SNMP - Protocol
Short for Simple Network Management Protocol, a set of protocols for managing complex networks. The first versions of SNMP were developed in the early 80s. SNMP works by sending messages, called protocol data units (PDUs), to different parts of a network. SNMP-compliant devices, called agents, store data about themselves in Management Information Bases (MIBs) and return this data to the SNMP requesters.
SNMP 1 reports only whether a device is functioning properly. The industry has attempted to define a new set of protocols called SNMP 2 that would provide additional information, but the standardization efforts have not been successful. Instead, network managers have turned to a related technology called RMON that provides more detailed information about network usage.