US20040049575A1 - Electronic device monitoring method, electronic device, computer, and program thereof - Google Patents

Electronic device monitoring method, electronic device, computer, and program thereof Download PDF

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US20040049575A1
US20040049575A1 US10451968 US45196803A US2004049575A1 US 20040049575 A1 US20040049575 A1 US 20040049575A1 US 10451968 US10451968 US 10451968 US 45196803 A US45196803 A US 45196803A US 2004049575 A1 US2004049575 A1 US 2004049575A1
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electronic device
data
computer
step
transmission destination
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US10451968
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Tatsuya Ikeda
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Sony Corp
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Sony Corp
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    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04LTRANSMISSION OF DIGITAL INFORMATION, e.g. TELEGRAPHIC COMMUNICATION
    • H04L41/00Arrangements for maintenance or administration or management of packet switching networks
    • H04L41/08Configuration management of network or network elements
    • H04L41/085Keeping track of network configuration
    • H04L41/0856Keeping track of network configuration by archiving or backing up configuration information
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04LTRANSMISSION OF DIGITAL INFORMATION, e.g. TELEGRAPHIC COMMUNICATION
    • H04L12/00Data switching networks
    • H04L12/28Data switching networks characterised by path configuration, e.g. local area networks [LAN], wide area networks [WAN]
    • H04L12/2803Home automation networks
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04LTRANSMISSION OF DIGITAL INFORMATION, e.g. TELEGRAPHIC COMMUNICATION
    • H04L12/00Data switching networks
    • H04L12/28Data switching networks characterised by path configuration, e.g. local area networks [LAN], wide area networks [WAN]
    • H04L12/2803Home automation networks
    • H04L12/2823Reporting information sensed by appliance or service execution status of appliance services in a home automation network
    • H04L12/2825Reporting to a device located outside the home and the home network
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04LTRANSMISSION OF DIGITAL INFORMATION, e.g. TELEGRAPHIC COMMUNICATION
    • H04L41/00Arrangements for maintenance or administration or management of packet switching networks
    • H04L41/02Arrangements for maintenance or administration or management of packet switching networks involving integration or standardization
    • H04L41/0246Arrangements for maintenance or administration or management of packet switching networks involving integration or standardization exchanging or transporting network management information using Internet, e.g. aspects relating to embedding network management web servers in network elements, web service for network management purposes, aspects related to Internet applications or services or web-based protocols, simple object access protocol [SOAP]
    • H04L41/0253Arrangements for maintenance or administration or management of packet switching networks involving integration or standardization exchanging or transporting network management information using Internet, e.g. aspects relating to embedding network management web servers in network elements, web service for network management purposes, aspects related to Internet applications or services or web-based protocols, simple object access protocol [SOAP] involving a browser or web-pages for accessing management information
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04LTRANSMISSION OF DIGITAL INFORMATION, e.g. TELEGRAPHIC COMMUNICATION
    • H04L41/00Arrangements for maintenance or administration or management of packet switching networks
    • H04L41/08Configuration management of network or network elements
    • H04L41/0803Configuration setting of network or network elements
    • H04L41/0806Configuration setting of network or network elements for initial configuration or provisioning
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04LTRANSMISSION OF DIGITAL INFORMATION, e.g. TELEGRAPHIC COMMUNICATION
    • H04L41/00Arrangements for maintenance or administration or management of packet switching networks
    • H04L41/02Arrangements for maintenance or administration or management of packet switching networks involving integration or standardization
    • H04L41/0213Arrangements for maintenance or administration or management of packet switching networks involving integration or standardization using standardized network management protocols, e.g. simple network management protocol [SNMP] or common management interface protocol [CMIP]
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04LTRANSMISSION OF DIGITAL INFORMATION, e.g. TELEGRAPHIC COMMUNICATION
    • H04L41/00Arrangements for maintenance or administration or management of packet switching networks
    • H04L41/02Arrangements for maintenance or administration or management of packet switching networks involving integration or standardization
    • H04L41/022Multivendor or multistandard integration
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04LTRANSMISSION OF DIGITAL INFORMATION, e.g. TELEGRAPHIC COMMUNICATION
    • H04L41/00Arrangements for maintenance or administration or management of packet switching networks
    • H04L41/04Architectural aspects of network management arrangements
    • H04L41/046Aspects of network management agents
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04LTRANSMISSION OF DIGITAL INFORMATION, e.g. TELEGRAPHIC COMMUNICATION
    • H04L41/00Arrangements for maintenance or administration or management of packet switching networks
    • H04L41/22Arrangements for maintenance or administration or management of packet switching networks using GUI [Graphical User Interface]

Abstract

Processing relating to maintenance of a monitoring subject device is performed by detecting by a computer an IP address of an electronic device connected to a LAN, automatically referring to communication protocol specification data indicating a communication protocol with the electronic device indicated in remote maintenance management data provided in advance or obtained from the electronic device, and performing a communication with the electronic device by using said communication protocol and the IP address indicated by the communication protocol specification data.

Description

    TECHNICAL FIELD
  • The present invention relates to an electronic device monitoring method, an electronic device, a computer and the program for performing processing for monitoring and maintenance of an electronic device connected via a network, such as a domestic LAN and the Internet, etc. [0001]
  • BACKGROUND ART
  • In a TCP/IP network system, a condition of an electronic devices, such as a rooter and a computer, connected to a network is monitored and controlled via the network, for example, by using the SNMP (Simple Network Management Protocol). [0002]
  • In some of the TCP/IP network systems, a computer operates monitoring and maintenance of an electronic device, etc. via a network by using the HTTP (HyperText Transfer Protocol), the FTP (File Transfer Protocol) and the Telenet, etc. being high in security comparing with the SNMP. [0003]
  • Conventionally, after a computer obtains data of an electronic device in an operating state by using the SNMP protocol, a user separately starts up a Web browser and obtains information, such as an IP address of the electronic device, a communication protocol for communicating with the electronic devices, an access path (URL: Uniform Resource Locator) in a memory region of the electronic device, etc. to communicate with other electronic devices and to perform communication and processing relating to maintenance of the electronic device. [0004]
  • The communication protocol used by the electronic device for its maintenance differs in some cases depending on respective electronic devices. [0005]
  • In that case, if an administrator of the computer as a monitoring device sets to the computer communication protocols used for notifications between respective electronic devices, the load on the administrator becomes heavy, which is disadvantageous. [0006]
  • Also, as explained above, conventionally, a process of obtaining an operating condition of an electronic device [0007] 3 by using the SNMP protocol and a process of maintenance of the electronic device 3 by using the Web browser have to be performed separately. Thus, there is a problem that monitoring and maintenance cannot be performed integrally and a load on the user is large.
