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Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP) is an Internet-standard protocol for collecting and organizing information about managed devices on IP networks and for modifying that information to change device behavior. Devices that typically support SNMP include routers, switches, servers, workstations, printers, modem racks and more.

SNMP is a component of the Internet Protocol Suite as defined by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF). It consists of a set of standards for network management, including an application layer protocol, a database schema, and a set of data objects.

An SNMP-managed network consists of three key components:

  • Managed device
  • Agent — software which runs on managed devices
  • Network management station (NMS) — software which runs on the manager

NMP is widely used in network management systems to monitor network-attached devices for conditions that warrant administrative attention. SNMP exposes management data in the form of variables on the managed systems, which describe the system configuration. These variables can then be queried (and sometimes set) by managing applications.