the exchange of information.

  • Object identifiers (OIDs) – OIDs are addresses seeded in devices. They are generated in numerical values that represent quantifiable and configurable metrics.

  • Management information base (MIB) – MIBs are composed of OIDs and mainly translate numerical OIDs to alphabetical OIDs making them human-readable.

  • SNMP traps – An SNMP trap is a type of protocol data unit that behaves like a receiver. When a device in the IP network encounters a change or fault, the given device will send a notification to the relevant trap. An SNMP trap is crafted for monitoring critical situations. This is a passive monitoring technique wherein active querying doesn’t happen. It simply receives the messages and raises an alert depending on the threshold filter. Since active querying doesn’t happen, immediate alerts are raised to notify you about the threshold violation, helping you troubleshoot the issue quickly.

How SNMP works

All the components of the network work actively for the SNMP monitoring solution to transfer and collect information. The SNMP protocol is embedded in the devices of the network. When you enable SNMP, the process of managing and monitoring actively begins.

 There are two basic functions: notifying and polling. The manager device queries a managed device for particular information through port 161, which is notifying. The managed device in turn receives the query and responds to it through port 162, which is polling.

 For example, say your friend writes you a letter from the post office asking you about your weekend plans. The letter travels from the post office to your house and is delivered by a postman. You respond to the letter immediately and the letter reaches your friend. In this instance, the manager device is the post office, the managed device is your house, and the postman is the OID.

 In a nutshell, the manager device queries or configures managed devices; the managed devices then run SNMP agents and communicate to the network management system of manager devices through OIDs. The role of MIBs is to convert the numerical OIDs to readable, alphabetical OIDs.

Key features of SNMP monitoring

Here are the top reasons to employ an SNMP monitoring solution for your network devices:

  • Active polling of network devices takes place in an SNMP-enabled environment, gathering information on metrics like performance, availability, and errors.

  • Start immediately monitoring the prime metrics in SNMP-protocol-seeded devices.

Advantages of SNMP monitoring solutions

  •  Since most devices are SNMP compatible, an SNMP monitoring solution offers a standardized monitoring platform.
  • SNMP monitoring solutions offer multi-vendor monitoring, meaning a wide range of brands are recognized both in LAN and WAN environments.

  • Network monitoring with SNMP is sensible. Also, SNMP uses minimal bandwidth and CPU.

  • SNMP monitoring solutions offer centralized monitoring with real-time alerts.

Why enterprises need SNMP monitoring solutions

 SNMP monitoring solutions empower different network devices to interact with each other and exchange information. With this, the network administrator can manage and monitor all the devices present in the network, know how devices are performing, and plan resources effectively.

 Here are some of the top reasons to use an SNMP monitoring solution:

  •  Monitor the health and study the performance of various network elements like laptops, scanners, printers, and servers for comprehensive network traffic monitoring. This empowers admins with constructive insights to take action for essential management.
  • Gather information on metrics like CPU utilization, temperature, uptime, errors, memory usage, and much more. SNMP monitoring solutions query, configure, and display changes in a dashboard with relevant alerts on threshold violations.

  • Monitor and view the status of the network devices in real time.

  • Monitor all the network devices whether in a single or multi-vendor LAN or WAN environment. This means Windows servers can be monitored and managed in an SNMP-enabled environment.

Why OpManager is a top choice for SNMP monitoring

 OpManager is highly integrated network monitoring software preferred by over a million IT administrators across the world. With OpManager’s SNMP monitoring solution, monitor network availability and network devices, and manage network faults.

 Here are some of the key SNMP monitoring features offered by OpManager:

  • Automatic identification and discovery of devices present in SNMP-enabled devices: The discovery process is broken down with a scheduling option and allows you to automate the entire discovery step.

  • Simplified performance monitoring with OpManager’s SNMP commands: Metrics like network availability, throughput, response time, and much more can be monitored.

  • Fault management via gathering network issues like network slowdowns and breakdowns from the SNMP agent: This empowers the network admin to picture the network and take relevant action.

  • Constant criticality monitoring by SNMP traps that help OpManager understand performance deviation and poor device health: OpManager’s robust rule-based trap supports up to 300 traps per second.

  • Significant insights with deep key metrics analysis to help you focus on important elements and quickly compile a report: Reports are displayed on comprehensive dashboards, helping you skim through crucial information. The custom dashboard allows you to organize information based on your preferences with over 200 performance widgets. You choose what you need to see!

OpManager’s dynamic SNMP monitoring makes it a one-stop shop for all your monitoring needs. Download our free, fully functional, 30-day trial today. Or sign up for a personalized demo to talk with one of our product experts.

NetFlow AnalyzerNetwork Configuration ManagerFirewall Analyzer, and OpUtils are also available as standalone solutions that offer more comprehensive and specialized network management capabilities. OpManager Plus is an integrated solution of all these products that enables you to perform various IT operations management process from a single console.