Difference Between SNMPv2 and SNMPv3

SNMP or Simple Network Management Protocol is a protocol for internet standards that helps in the collection and organization of the information related to the managed devices present on the IP networks.


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It is supported in devices that have cable modems, routers, servers, switches, workstations, etc. 

SNMP operates in application layers of Protocol Suite of the internet and the messages are transported via UDP or User Datagram Protocol. SNMP has three versions, named as SNMP V1, SNMP V2 and SNMP V3.

The first two versions have only small differences whereas there are various differences between version 2 and version 3 that are often misunderstood.

Key Takeaways

  1. SNMPv2 has a weak security model and limited encryption capabilities, whereas SNMPv3 offers more security features and robust encryption protocols.
  2. SNMPv2 is less complex and easier to set up, while SNMPv3 is more complex and requires more configuration.
  3. SNMPv2 uses community strings for authentication, whereas SNMPv3 uses more advanced authentication methods such as username and password.

SNMPv2 vs SNMPv3

The difference between SNMPV2 and SNMPV3 is that of the features some of which are lacking in the older versions. SNMPV2 is the second version of SNMP and is currently the most used version but the major disadvantage of this version was that there was no security provided to a person on the network. SNMPV3 is the newest version of SNMP and to the primary focus of this version was to enhance security for the person on the network. 

SNMPv2 vs SNMPv3

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Comparison Table

Parameter of ComparisonSNMPV2SNMPV3
What it stands for?SNMPV2 is an abbreviated form of Simple Network Management Protocol version 2. SNMPV3 is an abbreviated form of Simple Network Management Protocol version 3.
What it refers to?Simple Network Management Protocol version 2 is the standard protocol for the internet to collect and organize information regarding the managed devices present on the IP networks, it was an improved version of the earlier launched versions with some improvements.Simple Network Management Protocol version 3 is also an internet standard protocol for the same purpose, however, it has improved cryptographic security, remote configuration enhancements, textual conventions, etc. 
Version and its securitySNMPV2 is the second and currently existing version of SNMP, however, this version is similar to the earlier version in terms of security where no security is provided to a person on the network.SNMPV3 is the third and newest version of SNMP and the primary focus of this version is to improve security features.
Protocol and protocol operationsSNMPV2 comes with a simple request and response protocol. The protocol operations used by SNMPV2 are as Set Changes: Trap, Similarity: Get, GetNext message format. New protocol operations added are named as GetBulk and Inform.SNMPV3 uses the protocol operations of SNMPV2 and the PDU format message.
Message formatSNMPV2 has seven messages in it, which are GetRequest, GetNext, SetRequest, Trap, Response, InformRequest, GetBulkRequest.SNMPV3 uses similar message formats to other versions of SNMP along with proposed new features.

What is SNMPV2?

SNMP version 2 is defined in RFC or request for comments 1441 to RFC or request for comment1452. It has various improvements over earlier version of SNMP. The performance of the version was improved and was added with security and confidentiality features.

SNMP version 2 has seven messages in it, namely, GetRequest, GetNext, Trap, SetRequest, Response, InformRequest, GetBulkRequest. GetBulkRequest message was added to get large data in a single request. 

User reports of SNMPV2 suggested that they found this version complex due to the security system that are party based. SNMP version 2 exists in three types named SNMPV2c, SNMPV2u and SNMPV2.

However, the SNMP V2c is regarded as de facto SNMP V2 though it is a Draft Standard since people found it easier than SNMPV2. 


What is SNMPV3?

SNMP version 3 is the latest version of SNMP. SNMPV3 or SNMP version 3 is a similar protocol of SNMP version 2, the only change was regarding the security and encryption.

The main focus of this version was the security enhancements since earlier versions can not tackle the security concerns properly.

SNMP version 3 was different due to the addition of new features of texts, concepts and new terminologies. SNMP version 3 used the same protocol of SNMP version 2.


Main Differences Between SNMPV2 and SNMPV3

  1. SNMP stands for Simple Network Management Protocol, V in V2 and V3 refers to version 2 and 3 respectively.
  2. SNMPV2 is the second version of SNMP and SNMPV3 is the third version. 
  3. SNMPV2 and SNMPV3 differ in terms of security and remote configuration model. 
  4. SNMPV2 uses complex party-based security systems, on the other hand, SNMPV3 uses an enhanced cryptographic security system. 
  5. Standards of SNMPV2 are RFC-1441, 1452, RFC-1909, 1910, RFC- 1901 to 1908, on the other hand, standards of SNMPV3 are RFC- 1902 to 1908, 2271 to 2275, where RFC stands for request for comments.
  6. SNMPV2 provides no security to the person on the network, on the other hand, the primary focus of the SNMPV3 is a security enhancement. 
  7. SNMPV2 uses a simple request and response protocol.
  8. The protocol operations used by SNMPV2 are Set Changes: Trap, Similarity: Get, GetNext message format. New protocol operations added are GetBulk and Inform, on the other hand, SNMPV3 also uses the same protocols and its PDU message format.
  9. SNMPV2 and SNMPV3 use seven message formats but version 3 uses them with new proposed features.
  10. Plaintext community strings are present in SNMPV2 while they are absent in SNMPV3.
  11. Encrypted traffic and Detection of malformed packets are done in both SNMPV2 and SNMPV3.
  12. Both the versions are not susceptible to injection attacks, replay attacks, sniffing of session keys.
  13. SNMPV2 is susceptible to buffer overflow attacks and brute force attacks while SNMPV3 is not susceptible to these attacks.
  14. Default or known passwords are present in version 2 while they are lacking in version 3.
  15. SNMP version 2 defines a general framework with which MIB is defined and structured, on the other hand, SNMP version 3 can configure agents to several numbers of levels of access to MIB.
  1. https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/abstract/document/663326/
  2. https://wxcafe.net/pub/IPJ/ipj01-3.pdf
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