ber_next_element - Linux


ber_next_element is a Net-SNMP command-line tool used to navigate the Basic Encoding Rules (BER) format of a specified SNMP PDU. It allows users to retrieve the next BER element within the PDU, enabling detailed inspection and manipulation of its contents.


ber_next_element -f <file> -b <offset> -s <length>


  • -f (Required): Specifies the SNMP PDU file to be examined.
  • -b (Required): Sets the initial byte offset within the file to start searching for the BER element.
  • -s (Optional): Defines the maximum length (in bytes) of the BER element to be retrieved. If not specified, the entire element will be retrieved.


1. Get the next 100 bytes from offset 50 in file ‘pdu.txt’:

ber_next_element -f pdu.txt -b 50 -s 100

2. Retrieve the entire BER element from offset 200 in file ‘pdu2.txt’:

ber_next_element -f pdu2.txt -b 200

Common Issues

  • Malformed PDU: If the specified PDU file is not in a valid BER format, the command may fail or provide inaccurate results.
  • Incorrect Offset: Ensure the provided offset is within the bounds of the PDU file to avoid undefined behavior.
  • Incomplete Element: When the specified length is shorter than the actual element, only a portion of the element will be retrieved.


ber_next_element can be integrated with other Net-SNMP tools for advanced tasks:

  • Use snmpget or snmpwalk to retrieve PDUs and then pipe the output to ber_next_element for detailed analysis.
  • Write scripts that iterate through PDU files, extracting and processing BER elements using ber_next_element.

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