Top SNMP Interview Questions and Answers to Ace Your Next Interview

Are you preparing for an interview related to network management and administration? If so, you’ll likely encounter questions about the Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP). SNMP is a widely used protocol that allows network administrators to monitor and manage network devices, such as routers, switches, and servers.

In this comprehensive article, we’ll cover some of the most common SNMP interview questions and provide detailed answers to help you ace your next interview. Let’s dive in!

What is SNMP?

The Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP) is a standard protocol used for managing devices on IP networks. It enables network administrators to monitor and configure various network elements, such as routers, switches, servers, and other network devices.

SNMP works by allowing network management systems (NMSs) to communicate with SNMP agents running on network devices. The NMS can query the agents for information about the device’s status, configuration, and performance metrics. Additionally, SNMP agents can send unsolicited notifications (traps or informs) to the NMS to alert it of significant events or conditions.

What are the Components of SNMP?

A complete SNMP system consists of the following components:

  1. SNMP Manager: A network management system that uses SNMP to poll and receive data from any number of network devices. The SNMP manager is typically an application that runs in a central location and collects information from SNMP agents.

  2. SNMP Agent: A process that runs on the network device being monitored. The agent gathers various types of data from the device and stores it in a local database called the Management Information Base (MIB). The agent can respond to SNMP polls and queries from the manager with information from the MIB, and it can also send unsolicited alerts or “traps” to the SNMP manager.

  3. Management Information Base (MIB): A hierarchical database structure that defines the information that can be accessed and managed by SNMP. MIBs are vendor-specific and define the structure and interpretation of the data collected by SNMP agents.

Which Ports are used in SNMP?

SNMP uses the following well-known UDP ports:

  • Port 161: Used for sending and receiving SNMP requests and responses between managers and agents.
  • Port 162: Used for receiving traps or informs (unsolicited notifications) from managed devices.

Explain MIB (Management Information Base)

A Management Information Base (MIB) is a hierarchical database structure that defines the information that can be accessed and managed by SNMP. It is a collection of objects organized in a tree-like structure, where each object represents a specific piece of information about a network device or component.

MIBs are organized according to a standardized naming convention known as the Object Identifier (OID). Each object in the MIB has a unique OID that identifies its location within the MIB tree. Network administrators and management systems use these OIDs to query and retrieve specific information from SNMP agents.

MIBs are typically vendor-specific, meaning that each network device manufacturer defines its own MIB structure and objects. However, there are also standard MIBs defined by organizations like the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) that provide a common set of objects for managing various types of network devices.

What are the different SNMP versions?

There are three main versions of SNMP:

  1. SNMPv1: The original and most basic version of SNMP. It uses community strings for authentication, which are sent in plaintext and provide limited security. SNMPv1 is considered insecure and should be avoided in modern networks.

  2. SNMPv2c: An update to SNMPv1 that introduced support for 64-bit counters and improved error handling. However, it still uses community strings for authentication, similar to SNMPv1.

  3. SNMPv3: The most recent and secure version of SNMP. It introduces user-based security with authentication and encryption capabilities. SNMPv3 provides secure access control, message integrity, and data confidentiality, making it the recommended version for modern network management.

What is an SNMP GET request?

An SNMP GET request is used by the SNMP manager to retrieve the current value of a specific object or set of objects from an SNMP agent. The manager sends a GET request containing the Object Identifier (OID) of the desired object(s), and the agent responds with the corresponding value(s) from its Management Information Base (MIB).

What is an SNMP GET-NEXT request?

An SNMP GET-NEXT request is used by the SNMP manager to retrieve the value of the next object in the MIB tree after a specified OID. This request is often used in situations where the manager doesn’t know the exact OID of the object it wants to retrieve, or when it needs to retrieve a series of related objects.

The manager sends a GET-NEXT request with an OID, and the agent responds with the value of the next available object in the MIB tree following that OID.

What is a GET BULK request?

A GET BULK request is an optimization introduced in SNMPv2 that allows an SNMP manager to retrieve a large amount of data from an agent with a single request. It operates similarly to the GET-NEXT request but can retrieve multiple objects in a single operation.

The manager specifies a non-repeating OID, a maximum number of objects to retrieve, and the number of objects to retrieve for each iteration. The agent responds with the requested objects, starting from the specified OID and continuing until the maximum number of objects is reached or the end of the MIB tree is encountered.

What is an SNMP SET request?

An SNMP SET request is used by the SNMP manager to modify the value of a specific object or set of objects on an SNMP agent. The manager sends a SET request containing the Object Identifier (OID) of the desired object(s) and the new value(s) to be set.

Upon receiving a valid SET request, the agent updates the corresponding object(s) in its Management Information Base (MIB) with the new value(s) provided by the manager.

What is an SNMP TRAP?

An SNMP TRAP is an unsolicited notification sent by an SNMP agent to the SNMP manager to report a significant event or condition. Traps are used to alert the manager of potential problems or changes in the network, such as device failures, link outages, or threshold violations.

When a specific event or condition occurs on the managed device, the SNMP agent generates a trap message containing information about the event (e.g., the OID of the affected object, a description of the event, and other relevant details). The trap message is then sent to the SNMP manager’s configured trap receiver address.

What is an INFORM?

An INFORM is a type of notification introduced in SNMPv2 that provides a more reliable alternative to traps. Unlike traps, which are sent without acknowledgment, informs require the receiving SNMP manager to acknowledge their receipt.

When an SNMP agent sends an inform, it expects an acknowledgment from the manager. If no acknowledgment is received within a specified time, the agent will resend the inform until a maximum number of retries is reached or an acknowledgment is received.

Informs provide a higher level of assurance that the notification has been delivered to the manager, making them more suitable for critical events or conditions where reliability is essential.

In conclusion, SNMP is a powerful protocol for network management, and understanding its concepts and components is crucial for network administrators and professionals. By studying these SNMP interview questions and answers, you’ll be better prepared to showcase your knowledge and expertise during your next job interview.

SNMP & SNMP WALK – Must know before your Interview


What are the 5 types of SNMP messages?

There are five primary types of SNMP messages – TRAP, GET, GET-NEXT, GET-RESPONSE, and SET used as means of communication between the SNMP agent and the SNMP manager.

What are the three common components of SNMP?

SNMP consists of three key components: managed devices, agents, and the network management station (NMS).

What is the main purpose of SNMP?

SNMP is used for communication between routers, switches, firewalls, load balancers, servers, CCTV cameras, and wireless devices. SNMP collects, organizes, and sends data from various devices for network monitoring assisting with fault identification and isolation.

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