Illustration of a laptop computer surrounded by symbols depicting the benefits of using SNMPv3 over SNMPv2

What are the benefits of using SNMPv3 over SNMPv2?

With hybrid working becoming increasingly common for businesses across the UK, many organisations are facing challenges when it comes to monitoring and managing remote, networked devices.

Internet protocols – like SNMP for example – can help network managers address these issues – by supporting the effective management of remote devices and enhancing security across networks. Here we discuss the different versions of SNMP and what they can offer your organisation.

What is SNMP?

Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP) is a standard internet protocol that allows devices to be centrally managed across a network.

It’s a versatile and widely used application for monitoring and managing remote workstations, as well as devices like routers, servers and printers. Crucially, SNMP includes security measures that protect the data sent through a network. Three broad versions of SNMP are available: SNMPv1, SNMPv2 and SNMPv3.

What is SNMPv1?

SNMPv1 is the first version of the widely used SNMP. It employs a manager-agent model where a networked central manager issues requests and managed agent devices send responses in return.

Despite being a flexible, open and standardised protocol that allows remote devices to be managed, SNMPv1 doesn’t provide strong network security. A community string password is the only security feature available in SNMPv1.

What is SNMPv2?

SNMPv2 is the updated version of SNMPv1 and offers improved performance over the original protocol. For instance, SNMPv2 includes a GetBulkRequest feature that supports the retrieval of large amounts of data from agent devices with a single request.

It also introduced a new, more effective party-based security system, but it was widely regarded as too complex and wasn’t broadly adopted. This led to the development of SNMPv2c, that reverted to the security system from SNMPv1. And subsequently SNMPv2u that introduced a new, improved and simplified security feature.

What is SNMPv3?

SNMPv3 is the third and latest version of the SNMP protocol. Although it uses the same essential architecture as the earlier versions, it offers enhanced remote configuration options. Importantly, it also adds new security features.

This version is based on two features, encryption and authentication. Data sent between SNMP devices can be encrypted (coded) to prevent data breaches through interception. Authentication is used to make sure only the intended recipient of a data packet can receive that data packet.

What are the benefits of using SNMPv3 over SNMPv2?

SNMPv3 is the most sophisticated and secure version. Although SNMPv2 – especially SNMPv2u – is advanced and offers enhanced security over SNMPv1, it doesn’t compete with SNMPv3 when it comes to security.

SNMPv3 offers:

  • Sophisticated network management tools.
  • Agent authentication.
  • Streamlined encryption.
  • The ability to generate as many unique usernames as required.
  • A host of third-party applications that provide a wide range of network tools. These include command generators and responders, notification originators and receivers, and proxy forwarders.

Implementing SNMP into your organisation’s remote working environment is essential to oversee and manage networks in a simple and systematic manner. But with network attacks on the rise and security more important than ever, SNMPv3’s strong security features are essential.

Discover more about how Brother can help your organisation successfully transition to hybrid working, including our range of tailored hybrid working technology solutions.


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