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TCP/IP Guide by Charles M. Kozierok

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SNMP General Message Format

To structure its messages for transport, SNMP uses a special field format, like most protocols. What's interesting about SNMP, however, is that its standards do not describe the SNMP message format using a simple list of fields the way most TCP/IP standards do. Instead, SNMP messages are defined using the same data description language (Abstract Syntax Notation 1 or ASN.1) that is used to describe MIB objects.

The reason for this is that SNMP messages implement the various SNMP protocol operations with the ultimate goal of allowing MIB objects to be conveyed between SNMP entities. These MIB objects become fields within the messages to be sent. The MIB objects carried in SNMP messages are defined using ASN.1 as described ...

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