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MIB (Management Information Base)

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Note: Many topics at this site are reduced versions of the text in "The Encyclopedia of Networking and Telecommunications." Search results will not be as extensive as a search of the book's CD-ROM.

A MIB is defined in SNMP (Simple Network Management Protocol), a network management protocol used in TCP/IP environments. With an SNMP-compatible network management system, network administrators can monitor and manage computers and other devices (such as routers and printers) connected to the network.

A MIB is a data file that contains a complete collection of all the objects that are managed in a network. "Objects" are variables that hold information about the state of some process running on a device or that include textual information about the device, such as a name and description. This information is strictly defined so that different management systems can access and use the information.

A particular device will have many objects that describe it. An SNMP agent runs in each SNMP-managed device and is responsible for updating object variables. The management system then queries the SNMP agent to gain information about a system. In contrast, the agent may also alert the management system about special events on a device.

There are groups of SNMP objects, such as "system," "interface," "IP," and "TCP." A MIB group called "System" contains objects that hold variables such as a device's name, its location, and other descriptive information. The interface group holds information about network adapters and tracks statistics such as bytes sent and received on the interface. The IP group has objects that track packet flow, packet fragmentation, dropped packets, and similar information. The TCP group has objects that keep track of connections.

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