  • In the SNMP communication, when abnormality or an event arises in the electronic device, the electronic device generates a Trap to notify the state to the computer. [0008]
  • For that purpose, it is necessary that an IP address of the computer to which the Trap is transmitted is set to the electronic device. [0009]
  • Conventionally, the user sets the IP address as the transmission destination of the Trap by means of inputting to the electronic device. [0010]
  • As explained above, however, there is a problem that it is time consuming and inconvenient for the user to input to the electronic device the IP address as a transmission destination of the Trap. [0011]
  • Also, when the electronic device is portable and connected to a plurality of computers, the user has to input to the electronic device the IP address as a transmission destination of the Trap each time, which is particularly inconvenient. [0012]
  • When the Ipv6 will be widely used in the future, it is anticipated that household electronic appliances and portable terminal devices utilizing the IP protocol will increase, but it is reluctant to do the time consuming setting works when using the SNMP in the electronic devices. [0013]
  • DISCLOSURE OF INVENTION
  • The present invention was made in consideration on the above problems and has as an object thereof to provide an electronic device monitoring method, an electronic device, a computer and its program capable of automatically setting to a computer a communication protocol used between the computer and an electronic device to be monitored when performing maintenance of the electronic device. [0014]
  • Also, an object of the present invention is to provide an electronic device monitoring method, an electronic device, a computer and its program capable of integrally performing monitoring and maintenance of the above electronic device. [0015]
  • Also, an object of the present invention is to provide an electronic device monitoring method, an electronic device, a computer and its program capable of saving a trouble of the user at the time of setting to the electronic device an IP address as a transmission destination of a Trap. [0016]
  • To attain the above objects, an electronic device maintenance method of the first invention is an electronic device maintenance method for performing maintenance of an electronic device by a computer via a network, comprising a first step that the computer obtains remote maintenance management data indicating a communication protocol used in a communication relating to maintenance of the electronic device from the electronic device via the network; and a second step that the computer performs processing relating to maintenance of the electronic device by performing a communication with the electronic device by using the communication protocol indicated by the remote maintenance management data obtained in the first step. [0017]
  • Preferably, an electronic device maintenance method of the first invention further includes a third step that, when connection by the electronic device to the network is recognized, the computer obtains identification data of the recognized electronic device on the network; and in the second step, the computer performs the communication with the electronic device by further using the identification data obtained in the third step. [0018]
  • Preferably, in an electronic device maintenance method of the first invention, in the first step, the computer obtains from the electronic device the remote maintenance management data indicating correspondence between a kind of one or a plurality of functions relating to the maintenance and the communication protocol used in communication relating to the function; and in the second step, the computer performs communication relating to the specified kind of function by using the communication protocol corresponding to the specified kind of function with the electronic device based on the remote maintenance management data. [0019]
  • Preferably, an electronic device maintenance method of the first invention further includes a sixth step that the computer automatically writes to the electronic device identification data for identifying the computer on a network as transmission destination data; and a seventh step that the electronic device transmits an interruption signal to the computer by using the transmission destination data written in the sixth step when the electronic device becomes a predetermined condition. [0020]
  • A computer of the second invention is a computer for performing maintenance of an electronic device via a network, comprising an interface for performing a communication with the electronic device via the network; a memory means for storing remote maintenance management data indicating a communication protocol used in a communication relating to maintenance of the electronic device obtained from the electronic device via the interface; and a control means for performing processing relating to maintenance of the electronic device by performing a communication with the electronic device via the interface by using the communication protocol indicated by the remote maintenance management data stored in the memory means. [0021]
  • An electronic device of the third invention is an electronic device subjected to maintenance by a computer via a network, comprising an interface for performing a communication with the computer via the network; a memory means for storing remote maintenance management data indicating a communication protocol used in a communication relating to maintenance by the computer; and a control means for transmitting the remote maintenance management data to the computer via the interface and performs a communication relating to the maintenance with the computer by using the communication protocol indicated by the remote maintenance management data in accordance with a request from the computer. [0022]
  • A program of the fourth program is a program executed by a computer for performing maintenance of an electronic device via a network, comprising a first step for receiving remote maintenance management data indicating a communication protocol used in a communication relating to maintenance of the electronic device from the electronic device via the network; a second step for storing the remote maintenance management data received in the first step in a memory means provided to the computer; and a third step for processing relating to maintenance of the electronic device by performing a communication with the electronic device via the network by using the communication protocol indicated by the remote maintenance management data stored in the memory means. [0023]
  • A program of the fifth invention is a program executed in an electronic device subjected to maintenance by a computer via a network, comprising a first step for transmitting to the computer via the network remote maintenance management data indicating a communication protocol used in a communication relating to maintenance of the electronic device with the computer; and a second step for performing communication relating to the maintenance with the computer by using the communication protocol indicated by the remote maintenance management data.[0024]
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS
  • FIG. 1 is a view of the overall configuration of a communication system according to a first embodiment of the present invention. [0025]
  • FIG. 2 is a view of the configuration of a computer and a device to be monitored shown in FIG. 1. [0026]
  • FIG. 3 is a view for explaining SNMP communication processing. [0027]
  • FIG. 4 is a view for explaining remote maintenance management data stored in a private MIB shown in FIG. 3. [0028]
  • FIG. 5 is a view for explaining kinds of functions in the remote maintenance management data shown in FIG. 4. [0029]
  • FIG. 6 is a view for explaining service levels in the remote maintenance management data shown in FIG. 4. [0030]
  • FIG. 7 is a view for explaining an example of the remote maintenance management data shown in FIG. 4. [0031]
  • FIG. 8 is a flowchart for explaining an operation example of the communication system shown in FIG. 1. [0032]
  • FIG. 9 is a view for explaining a process that a user of a computer selects a maintenance function on a screen in FIG. 8. [0033]
  • FIG. 10 is a view for explaining a display format of status data on the screen of the computer in FIG. 8. [0034]
  • FIG. 11 is a view for explaining a display on the screen of the computer at the time of downloading software in FIG. 8. [0035]
  • FIG. 12 is a view of the overall configuration of a communication system of a second embodiment of the present invention. [0036]
  • FIG. 13 is a view of the configuration of the computer and electronic device shown in FIG. 12. [0037]
  • FIG. 14 is a view for explaining the SNMP communication processing. [0038]
  • FIG. 15 is a view for explaining data to be stored in a ROM/RAM and an HDD of the electronic device shown in FIG. 13. [0039]
  • FIG. 16 is a view for explaining a Trap transmission destination table shown in FIG. 15. [0040]
  • FIG. 17 is a view for explaining meanings of values of statuses of the Trap transmission destination table shown in FIG. 16. [0041]
  • FIG. 18 is a flowchart for explaining processing at the time of starting up, rebooting or initializing the electronic device shown in FIG. 12. [0042]
  • FIGS. 19A to [0043] 19F are views for explaining processing conditions of the electronic device in response to requests by the computer.
  • FIG. 20 is a view for explaining the case where an automatic setting variable shown in FIG. 15 is off. [0044]
  • FIG. 21 is a view for explaining the case of setting the Trap transmission destination table on the electronic device side. [0045]
  • FIGS. 22A and 22B are views for explaining the case where the automatic setting variable shown in FIG. [0046] 15 shifts from off to on.
  • FIGS. 23A and 23B are views for explaining the case where the automatic setting variable shown in FIG. 15 shifts from on to off. [0047]
  • FIG. 24 is a flowchart for explaining an operation example of the communication system shown in FIG. 12 when an SNMP manager sets to the electronic device an IP address of the computer as a Trap transmission address in a state wherein a Trap transmission address of an entry on the first line in the Trap transmission destination table is “0. 0. 0. 0” and a status thereof is “valid”. [0048]
  • FIG. 25 is a flowchart for explaining an operation example of the communication system shown in FIG. 12 at the time an SNMP manager of another computer sets to the electronic device the IP address of the computer as a Trap transmission address in the state wherein a Trap transmission address of an entry on the first line of the Trap transmission destination table is not “0. 0. 0. 0” (a state wherein an IP address of the computer is already set). [0049]
  • FIGS. 26A, 26B and [0050] 26C are views for explaining conditions of the Trap transmission destination table in the operation example shown in FIG. 25.
