VARIABLES(5) Net-SNMP VARIABLES(5)
variables - Format of specifying variable names to SNMP tools.
The syntax and semantics of management information in SNMP is given by
the definitions of MIB objects, loaded from one or more MIB files (or
"MIB modules"). These definitions are not strictly required for the
SNMP protocol to operate correctly, but are typically needed by SNMP
client applications to display information in a meaningful manner.
The MIB file also serves as a design document when developing an SNMP
agent (or sub-agent) that provides this information, and ensures that
client and server share a common understanding about what management
MIB objects are specified using Object Identifiers (OIDs), which can
take a number of forms. Note that all of the examples in this section
refer to the same MIB object.
The fundamental format of an OID is a sequence of integer values (or
"subidentifiers"), typically written using dots to separate the indi-
This is the format that is used within the SNMP protocol itself, in the
packets that are sent over the network.
This form of representing an OID does not require MIB files or MIB
object definitions to be available. However it does rely on the client
application and/or network administrator knowing what a given numeric
OID refers to. As such, it is not a particularly helpful representa-
tion to anyone just starting out with SNMP.
This format can be obtained by giving the command-line option -On to
most Net-SNMP commands.
Full OID path
A similar (but somewhat more informative) format uses the same dotted
list representation, but with the numeric subidentifiers replaced by
names, taken from the relevant MIB file(s).
This uniquely identifies a particular MIB object (as with the numeric
OID), but the list of names should hopefully give some indication as to
what information this object represents. However it does rely on the
relevant MIB files being available (as do all formats other than the
purely numeric OID). Such OIDs also tend to be fairly long!
This format can be obtained by giving the command-line option -Of to
most Net-SNMP commands.
A variant of this (typically used when writing OIDs in descriptive
text, rather than running programs), is to combine the name and numeric
An alternative way to (more-or-less) uniquely specify an OID, is to
give the name of the MIB object, together with the MIB module where it
MIB object names are unique within a given module, so as long as there
are not two MIB modules with the same name (which is unusual, though
not unheard of), this format specifies the desired object in a reason-
ably compact form. It also makes it relatively easy to find the defi-
nition of the MIB object.
This is the default format for displaying OIDs in Net-SNMP applica-
tions. It can also be specified explicitly by giving the command-line
option -OS to most Net-SNMP commands.
Possibly the most common form for specifying MIB objects is using the
name of the object alone - without the full path or the name of the
module that defines it.
This is by far the shortest and most convenient way to refer to a MIB
object. However the danger is that if two MIB modules each define a
MIB object with the same name (which is perfectly legal in some circum-
stances), then it's not necessarily clear which MIB object is actually
meant. For day-to-day use, particularly when using standard MIB
objects, this is probaby safe. But it's important to be aware of the
This format can be obtained by giving the command-line option -Os to
most Net-SNMP commands.
Previous versions of the code (UCD v4.x and earlier) used a simple
approach to shortening the way OIDs were specified. If the full path
of the OID began with .iso.org.dod.internet.mgmt.mib-2 then this prefix
was removed from the OID before displaying it. All other OIDs were
displayed in full.
Similarly, if an OID was passed to the UCD library that did not begin
with a dot (and wasn't in the module::name format), then the same pre-
fix was prepended. The example OID from the formats listed above
would therefore be given or displayed as
The inconsistent handling of OIDs, depending on their location within
the OID tree, proved to be more trouble than it was worth, and this
format is no longer recommended.
The previous behaviour can be obtained by giving the command-line
option -Ou (for displaying output), or -Iu (for interpreting input OIDs
without a leading dot) to most Net-SNMP commands.
The parser of the MIB files file is not expected to handle bizarre
(although correct) interpretations of the ASN.1 notation.
V5.7.3 01 Oct 2010 VARIABLES(5)
Man Pages Copyright Respective Owners. Site Copyright (C) 1994 - 2021
All Rights Reserved.