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SNMP Traps: Definition, Types, Examples, Best Practices

By: Jasmin young
April 20, 2023

Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP) is a widely used protocol for monitoring and managing network devices. SNMP traps are a key feature of SNMP, and they’re used to notify management systems about specific events or conditions on network devices.

This article will explore SNMP traps, discuss the different types and examples of traps and outline best practices for using SNMP traps in a network environment.

What Is an SNMP Trap?

SNMP is used for managing and monitoring network devices such as routers, switches and servers.

An SNMP trap is a message that’s sent from a network device to an SNMP management system without being solicited by the system. The trap is triggered when a specific event or condition occurs on the device, such as a link going down, an authentication or a power failure.

The SNMP trap message contains information about the event or condition, such as the device and interface where the event occurred, the time the event occurred and the severity of the event.

Furthermore, SNMP traps are essential for managing network devices, since they enable the management system to be alerted to critical events in real time. Without SNMP traps, network administrators would need to manually monitor network devices for issues, which is time consuming and prone to errors. SNMP traps allow administrators to respond quickly to critical events, which can prevent network downtime and improve network performance.

SNMP traps are essential for managing network devices, since they enable the management system to be alerted to critical events in real time.

Types of SNMP Traps

SNMP traps are generally classified into two types: generic traps and enterprise-specific traps.

Generic SNMP Traps

Generic traps are standardized in the SNMP Protocol. They’re used to indicate general categories of events or conditions that occur on network devices. There are six types of generic traps, defined by RFC 1215 of the Internet Engineering Task Force:

  • Cold Start Trap: Generated when a network device has just been powered on or restarted. The SNMP manager can use this trap to detect when a device has rebooted. It can then take necessary actions such as checking the device’s configuration and status.
  • Warm Start Trap: Generated when a network device has been restarted without losing its configuration. The SNMP manager can use this trap to detect when a device has rebooted. After that, it can take action to check the device’s configuration and status.
  • Link Down Trap: Generated when a network interface on the device has gone down. The SNMP manager can use this trap to detect when a network link has failed and notify the appropriate personnel to investigate and resolve the issue.
  • Link Up Trap: Generated when a network interface on the device has come up. The SNMP manager can use this trap to detect when a network link has been restored and take actions such as reconfiguring the routing tables.
  • Authentication Failure Trap: Generated when a user authentication attempt has failed. The SNMP manager can use this trap to detect when an unauthorized user attempts to access the network. After detection, it can take actions like blocking the user’s IP address.
  • EGP Neighbor Loss Trap: Generated when a router loses an Exterior Gateway Protocol (EGP) routing protocol neighbor. It signals that a neighbor router is no longer available, indicating possible changes to the routing table. The SNMP manager can use this trap to recognize changes in the network and take action, such as updating routing tables.

Enterprise-Specific Traps

Enterprise-specific traps are customizable traps defined by the network administrator or the SNMP manager. These traps are used to indicate specific events or conditions in the network. Examples of specific traps include:

  • CPU Utilization Trap: This trap is generated when the CPU utilization of a network device exceeds a certain threshold. The SNMP manager can use this trap to detect potential performance issues on the device. It can then take necessary actions such as optimizing the device configuration or increasing the resources available to the device.
  • Interface State Change Trap: This trap is generated when the state of a network interface changes. The SNMP manager can use this trap to detect potential network disruptions. The manager can then take actions such as reconfiguring the network topology or investigating the cause of the interface state change.
  • Memory Utilization Trap: This trap is generated when the available memory on a device drops below a certain level. The SNMP manager can use this trap to detect potential performance issues on the device. After detection, the SNMP manager can take necessary actions such as optimizing the device configuration or increasing the resources available to the device.
  • Power Supply Failure Trap: This trap is generated when the power supply to a network device fails. The SNMP manager can use this trap to detect potential hardware failures on the device. After that, the SNMP manager can take actions such as replacing the failed component or device.

How Do SNMP Traps Work?

SNMP traps work by sending messages from a network device to an SNMP management system. The network device sends a trap message to the management system when a specific event or error occurs. The SNMP management system then processes the trap message and takes appropriate action. This can involve notifying an administrator, logging the event or executing a script.