  • FIG. 27 is a flowchart for explaining the case where an address change request from the SNMP manager of the computer is generated almost simultaneously with an address change request of an address generated from an SNMP manager of another computer to an entry on the first line of the Trap transmission destination table. [0051]
  • FIG. 28 is a flowchart for explaining an operation example of the case where an adding request of an entry on the second line in the Trap transmission destination table is generated from another computer almost simultaneously with that from the computer. [0052]
  • FIG. 29 is a flowchart for explaining the operation example of the case where abnormality or an event arises in the electronic device shown in FIG. 12, so a necessity arises that the electronic device transmits a Trap to the computer.[0053]
  • BEST MODE FOR CARRYING OUT THE INVENTION
  • Below, a communication system according to embodiments of the present invention will be explained. [0054]
  • First Embodiment [0055]
  • FIG. 1 is a view of the overall configuration of a communication system [0056] 1 according to the present embodiment.
  • As shown in FIG. 1, in the communication system [0057] 1, for example, a computer 2 as a device to be monitored and an electronic device 3 as a device to be monitored are connected in a predetermined area 6 via a network, such as a LAN (Local Area Network) 5 and the Internet.
  • Here, the computer [0058] 2 corresponds to a computer of the present invention and the electronic device 3 corresponds to an electronic device of the present invention.
  • The computer [0059] 2 and the electronic device 3 have a function of performing processing relating to the SNMP as a connectionless type network management protocol operating on a UDP transport layer of the TCP/IP.
  • In the communication system [0060] 1 shown in FIG. 1, the computer 2 and the electronic device 3 perform an SNMP communication, define a communication protocol, etc. used for realizing a remote maintenance (monitoring) function in respective MIBs of the computer 2 and the electronic device 3, and perform remote maintenance by using the definition.
  • Note that in the present specification, the maintenance also includes monitoring. [0061]
  • As a result, a load at the time the user performs remote maintenance of the electronic device [0062] 3 by using the computer 2 is reduced.
  • [Computer [0063] 2]
  • FIG. 2 us a view of the configuration of the computer [0064] 2 and the electronic device 3 shown in FIG. 1.
  • As shown in FIG. 2, in the computer [0065] 2, for example, a ROM/RAM 11, an HDD 12, a KB_1/F 13, a DP_IF 15, a LAN_I/F 17 and a CPU 18 are connected via an internal bus 19.
  • Here, the LAN_I/F [0066] 17 corresponds to an interface means of the computer of the present invention, the ROM/RAM 11 and the HDD 12 correspond to a memory means of the computer of the present invention, and the CPU 18 corresponds to a control means of the computer of the present invention.
  • The ROM/RAM [0067] 11 stores a program for realizing a variety of functions provided by the computer 2 including an SNMP processing function.
  • The HDD [0068] 12 stores various data used in processing in the computer 2.
  • Also, as will be explained later on, a remote maintenance management table received (inputted) from the electronic device [0069] 3 via the LAN 5 is written in the ROM/RAM 11 or/and the HDD 12.
  • The KB_I/F [0070] 13 is connected to an operation means (a specifying means of the present invention), such as a keyboard KB14 and a mouse.
  • The DP_IF [0071] 15 is connected to a display DP16 (a display means of the present invention), etc.
  • The LAN_I/F [0072] 17 is connected to the LAN 5.
  • The CPU [0073] 18 realizes a variety of functions, such as an SNMP processing function and a remote maintenance function, for example, based on a program read from the ROM/RAM 11.
  • [Electronic Device [0074] 3]
  • As shown in FIG. 2, in the electronic device [0075] 3, for example, a ROM/RAM 21, an HDD 22, an I/O 23, a LAN_I/F 26 and a CPU 27 are connected via an internal bus 28.
  • Here, the LAN_I/F [0076] 26 corresponds to an interface means of the electronic device of the present invention, the CPU 27 corresponds to a control means of the electronic device of the present invention, and the ROM/RAM 21 and the HDD 22 correspond to a memory means of the electronic device of the present invention.
  • In the present embodiment, the electronic device [0077] 3 is for example a television device, an audio device, lighting and other electronic devices.
  • The ROM/RAM [0078] 21 stores a program for realizing a variety of functions provided by the electronic device 3 including an SNMP processing function.
  • The HDD [0079] 22 stores various data used by processing in the electronic device 3.
  • Also, the ROM/RAM [0080] 21 and/or the HDD 22 store a remote maintenance management table used in remote maintenance by the computer 2.
  • The remote maintenance management table will be explained in detail later on. [0081]
  • The I/O [0082] 23 is connected to a control panel 24 and an electric circuit/mechanic unit 25, etc.
  • The LAN_I/F [0083] 26 is connected to the LAN 5.
  • The CPU [0084] 27 realizes a variety of functions, such as an SNMP processing function, for example, based on a program read from the ROM/RAM 21.
  • [SNMP Communication Processing][0085]
  • Next, SNMP communication processing performed between the computer [0086] 2 and the electronic device 3 shown in FIG. 1 will be explained.
  • FIG. 3 is a view for explaining the SNMP communication processing. [0087]
  • FIG. 3 is a view for explaining the SNMP communication processing performed between the computer [0088] 2 and the electronic device 3.
  • The CPU [0089] 18 of the computer 2 executes a program (a program of the fourth invention) read from the ROM/RAM 11 or the HDD 12 and realizes an SNMP manager 80.
  • Also, the CPU [0090] 27 of the electronic device 3 executes a program (a program of the fifth invention) read from the ROM/RAM 21 or the HDD 22 and realizes an SNMP agent 81.
  • Also, the ROM/RAM [0091] 21 or the HDD 22 of the electronic device 3 stores, for example, data of a private MIB (Management Information Base) 82 and a MIB II 83.
  • The private MIB [0092] 82 is an MIB peculiar to a vender originally defined for the vender of the electronic device 3 for managing products of the own company.
  • In the present embodiment, the remote maintenance management data [0093] 85 explained above is stored in the private MIB 82.
  • The MIB II [0094] 83 is an MIB wherein management information of a TCP/IP level is defined.
  • The SNMP agent [0095] 81 obtains information to be managed and notifies the information to the SNMP manager 80 by using a network management protocol of the SNMP. Information needing to be managed is stored in the private MIB 82 and/or MIB II 83 of the electronic device 3.
  • Also, in the present embodiment, as shown in FIG. 3, also the MIB [0096] 84 of the computer 2 stores the remote maintenance management data 85.
  • Data of the MIB [0097] 84 is stored in the ROM/RAM 11 and/or the HDD 12 of the computer 2 shown in FIG. 2.
  • The SNMP agent [0098] 81 transmits information in the private MIB 82 and/or the MIB II 83 to the SNMP manager 80 based on a request from the SNMP manager 80. Note that when an irregular event occurs, such that the electronic device 3 reboots, the SNMP agent 81 transmits a Trap to the SNMP manager 80.
  • A request of obtaining or setting a value of an object to be managed is given from the SNMP manager [0099] 80 to the SNMP agent 81 and the SNMP agent 81 responds to the request. Also, the SNMP agent 81 notifies the irregularity or an event arisen in the electronic device 3 to the SNMP manager 80. To realize the functions, five operations below are regulated in the SNMP.
  • GET REQUEST: reading data stored in an MIB variable specified from the private MIB [0100] 82 and/or the MIB II 83
  • GETNEXT REQUEST: reading next data of a specified MIB variable by following a procedure of the private MIB [0101] 82 and/or the MIB II 83
  • SET REQUEST: setting an MIB variable to specified data [0102]
  • GET RESPONSE: a response from the SNMP agent [0103] 81 to a request
  • Trap: notifying arising of abnormality and an event from the SNMP agent [0104] 81 to the SNMP manager 80
  • The private MIB [0105] 82 and the MIB II 83 store definition of an object (an amount or a field) provided by the SNMP agent 81 to the SNMP manager 80. The object defined by the private MIB 82 and the MIB II 83 is arranged in unit of a group and relates to respective layers or a protocol in a protocol stack of a certain group, while other group as a whole relates to a system.
