What is a Management Information Base?

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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 07 October 2019
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Management information bases are collections of various network objects that are operated with the use of a Simple Network Management Protocol, or SNMP. The exact structure of the objects included in the management information base will depend on the configuration of the particular SNMP. However, additional extensions can allow for the addition of new objects outside the initial structure.

Both the initial management information base and any extensions can be related to specific functions within a network. Some MIBs may be related to the definition of the domain name system, while other extensions may be associated with network objects like the fiber distributed data interface. Product developers make use of the management information bases model when designing a new product, or preparing an enhanced version of an existing product.

While the initial management information base is usually defined as a portion of the SNMP, the extensions are generally set up as part of the basic management information base. Among technicians, the initial management information base is usually referred to as MIB-1, while MIB-II would refer to the first extension. The numbering process helps not only to identify the initial management information base quickly, but also will aid in identifying the home connection of the network objects involved.


The underlying purpose for the creation and utilization of a management information base is to allow the logical utilization of the network objects in carrying out various commands. By making use of the MIB as the environment where specific objects reside, it is easier for the system to locate and make use of the objects. The end result is the execution of commands that is transparent to the user, and with no delays.

It is a fairly simple process to create and register new MIB extensions. Many of the leading suppliers of technology and communications equipment regularly create management information bases extensions that are unique to some of their signature products. Among some of the companies that have created unique MIB extensions are IBM, Cisco, and Novell.


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