The Differences Between SNMP V2 & V2C

By Jeremy Cato

Simple Network Management Protocol is an Internet protocol used to manage devices on a network. The protocol has undergone several transformations throughout its development. SNMP Version 2 was one of those transformations, released in the 1990s and it has its own sub-protocol known as SNMP Version 2 Community (SNMP V2C).


SNMP V2 has added security features that are not present in SNMP V2C or SNMP V1. SNMP was equipped with different protocol data units (PDUs) in order to eliminate the error messages that were frequently a problem with SNMP V2. These also made the protocol more complex. SNMP V2C also has PDUs that are different from version 1, but not to the degree of V2. It uses what is called a community-based security protocol.


SNMP V2 and SNMP V2C were used for different purposes. SNMP V2 was a direct replacement and update to SNMP V1 and was designed to be used in large networks. It was equipped with new protocols, such as GetBulk and Inform, to allow it to handle large amounts of data. SNMP V2C is a "lighter" version of SNMP V2 and was not as capable of such large capacity.


The two protocols also have differences in compatibility. Neither SNMP V2 or SNMP V2 are compatible with version 1, but SNMP V2 has two options (not found in SNMP V2C) that aid the protocol in attaining compatibility when necessary. Proxy settings can allow SNMP V2 to work version 1 devices. Additionally, some networks are capable of understanding both protocols.

Other Information

Both SNMP V2 and SNMP V2C have been replaced by SNMP V3, the most current protocol in the SNMP family (as of 2010). SNMP V3 has a much more refined set of PDUs, messages, security settings and other updates that eliminate many of the problems of the previous systems.