  • The private MIB [0106] 82 and the MIB II 83 is added an object identifier to uniquely identify any management object and the object identifier has a tree structure starting from a root element.
  • In the present embodiment, when the electronic device [0107] 3 is connected to the LAN 5 shown in FIG. 1, the SNMP manager 80 of the computer 2 shown in FIG. 3 automatically recognizes (discovery) the electronic device 3 and automatically registers an IP address and a host name of the electronic device 3, for example, to the MIB 84 by the “Plug and Play”.
  • [Remote Maintenance Management Data [0108] 85]
  • Below, the remote maintenance management data [0109] 85 stored in the private MIB 82 of the electronic device 3 and the MIB 84 in the computer 2 explained above will be explained in detail. FIG. 4 is a view of the configuration of the remote maintenance management data 85.
  • As shown in FIG. 4, the remote maintenance management data [0110] 85 has one or a plurality of entries each comprising an Index number “proV1RemoteMainteIdx” which is data indicating an index number for specifying an entry, “proV1RemoteMainteFunction” (maintenance function specification data of the present invention) which is data indicating a kind of a function of remote maintenance, “proV1RemoteMainteProtoType” (communication protocol specification data of the present invention) which is data indicating a kind of a communication protocol used in a communication between the computer 2 and the electronic device 3 at the time of performing remote maintenance by using the function, “proV1RemoteMainteProtoVer” which is data indicating a version of the communication protocol, “proV1RemoteMaintePath” (path specification data” which is data indicating an access path to a memory region of the ROM/RAM 21 or the HDD 22 storing data or a program relating to the remote maintenance, and “proV1RemoteMainteSvcLevel” (use authority data of the present invention) which is data indicating a service level for specifying persons to be permitted to use or disclosed the function.
  • The data “proV1RemoteMainteFunction” indicating a kind of a function of the remote maintenance is a 32-bit integer type. [0111]
  • The SNMP manager [0112] 80 of the computer 2 refers to the data “proV1RemoteMainteFunction” in accordance with an instruction (specification) inputted for example from the keyboard 14, reads a program of a specified function from the ROM/RAM 11 or the HDD12 and executes.
  • The data “proV1RemoteMainteFunction” indicates a kind of a function to which, for example, each of values “01”, “02”, “11”, “12”, “21”, “31”, “41”, “42” “43”, “51”, “61”, “62”, “71”, “72” and “81” corresponds as shown in FIG. 5. [0113]
  • Here, values “01” and “02” indicate a function relating to monitoring. The value “01” indicates a function for monitoring a predetermined item of the MIB II [0114] 83 of the electronic device 3 shown in FIG. 3, and the value “02” indicates a function for monitoring a predetermined item of the private MIB 82 of the electronic device 3 shown in FIG. 3.
  • Also, values “11”, “12”, “21”, “31”, “41”, “42”, “43”, “51”, “61”, “62”, “71”, “72” and “81” indicate functions relating to the maintenance. [0115]
  • For example, the value “11” indicates a function that the SNMP [0116] 81 notifies an error or a warning to the SNMP manager 80 by using an e-mail.
  • The value “12” indicates a function that the SNMP manager [0117] 80 operates the electronic device 3 by using an e-mail.
  • The value “21” indicates a function that the SNMP manager [0118] 80 refers to a status indicating a condition of the electronic device 3 stored in the private MIB 82 and/or the MIB II 83 and/or other database or a file.
  • The value “31” indicates a function that the SNMP manager [0119] 80 collects record data (log) of processing in the electronic device 3 stored in the private MIB 82 and/or the MIB II 83 and/or other data base or a file.
  • The value “41” indicates a function that the SNMP manager [0120] 80 refers to and changes a predetermined set value and composition information of the electronic device 3.
  • The value “42” indicates a function that the SNMP manager [0121] 80 downloads a predetermined set value of the electronic device 3 to the electronic device 3.
  • The value “43” indicates a function that the SNMP manager [0122] 80 uploads a predetermined set value of the electronic device 3.
  • The value “51” indicates a function that the SNMP manager [0123] 80 executes diagnosis processing of the electronic device 3.
  • The value “61” indicates a function that the SNMP manager [0124] 80 downloads for example software used by processing in the SNMP agent 81 to the electronic device 3.
  • The value “62” indicates a function that the SNMP manager [0125] 80 uploads a predetermined software from the electronic device 3.
  • The value “71” indicates a function that the SNMP manager [0126] 80 resets or reboots the electronic device 3.
  • The value “72” indicates a function that the SNMP manager [0127] 80 switches various modes set in the electronic device 3.
  • Also, the value “81” indicates a function that for example the SNMP manager [0128] 80 controls predetermined processing performed in the electronic device 3.
  • The data “proV1RemoteMainteProtoType” is a number indicating a kind of a communication protocol used in a communication between the computer [0129] 2 and the electronic device 3 at the time of performing remote maintenance by using a corresponding function as explained above. A port number is used as the number.
  • The SNMP manager [0130] 80 of the computer 2 refers to the data “proV1RemoteMainteProtoType” corresponding to a specified function in response to an instruction (specification) inputted for example from the keyboard 14, uses a communication protocol specified thereby and performs communication with the electronic device 3.
  • The data “proV1RemoteMainteProtoType” indicates, for example, a value “80” when the HTTP is used, a value “20” when the FTP is used, a value “23” when the TELENET is used, a value “25” when the SMTP (Simple Mail Transfer Protocol) is used, a value “110” when the POP3 is used and a value “161” when the SNMP is used as a communication protocol. [0131]
  • The data “proV1RemoteMainteProtoVer” indicates a version of a corresponding communication protocol and has a value indicating the version as explained above. [0132]
  • The data “proV1RemoteMaintePath” indicates a path to access first at the time of accessing to the electronic device [0133] 3 by using an access path to a memory region of the ROM/RAM 21 or the HDD 22 storing data or a program used in a corresponding function, that is the HTTP (Web Browser) or the FTP (FTP client) as explained above.
  • For example, when an IP address of the electronic device [0134] 3 is “192. 168. 10. 101” and a path in the electronic device 3 to access at the time of executing a setup change function is “/setup”, the data “proV1RemoteMaintePath” indicates “/setup”.
  • The SNMP manager [0135] 80 of a specific vender operates to access for example to an URL “http://192. 168. 10. 101/setup” by a browser by combining information of the IP address and the path.
  • The SNMP manager [0136] 80 refers to “proV1RemoteMaintePath” corresponding to a specified function in accordance with an instruction (specification) inputted for example from the keyboard 14 and, by following a path specified thereby, makes an access to a memory region of the electronic device 3 during processing relating to the specified function.
  • The data “proV1RemoteMainteSvcLevel” indicates a number of a service level for specifying persons to whom the corresponding function is permitted to be used or disclosed, that is, a service level of a remote maintenance function as explained above. [0137]
  • The SNMP manager [0138] 80 refers to “proV1RemoteMainteSvcLevel” corresponding to a specified function in accordance with an instruction (specification) inputted for example from the keyboard 14 and, by following a service level specified thereby, judges persons to whom the corresponding function is permitted to be used or disclosed.
