SNMP is an Internet Standard protocol for collecting and organizing information about managed devices on IP networks and for modifying that information to change device behavior. Devices that typically support SNMP include cable modems, routers, switches, servers, workstations, printers, and more.

SNMP is widely used in network management for network monitoring. SNMP exposes management data in the form of variables on the managed systems organized in a management information base (MIB) which describe the system status and configuration. These variables can then be remotely queried (and, in some circumstances, manipulated) by managing applications.

Three significant versions of SNMP have been developed and deployed. SNMPv1 is the original version of the protocol. More recent versions, SNMPv2c and SNMPv3, feature improvements in performance, flexibility and security.

SNMP is a component of the Internet Protocol Suite as defined by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF). It consists of a set of standards for network management, including an application layer protocol, a database schema, and a set of data objects.

Overview and basic concepts

In typical uses of SNMP, one or more administrative computers called managers have the task of monitoring or managing a group of hosts or devices on a computer network. Each managed system executes a software component called an agent which reports information via SNMP to the manager.

An SNMP-managed network consists of three key components:

  • Managed devices

  • Agent - software which runs on managed devices

  • Network management station (NMS) - software which runs on the manager

A managed device is a network node that implements an SNMP interface that allows unidirectional (read-only) or bidirectional (read and write) access to node-specific information. Managed devices exchange node-specific information with the NMSs. Sometimes called network elements, the managed devices can be any type of device, including, but not limited to, routers, access servers, switches, cable modems, bridges, hubs, IP telephones, IP video cameras, computer hosts, and printers.

An agent is a network-management software module that resides on a managed device. An agent has local knowledge of management information and translates that information to or from an SNMP-specific form.

A network management station executes applications that monitor and control managed devices. NMSs provide the bulk of the processing and memory resources required for network management. One or more NMSs may exist on any managed network.

Principle of SNMP Communication

Image thankfully borrowed from which is under the GNU Free Documentation License


VyOS SNMP supports both IPv4 and IPv6.

SNMP Protocol Versions

VyOS itself supports SNMPv2 (version 2) and SNMPv3 (version 3) where the later is recommended because of improved security (optional authentication and encryption).


SNMPv2 is the original and most commonly used version. For authorizing clients, SNMP uses the concept of communities. Communities may have authorization set to read only (this is most common) or to read and write (this option is not actively used in VyOS).

SNMP can work synchronously or asynchronously. In synchronous communication, the monitoring system queries the router periodically. In asynchronous, the router sends notification to the “trap” (the monitoring host).

SNMPv2 does not support any authentication mechanisms, other than client source address, so you should specify addresses of clients allowed to monitor the router. Note that SNMPv2 also supports no encryption and always sends data in plain text.


# Define a community
set service snmp community routers authorization ro

# Allow monitoring access from the entire network
set service snmp community routers network
set service snmp community routers network 2001::db8:ffff:eeee::/64

# Allow monitoring access from specific addresses
set service snmp community routers client
set service snmp community routers client

# Define optional router information
set service snmp location "UK, London"
set service snmp contact "[email protected]"

# Trap target if you want asynchronous communication
set service snmp trap-target

# Listen only on specific IP addresses (port defaults to 161)
set service snmp listen-address port 161
set service snmp listen-address 2001:db8::f00::1


SNMPv3 (version 3 of the SNMP protocol) introduced a whole slew of new security related features that have been missing from the previous versions. Security was one of the biggest weakness of SNMP until v3. Authentication in SNMP Versions 1 and 2 amounts to nothing more than a password (community string) sent in clear text between a manager and agent. Each SNMPv3 message contains security parameters which are encoded as an octet string. The meaning of these security parameters depends on the security model being used.

The security approach in SNMPv3 targets:

  • Confidentiality – Encryption of packets to prevent snooping by an unauthorized source.

  • Integrity – Message integrity to ensure that a packet has not been tampered while in transit including an optional packet replay protection mechanism.

  • Authentication – to verify that the message is from a valid source.


  • Let SNMP daemon listen only on IP address

  • Configure new SNMP user named “vyos” with password “vyos12345678”

  • New user will use SHA/AES for authentication and privacy

set service snmp listen-address
set service snmp location 'VyOS Datacenter'
set service snmp v3 engineid '000000000000000000000002'
set service snmp v3 group default mode 'ro'
set service snmp v3 group default view 'default'
set service snmp v3 user vyos auth plaintext-password 'vyos12345678'
set service snmp v3 user vyos auth type 'sha'
set service snmp v3 user vyos group 'default'
set service snmp v3 user vyos privacy plaintext-password 'vyos12345678'
set service snmp v3 user vyos privacy type 'aes'
set service snmp v3 view default oid 1

After commit the plaintext passwords will be hashed and stored in your configuration. The resulting CLI config will look like:

vyos@vyos# show service snmp
 listen-address {
 location "VyOS Datacenter"
 v3 {
     engineid 000000000000000000000002
     group default {
         mode ro
         view default
     user vyos {
         auth {
             encrypted-password 4e52fe55fd011c9c51ae2c65f4b78ca93dcafdfe
             type sha
         group default
         privacy {
             encrypted-password 4e52fe55fd011c9c51ae2c65f4b78ca93dcafdfe
             type aes
     view default {
         oid 1 {

You can test the SNMPv3 functionality from any linux based system, just run the following command: snmpwalk -v 3 -u vyos -a SHA -A vyos12345678 -x AES -X vyos12345678 -l authPriv .1


All SNMP MIBs are located in each image of VyOS here: /usr/share/snmp/mibs/

You are be able to download the files using SCP, once the SSH service has been activated like so

scp -r vyos@your_router:/usr/share/snmp/mibs /your_folder/mibs

SNMP Extensions

To extend SNMP agent functionality, custom scripts can be executed every time the agent is being called. This can be achieved by using arbitrary extensioncommands. The first step is to create a functional script of course, then upload it to your VyOS instance via the command scp vyos@your_router:/config/user-data. Once the script is uploaded, it needs to be configured via the command below.

set service snmp script-extensions extension-name my-extension script

The OID ., once called, will contain the output of the extension.

root@vyos:/home/vyos# snmpwalk -v2c  -c public nsExtendOutput1
NET-SNMP-EXTEND-MIB::nsExtendOutput1Line."my-extension" = STRING: hello
NET-SNMP-EXTEND-MIB::nsExtendOutputFull."my-extension" = STRING: hello
NET-SNMP-EXTEND-MIB::nsExtendOutNumLines."my-extension" = INTEGER: 1
NET-SNMP-EXTEND-MIB::nsExtendResult."my-extension" = INTEGER: 0


If you happen to use SolarWinds Orion as NMS you can also use the Device Templates Management. A template for VyOS can be easily imported.

Create a file named VyOS- using the following content:

<Configuration-Management Device="VyOS" SystemOID="">
        <Command Name="Reset" Value="set terminal width 0${CRLF}set terminal length 0"/>
        <Command Name="Reboot" Value="reboot${CRLF}Yes"/>
        <Command Name="EnterConfigMode" Value="configure"/>
        <Command Name="ExitConfigMode" Value="commit${CRLF}exit"/>
        <Command Name="DownloadConfig" Value="show configuration commands"/>
        <Command Name="SaveConfig" Value="commit${CRLF}save"/>
        <Command Name="Version" Value="show version"/>
        <Command Name="MenuBased" Value="False"/>
        <Command Name="VirtualPrompt" Value=":~"/>