The names for all object types in the MIB are defined explicitly either in the Internet-standard MIB or in other documents which conform to the naming conventions of the SMI. The SMI requires that conformant management protocols define mechanisms for identifying individual instances of those object types for a particular network element.
Each instance of any object type defined in the MIB is identified in SNMP operations by a unique name called its "variable name." In general, the name of an SNMP variable is an OBJECT IDENTIFIER of the form x.y, where x is the name of a non-aggregate object type defined in the MIB and y is an OBJECT IDENTIFIER fragment that, in a way specific to the named object type, identifies the desired instance.
This naming strategy admits the fullest exploitation of the semantics of the GetNextRequest-PDU (see Section 4), because it assigns names for related variables so as to be contiguous in the lexicographical ordering of all variable names known in the MIB.
The type-specific naming of object instances is defined below for a number of classes of object types. Instances of an object type to which none of the following naming conventions are applicable are named by OBJECT IDENTIFIERs of the form x.0, where x is the name of said object type in the MIB definition.
For example, suppose one wanted to identify an instance of the variable sysDescr The object class for sysDescr is:
iso org dod internet mgmt mib system sysDescr 1 3 6 1 2 1 1 1
Hence, the object type, x, would be 188.8.131.52.184.108.40.206 to which is appended an instance sub-identifier of 0. That is, 220.127.116.11.18.104.22.168.0 identifies the one and only instance of sysDescr.