  • Specifically, the data “proV1RemoteMainteSvcLevel” indicates being used only by a production division of the electronic device [0139] 3 when at a level “0” as shown in FIG. 6. Also, when at a level “1”, it indicates being able to be used by the above production division and service footholds (sales) in the vender. Also, at a level “2”, it indicates being able to be used by the above service footholds (sales) and service footholds (agents) outside the vender. When at a level “3”, it indicates being able to be used by the above production division, the above service footholds (sales), the service footholds (agents) outside the vender and a manager on the customer side. When at a level “4”, it indicates being able to be used by the above production division, the above service footholds (sales), the service footholds (agents) outside the vender, a manager on the customer side and general users.
  • Below, an example of the remote maintenance management data [0140] 85 shown in FIG. 4 will be explained.
  • FIG. 7 is a view for explaining an example of the remote maintenance management data [0141] 85 shown in FIG. 4.
  • As shown in FIG. 7, in this example, the remote maintenance management data [0142] 85 comprises seven entries, each of which is added an Index number from “1” to “7”.
  • An entry having an Index number “1” is set “01” indicating a monitoring function of the MIB II [0143] 83 as “proV1RemoteMainteFunction”, “161” indicating the SNMP as “proV1RemoteMainteProtoType”, “100” as “proV1RemoteMainteProtoVer”, and a level “3” as “proV1RemoteMainteSvcLevel”.
  • Also, an entry having an Index number “2” is set “02” indicating a monitoring function of the private MIB [0144] 82 as “proV1RemoteMainteFunction”, “161” indicating the SNMP as “proV1RemoteMainteProtoType”, “100” as “proV1RemoteMainteProtoVer” and a level “3” as “proV1RemoteMainteSvcLevel”.
  • Also, an entry having an Index number “3” is set “21” indicating a function of referring to a status of the electronic device [0145] 3 as “proV1RemoteMainteFunction”, “80” indicating the HTTP as “proV1RemoteMainteProtoType”, “110” as “proV1RemoteMainteProtoVer”, “/service/status” as “proV1RemoteMaintePath” and a level “1” as “proV1RemoteMainteSvcLevel”.
  • Also, an entry having an Index number “4” is set “31” indicating a function of collecting record data (log) of the electronic device [0146] 3 as “proV1RemoteMainteFunction”, “20” indicating the FTP as “proV1RemoteMainteProtoType”, “/var/log” as “proV1RemoteMaintePath” and a level “1” as “proV1RemoteMainteSvcLevel”.
  • Also, an entry having an Index number “5” is set “41” indicating a function of referring to or changing a set value or composition information of the electronic device [0147] 3 as “proV1RemoteMainteFunction”, “80” indicating the HTTP as “proV1RemoteMainteProtoType”, “110” as “proV1RemoteMainteProtoVer”, “/setup” as “proV1RemoteMaintePath” and a level “3” as “proV1RemoteMainteSvcLevel”.
  • Also, an entry having an Index number “6” is set “51” indicating a function of executing diagnosis processing of the electronic device [0148] 3 as “proV1RemoteMainteFunction”, “80” indicating the HTTP as “proV1RemoteMainteProtoType”, “110” as “proV1RemoteMainteProtoVer”, “/service/diag” as “proV1RemoteMaintePath” and a level “1” as “proV1RemoteMainteSvcLevel”.
  • Also, an entry having an Index number “7” is set “61” indicating a function of downloading software to the electronic device [0149] 3 as “proV1RemoteMainteFunction”, “20” indicating the FTP as “proV1RemoteMainteProtoType”, “/temp/firmware” as “proV1RemoteMaintePath” and a level “1” as “proV1RemoteMainteSvcLevel”.
  • Below, an operation example of the communication system [0150] 1 shown in FIG. 1 will be explained.
  • FIG. 8 is a flowchart for explaining the operation example. [0151]
  • Step ST[0152] 1:
  • When the electronic device [0153] 3 is connected to the LAN 5 shown in FIG. 1, the SNMP manager 80 shown in FIG. 3 realized as a result that the CPU 18 of the computer 2 executes a predetermined program obtains an IP address or a host name of the electronic device 3 by “discovery” (automatic recognition) and stores the same for example in the MIB 84 of the computer 2.
  • Step ST[0154] 2:
  • The SNMP manager [0155] 80 transmits a request “GET REQUEST” regulated by the SNMP communication to the SNMP agent 81 of the electronic device 3 from the LAN_I/F 17 shown in FIG. 2 via the LAN 5.
  • Due to this, the SNMP agent [0156] 81 shown in FIG. 3 realized as a result that the CPU 27 of the electronic device 3 executes a predetermined program reads the remote maintenance management data 85 stored in the private MIB 82 and transmits the remote maintenance management data 85 from the LAN_I/F 26 shown in FIG. 2 to the computer 2 via the LAN 5.
  • The computer [0157] 2 stores the remote maintenance management data 85 received from the electronic device 3 in the MIB 84 shown in FIG. 3.
  • Step ST[0158] 3:
  • The SNMP manager [0159] 80 executes the GUI (Graphical User Interface) and displays on the display 16 shown in FIG. 2, for example, a screen 100 of a maintenance menu shown in FIG. 9 in accordance with the remote maintenance management data 85 stored in the MIB 84 in the step ST2.
  • Step ST[0160] 4:
  • After a user of the computer [0161] 2 specifies an icon corresponding to the electronic device 3 for example on the screen 100 shown in FIG. 9, the user specifies an item corresponding to the maintenance function and successively specifies an item corresponding to status reference.
  • Due to this, the SNMP manager [0162] 80 reads a program corresponding to the status reference function from the ROM/RAM 11 or the HDD 12 shown in FIG. 2 and executes the same, performs communication with the SNMP agent 81 via the LAN 5, receives status data (status data of the present invention) of the electronic device 3 and displays for example a screen 101 shown in FIG. 10 in accordance therewith on the display 16.
  • At this time, communication is performed between the SNMP manager [0163] 80 and the SNMP agent 81 by using the HTTP as a communication protocol based on information, such as a kind of a protocol in the remote maintenance management data 85 shown in FIG. 7.
  • Step ST[0164] 5:
  • The user of the computer [0165] 2 successively specifies an item corresponding to log collection for example on the screen 100 shown in FIG. 9.
  • Due to this, the SNMP manager [0166] 80 reads a program corresponding to a log collective function from the ROM/RAM 11 or the HDD 12 shown in FIG. 2 and executes the same, performs communication with the SNMP agent 81 via the LAN 5, receives record (log) data from the electronic device 3 and displays a screen in accordance therewith on the display 16.
  • At this time, communication between the SNMP manager [0167] 80 and the SNMP agent 81 by using the FTP as a communication protocol is performed based on information, such as a kind of a protocol in the remote maintenance management data 85 shown in FIG. 7.
  • Step ST[0168] 6:
  • The user of the computer [0169] 2 successively specifies an item corresponding to software download for example on the screen 100 shown in FIG. 9.
  • Due to this, the SNMP manager [0170] 80 displays a screen 102 shown in FIG. 11 on the display 16, reads predetermined software (program) from the ROM/RAM 11 or the HDD 12 shown in FIG. 2 in response to an operation on the screen 102 by the user, performs communication with the SNMP agent 81 via the LAN 5 and downloads the read software to the electronic device 3.
  • At this time, communication is performed between the SNMP manager [0171] 80 and the SNMP agent 81 by using the FTP as a communication protocol based on information, such as a kind of a protocol in the remote maintenance management data 85 shown in FIG. 7.
