2 Common Types of Network Management Protocols

Network Monitoring


Jordan MacPherson - global Network and Server Management leader - headshot
Jordan MacPherson November 23, 2021

What Are Network Protocols?

Network protocols can be defined as languages which enable the ability for devices to communicate even if their structure, design, or internal processes differ.

In basic terms, network protocols prescribe the way devices transfer data through networks using a set of rules. Fundamentally, they’re the basis of modern digital communications because they’re what allow people to reach each other.

There are three types of network protocols:

  1. Network management (ICMP, SNMP)
  2. Network security (HTTPS, SFTP, SSL)
  3. Network communication (TCP/IP, HTTP)

What Are Network Management Protocols?

Network management protocols are designed for maintaining and governing the network. Specifically, they determine the policies and procedures required for monitoring, managing, and maintaining a computer network. This allows for stable network communication and performance.

Why Are Network Management Protocols Important and How Do They Work?

A network management protocol provides a network operator with a host’s availability, packet/data loss, overall status, and information about the health of the connection. A network operator can use this information to effectively troubleshoot connections between host and client devices.

Furthermore, the policies which protocols manage can apply to all network devices, comprising:

  • Computers
  • Switches
  • Routers
  • Servers

2 Types of Network Management Protocols

The most common types of network management protocols include Internet Control Message Protocol (ICMP) and Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP).

1. Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP)

SNMP, also known as simple network management protocol, is a way of talking to network elements that you want to monitor. More specifically and technically, it’s a standard protocol defined by the Internet Architecture Board used for managing network devices connected over an IP.

SNMP allows devices on a network to communicate, regardless of hardware and software. This provides network devices (routers, printers, servers, etc.) with a common language for sharing information with a network management system.

The purpose of every network monitoring tool is to continually monitor and manage the health of network devices across an organization. Managing the health of network devices is necessary to ensure all applications and services employees and customers are using are working properly, which requires all physical hardware, network devices, and virtual network devices to work properly.

Dating back over 30 years, SNMP is the most ubiquitous way to monitor network devices today, bridging the connection into network devices that essentially allows a network professional to ask the question “How can I monitor you, device?” SNMP touches every single form of network monitoring you can imagine, but it’s actually quite simple in terms of functionality.

2. Internet Control Message Protocol (ICMP)

ICMP a network monitoring protocol that’s designed specifically for error reporting. Network devices rely on ICMP to transmit error messages. For example, a router might use ICMP in a situation where a host or client cannot be reached, or queried information is unavailable. Contrary to SNMP, ICMP is not used in scenarios where an exchange of data takes place between systems. However, it’s often used by network admins and analysts to troubleshoot internet connections within diagnostic utilities such as traceroute or ping.

ICMP is a connectionless protocol which is not associated with transport layer protocols like TCP or UDP. There is no need for a device to open a connection with the target device before transmitting a message, unlike TCP, for instance. Rather, ICMP messages are sent as datagrams, consisting of an IP header which encapsulates ICMP data. This ensures that the specific failed packet is identified to the request source that receives the error message.

Common error messages ICMP reports include:

  • Destination unreachable
  • Redirect
  • Time exceeded
  • Parameter problem
  • Source quench (deprecated)
  • Destination unreachable
  • Packet too big

Simplify Your Network Monitoring

Managing a network is an incredibly complex task, and the incumbent software providers seem to force a confusing assortment of modules on you to make matters worse.

Contact Park Place Technologies when you’re ready to simplify your network management by bringing network discovery, network flow analysis, and network event management together in one place!

Jordan MacPherson - global Network and Server Management leader - headshot

About the Author

Jordan MacPherson,
Jordan is responsible for guiding the global Network and Server Management offerings for Park Place’s ParkView Managed Services division. His responsibilities include collaborating with Sales, Marketing, Enterprise Operations, and the R&D team to develop and bring to market Park Place’s world-class managed services. He brings 12 years of global experience in planning, monitoring, and delivering IT Services, including nearly 10 years as a Team Lead and Strategic Applications Developer with MSP IntelliNet before its acquisition by Park Place. Jordan is a graduate of Ohio University.