Using the Mibble MIB Browser
Mibble is an open-source SNMP MIB Browser and parser that makes it easy to view and understand SNMP MIB files. It also provides the ability to query a device via SNMP Get, GetNext and Set commands to retrieve, display and set values on a particular device. Because it is written in Java, MibbleBrowser is cross-platform, and can be easily used on Windows, MacOS X, Linux and Unix. The main site for Mibble is http://mibble.org
Network monitoring packages frequently use SNMP queries to retrieve critical statistics from equipment, such as traffic and error rates, CPU, memory and disk utilization, temperature and humidity from environmental monitors, etc. MibbleBrowser allows you to query devices to see the current values of those statistics, as well as viewing the MIB files so you can know the exact definition of each one.
The Mibble site has the main distribution of the software. Dartware, LLC has made usability enhancements to the base Mibble program that are described in this note. You can download Dartware's modifications to Mibble from http://download.intermapper.com/thirdparty/mibble-2.9.3-dartware.zip
Getting Started with Mibble
Unzip the downloadable version. The MibbleBrowser.jar file is the MIB Browser application. Because it's a Java application, it will run on virtually any operating system.
For Windows or MacOS X, uncompress the archive and double-click the MibbleBrowser.jar file.
For Linux or Unix , unzip the archive, cd to the directory, and enter:
java -jar MibbleBrowser.jar
If you are new to SNMP, you can start by experimenting with RFC1213-MIB (also known as "MIB-II" or "MIB-2"). This is a widely-implemented MIB in networking equipment that provides a lot of useful information. To try it out, launch MibbleBrowser, and:
- Click on the name RFC1213-MIB on the left. You'll see the full text of the MIB in the right hand pane.
- Double-click RFC1213-MIB, and expand the "VALUES/mib-2/system" tree in the left pane. Click on sysDescr (the system's description). The top-right pane displays the definition of the sysDescr variable.
- To retrieve the value for sysDescr, you'll need the IP address of a device on your network (a router or switch, or a computer or other device) that has SNMP enabled.
- Enter its address in the Host IP address field along with its Read Community string and Port Number (defaults are almost always "public" and 161, respectively).
- Click Get;this should return the "system description". Click GetNext to retrieve the next values in sequence (sysObjectID, sysUpTime, sysContact, sysName, etc.)
This distribution also contains hundreds of MIB files that describe statistics for many kinds of equipment. To use those built-in files, simply load them (using File->Load MIB...) into MibbleBrowser. You will see the MIB name appear in the list in the left pane. You can also retrieve MIB files from a vendor's web site, save them to your hard drive, and import them (File->Import MIB...) if they are not already in the built-in set.
What else can Mibble do?
The base Mibble package also provides a MIB parser (or SMI parser) that can be used to read and display SNMP MIB files as well as simple ASN.1 files. It also contains MIB pretty printer and MIB validator programs.
The Mibble libraries in this distribution also contain classes for easy programmatic access to all the information in the MIB file, including OIDs, type data and descriptions. To learn more about this these features, check the Mibble.org website.
What's New in Dartware's Release?
Dartware's Version 2.9.3 primarily contains changes to improve usability of MibbleBrowser as a MIB browser, and includes:
- Keyboard shortcut (Ctl-O) for loading/opening a MIB file from the hundreds that are built into MibbleBrowser itself.
- Importing other MIB files (Ctl-I) loads MIB files from the customer's hard drive.
- Mibble now retains a list of the MIBs that were loaded when it quits.
- Mibble reloads the list of MIBs when it restarts. (If no MIBs are present, it loads a default set of MIBs. Unloading all MIB files is a convenient way to restore the default set of MIBs.)
- Clicking the MIB name in the left pane displays the full text of the MIB in the right pane.
- See the full version history in the download for more details.
Dartware's Version 2.9.3 Available - 6 January 2010
Dartware, LLC is pleased to release these enhancements as Version 2.9.3, and to contribute the changes back to the main Mibble distribution under a GPL license. Download it from http://download.intermapper.com/thirdparty/mibble-2.9.3-dartware.zip
Dartware is a believer in easy-to-use graphical tools for network monitoring. Among its products are the InterMapper network monitoring software and InterMapper Flows, a NetFlow and sFlow analyzer.
Version 2.9.2 Available - 11 April 2009 17:45
Version 2.9.2 of Mibble has been released. This version contains a few bug fixes to the original 2.9 release. See the full version history at http://mibble.org/doc/release/version.html for more details. All licensees of version 2.9 have been provided with a free upgrade.
Version 2.9 Available - 19 March 2009 21:52
Version 2.9 of Mibble has been released. This version improves parsing speed significantly and contains a number of minor updates to the API and bundled MIB files. See the full version history for more details.
Mibble is released with full source code under the GNU GPL license. This license permits free usage, but redistribution of Mibble or any derived code is restricted. Please see the GPL licensing FAQ at http://mibble.org/doc/faq/license/index.html for more information.
Mibble is copyright (c) 2003-2009 Per Cederberg.