  • Step ST[0172] 7:
  • The SNMP agent [0173] 81 of the electronic device 3 executes the software downloaded in the step ST6 after performing initialization processing.
  • Step ST[0174] 8:
  • The SNMP manager [0175] 80 executes a program for example relating to a variety of functions shown in FIG. 5, monitors and controls an operation (processing) of the electronic device 3.
  • As explained above, according to the communication system [0176] 1, the computer 2 performs a communication with the electronic device 3 by using a communication protocol corresponding to a kind of a function to be executed (specified) based on information, such as a kind of a protocol indicated by the remote maintenance management data 85 received from the electronic device 3.
  • As a result, it becomes unnecessary for the administrator of the computer [0177] 2 to set the communication protocol used in the communication with respective electronic devices 3 and the load is reduced.
  • Also, the electronic device [0178] 3 is capable of performing communication with the computer 2 by using a communication protocol suitable to itself.
  • Also, according to the communication system [0179] 1, by holding the above remote maintenance management data 85 in the electronic device 3 and the computer 2 and performing monitoring and maintenance of the electronic device 3 based on the remote maintenance management data 85 by the computer 2, monitoring and maintenance of the electronic device 3 by the computer 2 can be integrally performed and a load on the user of the computer 2 can be reduced.
  • Namely, it becomes unnecessary for the user of the computer [0180] 2 to inquire an IP address, communication protocol of the electronic device 3 and an access path to the memory region of the electronic device 3 prior to the maintenance of the electronic device 3.
  • Second Embodiment [0181]
  • FIG. 12 is a view of the overall configuration of a communication system [0182] 1 a of a second embodiment of the present invention.
  • As shown in FIG. 12, in the communication system [0183] 1 a, for example computers 2 a and 2 b and an electronic device 3 a are connected via a LAN (Local Area Network) 5 in an area 6 a.
  • Also, the computers [0184] 2 a and 2 b and the electronic device 3 a performs communication via the LAN 5 in the area 6 a.
  • Here, the computers [0185] 2 a and 2 b correspond to the computer of the present invention and the electronic device 3 a corresponds to the electronic device of the present invention.
  • The computers [0186] 2 a and 2 b and the electronic device 3 a have a function of performing processing relating to the SNMP as a connectionless type network management protocol operating on a UDP transport layer of the TCP/IP.
  • The computers [0187] 2 a and 2 b have for example all the configuration of the computer 2 of the first embodiment.
  • Also, the electronic device [0188] 3 a has for example all the configuration of the electronic device 3 of the first embodiment.
  • In the communication system [0189] 1 a shown in FIG. 12, the computers 2 a and 2 b and the electronic device 3 a perform SNMP communication and when abnormality or an event occurs in the electronic device 3 a, the electronic device 3 a transmits a Trap (an interruption signal of the present invention) to the computers 2 a and 2 b and notifies the fact.
  • In the electronic device [0190] 3 a, a Trap transmission destination table for managing transmission addresses of the Trap is prepared.
  • In the present embodiment, the computers [0191] 2 a and 2 b automatically write own IP addresses to the Trap transmission destination table of the electronic device 3 a.
  • [Computers [0192] 2 a and 2 b]
  • FIG. 13 is a view of the configuration of the computer [0193] 2 a and the electronic device 3 a shown in FIG. 12.
  • Note that the computer [0194] 2 b has basically the same configuration as that of the computer 2 a.
  • As shown in FIG. 13, in the computer [0195] 2 a, for example a ROM/RAM 11 a, an HDD 12 a, a KB_I/F 13 a, a DP_I/F 15 a, a LAN_I/F 17 a and a CPU 18 a are connected via an internal bus 19 a.
  • Here, the LAN_I/F [0196] 17 a corresponds to an interface means of the computer of the present invention and the CPU 18 a corresponds to a control means of the computer of the present invention.
  • The ROM/RAM [0197] 11 a stores a program for realizing a variety of functions provided by the computer 2 a including the SNMP processing function.
  • The HDD [0198] 12 a stores various data used by processing in the computer 2 a.
  • The KB_I/F [0199] 13 a is connected an operation means, such as a keyboard KB 14 a and a mouse.
  • The DP_I/F [0200] 15 a is connected to a display DP 16 a.
  • The LAN_I/F [0201] 17 a is connected to the LAN 5.
  • The CPU [0202] 18 a realizes a variety of functions, such as the SNMP processing function, for example, based on a program read from the ROM/RAM 11 a.
  • [Electronic Device [0203] 3 a]
  • As shown in FIG. 13, in the electronic device [0204] 3 a, for example, a ROM/RAM 21 a, an HDD 22 a, an I/O 23 a, a LAN_I/F 26 a and a CPU 27 a are connected via an internal bus 28 a.
  • Here, the LAN_I/F [0205] 26 a corresponds to the interface means of the electronic device of the present invention, the CPU 27 a corresponds to the control means of the electronic device of the present invention and the ROM/RAM 21 a and the HDD 22 a correspond to the memory means of the electronic device of the present invention.
  • In the present embodiment, the electronic device [0206] 3 a is for example a television device, an audio device, lighting and other electronic devices.
  • In the ROM/RAM [0207] 21 a, a program for realizing a variety of functions provided by the electronic device 3 a including the SNMP processing function is stored.
  • In the HDD [0208] 22 a, various data used by processing in the electronic device 3 a is stored.
  • The I/O [0209] 23 a is connected to a control panel 24 a and an electric circuit/mechanic unit 25 a, etc.
  • The LAN_I/F [0210] 26 a is connected to the LAN 5.
  • The CPU [0211] 27 a realizes a variety of functions, such as the SNMP processing function, based on a program read from the ROM/RAM 21 a.
  • [SNMP Communication Processing][0212]
  • Next, the SNMP communication processing performed between the computer [0213] 2 a and the electronic device 3 a shown in FIG. 12 will be explained.
  • FIG. 14 is a view for explaining the SNMP communication processing. [0214]
  • FIG. 14 is a view for explaining the SNMP communication processing performed between the computers [0215] 2 a and 2 b and the electronic device 3 a.
  • The CPU [0216] 18 a of the computer 2 a executes a program (a program of the fourth invention) read from the ROM/RAM 11 a or the HDD 12 a to realize the SNMP manager 80 a.
  • Also, the CPU [0217] 27 a of the electronic device 3 a executes a program (a program of the fifth invention) read from the ROM/RAM 11 a or the HDD 12 a to realize the SNMP agent 81 a.
  • Also, the HDD [0218] 22 a of the electronic device 3 a stores for example data of the MIB (Management Information Base) 82 a.
  • The SNMP agent [0219] 81 a obtains information to be managed and notifies the information to the SNMP manager 80 a by using a network management protocol of the SNMP. The information needing to be managed is stored in the MIB 82 a as a database.
  • The SNMP agent [0220] 81 a transmits information in the MIB 82 a to the SNMP manager 80 a based on a request from the SNMP manager 80 a. Note that when an irregular event occurs, such that the electronic device 3 a reboots, the SNMP agent 81 a transmits a Trap to the SNMP manager 80 a.
  • A request for obtaining and setting a value of an object to be managed is given from the SNMP manager [0221] 80 a to the SNMP agent 81 a, and the SNMP agent 81 a responds to the request. Also, the SNMP agent 81 a notifies abnormality and an event occurred in the electronic device 3 a to the SNMP manager 80 a. To realize the functions, five operations below are regulated in the SNMP.
