A management system contains: several (potentially many) nodes, each with a processing entity, termed an agent, which has access to management instrumentation; at least one management station; and, a management protocol, used to convey management information between the agents and management stations. Operations of the protocol are carried out under an administrative framework which defines authentication, authorization, access control, and privacy policies.
Management stations execute management applications which monitor and control managed elements. Managed elements are devices such as hosts, routers, terminal servers, etc., which are monitored and controlled via access to their management information.
Management information is viewed as a collection of managed objects, residing in a virtual information store, termed the Management Information Base (MIB). Collections of related objects are defined in MIB modules. These modules are written using a subset of OSI's Abstract Syntax Notation One (ASN.1) , termed the Structure of Management Information (SMI) .
When designing a MIB module, it is often useful to define new types similar to those defined in the SMI. In comparison to a type defined in the SMI, each of these new types has a different name, a similar syntax, but a more precise semantics. These newly defined types are termed textual conventions, and are used for the convenience of humans reading the MIB module. It is the purpose of this document to define the initial set of textual conventions available to all MIB modules.
Objects defined using a textual convention are always encoded by means of the rules that define their primitive type. However, textual conventions often have special semantics associated with them. As such, an ASN.1 macro, TEXTUAL-CONVENTION, is used to concisely convey the syntax and semantics of a textual convention.
For all textual conventions defined in an information module, the name shall be unique and mnemonic, and shall not exceed 64 characters in length. (However, names longer than 32 characters are not recommended.) All names used for the textual conventions defined in all "standard" information modules shall be unique.