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Level 7

SNMP credentials -- setting and info

I'm evaluating NTM for use in a network we have installed in our church. I'm a professional s/w developer (C++, JavaScript, etc.), but NOT a network professional. I understand switches, routers, WAPs, SNMP, TCP/IP, etc. at a high level, so perhaps I'm in over my head trying to use NTM. What I'm trying to do is understand the network the church had installed (and evolved somewhat) over the last 10 years. Many times (several times a week) we just don't know what's going on with the network--network slowdown or failure to respond, usually. A reset of the modem to the ISP seems to "solve" things, but that's not really a solution. So I'm trying to understand what the church has, then perhaps monitor the network to see what's going on. There's no documentation on the network (of course), and no $ to pay for network professionals. (I know...we're going to get what we've paid for!)

So my first step is to see if I can get a map of what's involved in the network; hence the desire to get NTM working for me. (Or am I going down the wrong road right at the beginning?) I go through the initial "newbie" NTM video, and I'm immediately flummoxed when they talk about SNMP credentials. (As I said, I understand the network ideas at a high level.) Does each device (switch, router, WAP, PC, laptop, mac, etc.) need to have this credential configured as well?

At a higher level, my question is: how can I get a map of my network? I connect my laptop via wired utp to the network, enter the subnet address and mask, and let it scan. It shows me a bunch of ICMP "devices" as well as two printers. It even displays my laptop's system name; all the others are simply listed with IP addresses. It doesn't show any devices connected to the various WiFi WAPs that I know are configured.

Is there some tutorial that goes into all this? The one I went through assumed I knew a lot more than I did (such as the credentials). Or am I asking for a network education first?

TIA.

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I saw your post on mapping out your network. I've worked for churches before and totally understand the limitations that you have. I'd be willing to discuss and help where I can.