Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP) vs. Common Management Information Protocol (CMIP)

“Why do you security people always speak of compromise as if it’s a bad thing? Good engineering is all about compromise.” – overheard at project review (Kaufman, Perlman, & Speciner, 2002, p.229)


Nowadays, when it comes to offering an efficient service on a computer network it’s all about network and system management. This represents the biggest challenge ever existed in Information and Communications Technology (ICT). That said, there are plenty of protocols, tools and systems offered for such purpose. With that in mind, in the following sections SNMP and CMIP are introduced and compared to one-another.


Computer Networking: A Top-Down Approach by Addison-Wesley (SlideShare, 2014)

Introduction to Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP)

The Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP) “was defined in the late 1980s to address the management needs of the evolving Internet” (Schönwälder, 2002, ¶ 1). The Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) is responsible for defining the specifications and standards of SNMP.  It operates at application layer of the TCP/IP protocol suite by facilitating the process of management information exchange among devices in computer network. It’s a network management protocol used widely today by system/network administrators to: manage network performance, measure network performance, to locate problems in the network and solve same problems on those networks, to scale the network without downgrading services on the network, and other network management activities. Today exist three versions of SNMP: SNMPv1, SNMPv2 (enhancement of v1), and SNMPv3 (enhancements in security and privacy). According to Cisco (2012) “an SNMP-managed network consists of three components” (¶ 3):

• managed device – is a network node that contains an SNMP agent and that resides on a managed network
• agent – is a network-management software module that resides in a managed device
• network-management systems (NMSs) – executes applications that monitor and control managed devices

Introduction to Common Management Information Protocol (CMIP)

The Common Management Information Protocol (CMIP) “was developed and funded by government and corporations over a decade ago to replace and makeup for the deficiencies in SNMP” (Foreman et al., 1997, ¶ 1). The International Telecommunication Union is responsible for defining the specifications and standards of Telecommunications Management Network (TMN), which is based upon OSI CMIP specifications. CMIP “is the most comprehensive set of specifications and addresses all seven layers of the OSI Reference Model” (Subramanian, 2000, p. 103). CMIP it’s a network management protocol used widely by the people in charge within telecommunications networking environments to manage “telecommunication domains and telecommunication devices” (Foreman et al., 1997, ¶ 7). Based on how Foreman et al., (1997) had explained the CMIP structure, it consists of following components (¶ 2):

• managed object – is characteristics of a managed device that can be monitored, modified or controlled and can be used to perform tasks
• management agent – is sending the notifications and alarms to the network management application
• network management application – initiates transactions with management agent by using the following operations: action, cancel_get, create, delete, get, and set


According to Subramanian (2000) “the major advantages of SNMP over CMIP are” (p. 103-106) as follows:

• SNMP is truly simple, as it names indicates which makes it easy to implement thus resulting in most widely implemented network management system today
• SNMP based on scalar technology and simple definition of managed objects, is widely favored over CMIP
• SNMP takes less memory and processing’s resources from a device where it is accommodated in comparison to CMIP


According to Foreman et al., (1997) “the major advantages of CMIP over SNMP are” (¶ 5) as follows:

• CMIP variables not only relay information, but also can be used to perform tasks, which is impossible under SNMP.
• CMIP is a safer system as it has built in security that supports authorization, access control, and security logs.
• CMIP provides powerful capabilities that allow management applications to accomplish more with a single request.
• CMIP provides better reporting of unusual network conditions

In Conclusion

The fact that both SNMP and CMIP are not ideal products, since both contain issues when it comes to managing networking environments, then until the new better networking management protocol shows up on the horizon, currently by merging the good features form both SNMP and CMIP the existing networking management issues both in Internet and in Telecommunications can be surpassed. Such integration had been offered by Laraqui (2002) who proposes “a mechanism which will enable CMIP to be implemented directly on top of SNMP.” According to Laraqui (2002) the reason for such implementation is that “security and administrative mechanisms that are included in SNMPv2, or SNMPv1.5, can be reused for CMIP” This then will “enable Telecommunications operators to actively fight the network complexity inflation that is currently placing a heavy burden on Telecommunications networks” Laraqui (2002).


  1. Cisco Systems Inc. (2012, October 16).  Simple Network Management Protocol.  Retrieved November 02nd, 2016, from
  2. Kaufman, Ch., Perlman, R. & Speciner, Speciner.  (2002).  Network Security 2nd Ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ:  Prentice Hall 2002.
  3. Kim, L. (2002, October 15).  Integration of SNMP and CMIP.  Retrieved November 02nd, 2016, from
  4. Foreman, J. et al. (1997, June).  Software Technology Review.  Retrieved November 02nd, 2016, from
  5. Schönwälder, J. (2002, April 29).  Evolution of Open Source SNMP Tools.  Retrieved November 02nd, 2016 from
  6. Subramanian, M.  (2000).  Network Management: Principles and Practices.  Reading, MA: Addison Wesley.

Hope you’ll find this post informative.

peace and blessings,


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