SNMP traps use object identifiers (OIDs) to identify the specific event or error being reported. OIDs are unique and used to identify objects in the SNMP management information base (MIB). The MIB is a database that contains information about network devices, such as their configuration, status and performance.

SNMP traps work by sending messages from a network device to an SNMP management system.

Why SNMP Traps Matter

SNMP traps matter because they allow network administrators to monitor network devices in real time and detect critical events and errors. By using traps, administrators can take proactive measures to prevent downtime or data loss. SNMP traps also help ensure the performance, availability and security of their network devices.

Best Practices for Using SNMP Traps

To use SNMP traps effectively, administrators should follow these best practices.

Monitor SNMP Traffic

Monitoring SNMP traffic is essential for detecting any unauthorized access or unusual activity that may indicate a security breach. Administrators should use a network traffic analyzer to monitor SNMP traffic and detect any suspicious activity.

Use SNMP v3

SNMP v3 provides encryption and authentication, ensuring secure communication between network devices and the SNMP management system, which helps to protect against unauthorized access and tampering.

Configure SNMP Access Control

SNMP access control is essential for restricting access to network devices and ensuring that only authorized users can manage them. Administrators should use SNMP access control to define access policies and restrict SNMP traffic to trusted hosts and users.

Configure SNMP Trap Parameters

Configure the SNMP trap parameters such as the trap destination, community strings and trap type on the device and management system to ensure that the traps are sent to the correct destination.

Define Clear SNMP Trap Thresholds

Network administrators should define clear thresholds for SNMP traps to prevent unnecessary alerts. For example, if a threshold for CPU usage is set at 80%, the SNMP trap should only be sent when the CPU usage exceeds 80%.

Enable SNMP Traps on All Network Devices

Enabling SNMP traps on all network devices provides comprehensive monitoring of the network. Administrators should enable SNMP traps on all network devices, including routers, switches, servers, printers and other network devices, to ensure they’re monitored in real time.

Use a Network Management System

To efficiently manage a complex network, it’s recommended to use network management software like Netreo that can integrate with SNMP traps. Network management software can provide a centralized view of the network, reduce the time and effort needed to analyze SNMP traps, and provide more in-depth insights into the network’s performance and health.

Spider web trap

Test SNMP Traps

Regularly test the SNMP traps to ensure that they’re working correctly. This approach can help identify any issues before they become critical and affect the network’s performance.

SNMP FAQs

What Is an SNMP Manager?

An SNMP Manager is a software application that’s used to monitor and manage network devices that support SNMP. Collecting information from SNMP-enabled devices – such as routers, switches and servers – SNMP Managers display the information in a way that’s easy to understand. SNMP Managers can also send commands to devices to make changes to their configuration, monitor performance and troubleshoot problems.

What Is the Difference Between an SNMP Trap & SNMP?

SNMP is a protocol used to manage network devices, while SNMP traps are messages sent by network devices to an SNMP management system to indicate a specific event or error. These traps are a part of the SNMP protocol and are used to monitor network devices in real time and detect critical events and errors.

Should I Disable an SNMP Trap?

Do not disable unless you have a specific reason to do so. These traps are an essential tool for monitoring network devices in real time and detecting critical events and errors. Disabling SNMP traps can result in delayed detection of issues, which can lead to downtime or data loss.

Conclusion: SNMP Traps Are Essential

SNMP Traps are essential for effective network monitoring and management. By configuring SNMP traps to monitor critical events and defining thresholds for performance metrics, administrators can take proactive measures to prevent downtime or data loss and ensure the performance, availability and security of their network devices.

If you’re looking for a reliable network monitoring solution that includes SNMP Traps, we recommend using Netreo. It offers real-time visibility into your network, allowing you to promptly identify and address issues. Experience the power of Netreo and request your demo today.

This post was written by Israel Oyetunji. Israel is a frontend developer with a knack for creating engaging UI and interactive experiences. He has proven experience developing consumer-focused websites using HTML, CSS, Javascript, React JS, SASS, and relevant technologies. He loves writing about tech and creating how-to tutorials for developers.

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