  • GET REQUEST: reading data stored in an MIB variable specified from the MIB [0222] 82 a
  • GETNEXT REQUEST: reading next data of a specified MIB variable by following a procedure of the MIB [0223] 82 a
  • SET REQUEST: setting an MIB variable to specified data [0224]
  • GET RESPONSE: a response from the SNMP agent [0225] 81 a to a request
  • Trap: notifying an occurrence of abnormality and an event from the SNMP agent [0226] 81 a to the SNMP manager 80 a
  • The MIB [0227] 82 a stores definition of an object (an amount or a field) provided by the SNMP agent 81 a to the SNMP manager 80 a. The object defined by the MIB 82 a is arranged in unit of a group and relates to respective layers or a protocol in a protocol stack of a certain group, while other group as a whole relates to a system.
  • The MIB [0228] 82 a is added an object identifier to uniquely identify any management object and the object identifier has a tree structure starting from a root element.
  • As shown in FIG. 15, in the ROM/RAM [0229] 21 a or the HDD 22 a, an IP address 41, a Trap transmission destination table 42 (table data of the present invention) and an automatic setting variable 43 of the electronic device 3 a are stored.
  • Here, the Trap transmission destination table [0230] 42 is stored in the MIB 82 a.
  • In the present embodiment, the SNMP agent [0231] 81 a of the electronic device 3 a and the SNMP managers 80 a of the computers 2 a and 2 b shown in FIG. 14 negotiate via the LAN 5 and automatically set (the Plug and Play) the Trap transmission destination table stored in the MIB 82 a.
  • [Trap Transmission Destination Table [0232] 42]
  • FIG. 16 is a view for explaining the Trap transmission destination table [0233] 42.
  • As shown in FIG. 16, the Trap transmission destination table [0234] 42 is named “proV1TrapDestTable” and composed of a plurality of entries “proV1TrapDestEntry”.
  • Each entry “proV1TrapDestEntry” is composed for example of 32 bits of an integer type index number “proV1TrapDestIdx”, a Trap transmission destination address “proV1TrapDestAddress” in which an IP address is stored (transmission destination data of the present invention), and a status of the entry “proV1TrapDestStatus” (status data of the present invention). [0235]
  • FIG. 17 is a view for explaining a value of the status of the entry “proV1TrapDestStatus” shown in FIG. 16 and meaning thereof. [0236]
  • As shown in FIG. 17, when the status “proV1TrapDestStatus” is “1”, it indicates “valid”, when “2”, it indicates a state of an adding request of a line entry from the SNMP manager [0237] 80 a to the SNMP agent 81 a, when “3”, it indicates ending of an operation of generating a line entry from the SNMP agent 81 a to the SNMP manager 80 a, when “4”, it indicates invalidity of the entry, and when “5”, it indicates that an IP address 41 is set being fixed.
  • Below, processing at the time of starting up, rebooting or initializing the electronic device [0238] 3 a will be explained.
  • FIG. 18 is a flowchart for explaining the processing. [0239]
  • Step ST[0240] 11:
  • The SNMP agent [0241] 81 a shown in FIG. 14 judges whether the electronic device 3 a is a device compatible to automatic setting or not, and proceeds to processing of the step ST13 when judged to be compatible to automatic setting, while not, proceeds to processing of the step ST12.
  • Step ST[0242] 12:
  • The SNMP agent [0243] 81 a sets the status of the all entries “EntryStatus” of the Trap transmission destination table 42 shown in FIG. 16 to be fixed.
  • Step ST[0244] 13:
  • The SNMP agent [0245] 81 a judges whether the automatic setting variable 43 shown in FIG. 15 is at “ON” (indicating automatic setting) or not, and proceeds to processing of the step ST15, while not, proceeds to processing of the step ST14.
  • Step ST[0246] 14:
  • The SNMP agent [0247] 81 a sets the status of the all entries “EntryStatus” of the Trap transmission destination table 42 shown in FIG. 16 to be fixed.
  • Step ST[0248] 15:
  • Thereby, the SNMP agent [0249] 81 a corresponds to automatic setting of the Trap transmission destination table 42.
  • Step ST[0250] 16:
  • The SNMP agent [0251] 81 a judges whether the IP address 41 of the electronic device 3 a has changed from the previous time of being started up, rebooted or initialized, and proceeds to processing of the step ST18 when judged to be changed, while not, proceeds to processing of the step ST17.
  • Step ST[0252] 17:
  • The SNMP agent [0253] 81 a does not initialize the Trap transmission destination table 42 and uses what set at the previous starting up as it is.
  • Step ST[0254] 18:
  • The SNMP agent [0255] 81 a initializes the Trap transmission destination table 42.
  • Namely, the SNMP agent [0256] 81 a sets an entry of the Trap transmission destination table 42 to a first line and sets Index=1, a Trap transmission destination address=0. 0. 0. 0 (initial state), and an “EntryStatus”=1 (valid).
  • Step ST[0257] 19:
  • As will be explained later on, continued from the step ST[0258] 18, the SNMP manager 80 a shown in FIG. 14 performs the automatic setting of the Trap transmission destination table 42.
  • Below, processing at the time that the SNMP agent [0259] 81 a shown in FIG. 14 receives a request “SetRequest” from the SNMP manager 80 a will be explained.
  • FIG. 19 is a view for explaining the processing. [0260]
  • As shown in FIG. 19A, before processing, when the SNMP agent [0261] 81 a receives a “SetRequest” (proV1TrapDestEntryStatus, n, 1) from the SNMP manager 80 a in a state that Index=n already exists in the Trap transmission destination table 42 and the “EntryStatus”=1 (valid), an entry of the Index=n in the Trap transmission destination table 42 is left as it is. Then, the SNMP agent 81 a transmits to the SNMP manager 80 a “GetResponse” indicating that normal processing has performed.
  • As shown in FIG. 19B, before processing, when the SNMP agent [0262] 81 a receives “SetRequest” (proV1TrapDestEntryStatus, n, 1) from the SNMP manager 80 a in a state that Index=n already exists in the Trap transmission destination table 42 and “EntryStatus”=3 (underCreation), an entry of the Index=n in the Trap transmission destination table 42 is validated. Then, the SNMP agent 81 a transmits to the SNMP manager 80 a “GetResponse” indicating that normal processing has performed.
  • After the processing, the “EntryStatus” of the entry of the index=n in the Trap transmission destination table [0263] 42 is set from “3” to “1”.
  • As shown in FIG. 19C, before processing, when the SNMP agent [0264] 81 a receives “SetRequest” (proV1TrapDestEntryStatus, n, 1) from the SNMP manager 80 a in a state that Index=n already exists in the Trap transmission destination table 42 and the “EntryStatus”=4 (invalid) or 5 (fixed), the Trap transmission destination table 42 is not changed.
  • After the processing, the Trap transmission destination table [0265] 42 is not changed.
  • As shown in FIG. 19D, before processing, when the SNMP agent [0266] 81 a receives from the SNMP manager 80 a “SetReuest” (proV1TrapDestEntryStatus, n, 2) indicating adding of an entry in a state a line of Index=n does not exist in the Trap transmission destination table 42, the SNMP agent 81 a adds a new entry (line) having a Trap transmission address=0, 0, 0, 0 in the Trap transmission destination table 42. Then, the SNMP agent 81 a transmits to the SNMP manager 80 a “GetResponse” indicating that normal processing has performed.
  • After the processing, the “EntryStatus” of the added entry in the Trap transmission destination table [0267] 42 is set to be “3”.
