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The Design Of A Graphical User Interface For A Network Management Protocol

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1996 Annual Conference


Washington, District of Columbia

Publication Date

June 23, 1996

Start Date

June 23, 1996

End Date

June 26, 1996



Page Count


Page Numbers

1.450.1 - 1.450.6

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Paper Authors

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Youlu Zheng

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Xiaoan Hou

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 1626

The Design of a Graphical User Interface for a Network Management Protocol

Xiaoan Hou, Youlu Zheng Science Application International Corporation / University of Montana


1.1 GUI and X-Window System

The graphical user interface (GUI) is one of the most revolutionary changes occurring in the evolution of modern computing systems.[1] In the space of less than 15 years the expectation of what the interaction between human and computer should be like has changed from a terse, character-oriented exchange modeled on the teletypewriter to the familiar Windows, Icons, Menus and Pointing device (WIMP) interface. This revolution has increased the accessibility and usability of computer systems to the general public.

The X Window System (X for short) is widely recognized as the industry standard for network-based window systems.[2] X provides a powerful platform that allows programmers to develop sophisticated graphic user interfaces portable to any system that supports the X protocol. Motif is a high-level user interface toolkit that makes it easier to write applications that use the X Window System.[3] The Motif library builds on the Xt Intrinsics layer and provides visual components like buttons and scrollbars from which an application's user interface can be built. A educational network management software, named SNMPview, was newly developed using Motif/Xt. SNMPview possesses a high portability to the large body of existing different UNIX platforms.

1.2. Simple Network Management Protocol

In the IP world, simple network management protocol is synonymous with network management. The word simple can be deceptive. The simple in Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP), for example, might lead you to think it is a protocol, or a set of rules, for simple network management. In fact, network management is never simple nor are the protocols that are used to implement it. The oxymoronic SNMP is "simple" only in comparison to the OSI (Open Systems Interconnection) management model. In fact, SNMP was originally designed and implemented as an interim specification for communicating with network devices while the OSI specification was being finalized and being implemented during the late 80s. SNMP was supposed to fade away once OSI came on-line. But things have not worked out that way. By 1993, when OSI finally matured, SNMP had a three years head start and had already been implemented in hundreds of products. SNMP is now the de facto standard in network management.

The SNMP model for managing networks is based on three pieces of software: agents, MIBs (management information bases), and management stations (or called manager). Figure 1 shows the schematic representation of SNMP model.[4] Agents are pieces of software that run at each network device. They fetch

1996 ASEE Annual Conference Proceedings

Zheng, Y., & Hou, X. (1996, June), The Design Of A Graphical User Interface For A Network Management Protocol Paper presented at 1996 Annual Conference, Washington, District of Columbia.

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