  • As shown in FIG. 19E, when the SNMP agent [0268] 81 a receives from the SNMP manager 80 a “SetRequest” (proV1TrapDestEntryStatus, n, 2) in a state that Index=n already exists in the Trap transmission destination table 42, “GetResponse” indicating an error is transmitted because the entry already exists.
  • After the processing, values in the Trap transmission destination table [0269] 42 are not changed.
  • As shown in FIG. 19F, when the SNMP agent [0270] 81 a receives from the SNMP manager 80 a “SetRequest” (proV1TrapDestEntryStatus, n, 3), “SetRequest” (proV1TrapDestEntryStatus, n, 4) and “SetRequest” (proV1TrapDestEntryStatus, n, 5) regardless of a state before the processing, “GetResponse” indicating an error is transmitted from the SNMP agent 81 a to the SNMP manager 80 a. In this case, values of the Trap transmission destination table 42 are not changed.
  • Below, a case where the automatic setting variable [0271] 43 shown in FIG. 15 is at “OFF” will be explained.
  • In this case, as shown in FIG. 20, a Trap transmission destination address of an entry of INDEX=1 in the Trap transmission destination table [0272] 42 is set to “0. 0. 0. 0” and the status of the entry is set to “5 (fixed)”.
  • Below, a case where the Trap transmission destination table [0273] 42 is set on the electronic device 3 a side will be explained.
  • In this case, for example, as shown in FIG. 21, “XX. XX. XX. XX” as an IP address of the computer [0274] 2 a is set as a Trap transmission address of an entry of INDEX=1 in the Trap transmission destination table 42, and the status is set to “5 (fixed)”. Also, “YY. YY. YY. YY” as an IP address of the computer 2 b is set as a Trap transmission address of an entry of INDEX=2 in the Trap transmission destination table 42, and the status is set to “5 (fixed)”.
  • Below, a case where the automatic setting variable [0275] 43 is switched from “OFF” to “ON” will be explained.
  • For example, as shown in FIG. 22A, when the automatic setting variable [0276] 43 is switched from “OFF” to “ON” at the time the Trap transmission destination table 42 is in the state as explained in FIG. 21, as shown in FIG. 22B, the statuses of entries on the first and second lines are both rewritten to “1 (valid)”.
  • Below, a case where the automatic setting variable [0277] 43 is switched from “ON” to “OFF” will be explained.
  • For example, as shown in FIG. 23A, when the automatic setting variable [0278] 43 is switched from “ON” to “OFF” at the time the Trap transmission destination table 42 is in the state as explained in FIG. 22B, as shown in FIG. 23B, the statuses of the entries on the first and second lines are both rewritten to “5 (fixed)”.
  • Below, an operation example of the communication system [0279] 1 a shown in FIG. 12 will be explained.
  • [First Operation Example][0280]
  • In this operation example, the case will be explained where in a state that a Trap transmission address of the entry on the first line in the Trap transmission destination table [0281] 42 is “0. 0. 0. 0” and the status is “1 (valid)”, the SNMP manager 80 a sets an IP address of the computer 2 a as the Trap transmission address to the electronic device 3 a.
  • FIG. 24 is a flowchart for explaining the operation example. [0282]
  • Step ST[0283] 21:
  • The SNMP manager [0284] 80 a realized by the CPU 18 a of the computer 2 a shown in FIG. 13 generates a request “SetRequest” (proV1TrapDestAddress. [1], XX. XX. XX. XX) and transmits the same from the LAN_I/F 17 a to the electronic device 3 a via the LAN 5.
  • Step ST[0285] 22:
  • The SNMP agent [0286] 81 a realized by the CPU 27 a of the electronic device 3 a shown in FIG. 13 makes an access to the ROM/RAM 21 a or the HDD 22 a in response to the request received from the SNMP manager 80 a via the LAN_I/F 26 a shown in FIG. 13 in the step ST21 and changes the Trap transmission address of the first entry in the Trap transmission destination table 42 shown in FIG. 16 to “XX. XX. XX. XX”.
  • Thereby, “XX. XX. XX. XX” as an IP address (identification data of the computer in the present invention) of the computer [0287] 2 a is automatically set to the first entry in the Trap transmission destination table 42.
  • Step ST[0288] 23:
  • The SNMP agent [0289] 81 a transmits a response “GetResponse” indicating that normal processing has completed from the LAN_I/F 26 a to the computer 2 a via the LAN 5.
  • [Second Operation Example][0290]
  • In this operation example, the case will be explained where in a state that a Trap transmission address of the entry on the first line in the Trap transmission destination table [0291] 42 is not “0.0.0.0” (a state the IP address of the computer 2 a is already set), the SNMP manager 80 a of the computer 2 b sets an IP address of the computer 2 b as the Trap transmission address to the electronic device 3 a.
  • FIG. 25 is a flowchart for explaining the operation example. [0292]
  • Step ST[0293] 31:
  • The SNMP manager [0294] 80 a realized by the CPU 18 a of the computer 2 b shown in FIG. 13 generates a request “SetRequest” (proV1TrapDestEntryStatus. [max(index)+1], 2) and transmits the same from the LAN_I/F 17 a to the electronic device 3 a via the LAN 5.
  • Step ST[0295] 32:
  • The SNMP agent [0296] 81 a realized by the CPU 27 a of the electronic device 3 a shown in FIG. 13 makes an access to the ROM/RAM 21 a or the HDD 22 a in response to the request received from the SNMP manager 80 a via the LAN_I/F 26 a shown in FIG. 13 in the step ST31 and prepares an entry having a status of “3 (under Creation)” as shown in FIG. 26A on the second line in the Trap transmission destination table 42 shown in FIG. 16.
  • Step ST[0297] 33:
  • The SNMP agent [0298] 81 a transmits a response “GetResponse” indicating that normal processing has completed from the LAN_I/F 26 a to the computer 2 b via the LAN 5.
  • Step ST[0299] 34:
  • The SNMP manager [0300] 80 a of the computer 2 b generates a request “SetRequest” (proV1TrapDestAddress. [max(index)+1], YY. YY. YY. YY) and transmits the same from the LAN_I/F 17 a to the electronic device 3 a via the LAN 5.
  • Step ST[0301] 35:
  • The SNMP agent [0302] 81 a of the electronic device 3 a shown in FIG. 13 makes an access to the ROM/RAM 21 a or the HDD 22 a in response to the request received from the SNMP manager 80 a via the LAN_I/F 26 a shown in FIG. 13 in the step ST34 and sets “YY. YY. YY. YY” to a Trap transmission address of the second entry in the Trap transmission destination table 42 as shown in FIG. 26B.
  • Thereby, “YY. YY. YY. YY” as the IP address of the computer [0303] 2 b is automatically set to the second entry in the Trap transmission destination table 42.
  • Step ST[0304] 36:
  • The SNMP agent [0305] 81 a transmits a response “GetResponse” indicating that normal processing has completed from the LAN_I/F 26 a to the computer 2 b via the LAN 5.
  • Step ST [0306] 37:
  • The SNMP manager [0307] 80 a of the computer 2 b generates a request “SetRequest” (proV1TrapDestEntryStatus. [max(index)+1], 1) and transmits the same from the LAN_I/F 17 a to the electronic device 3 a via the LAN 5.
  • Step ST[0308] 38:
  • The SNMP agent [0309] 81 a makes an access to the ROM/RAM 21 a or the HDD 22 a in response to the request received from the SNMP manager 80 a via the LAN_I/F 26 a shown in FIG. 13 in the step ST37 and sets the status on the second line in the Trap transmission destination table 42 to “1 (valid)” as shown in FIG. 26C.
  • Thereby, the IP address of the computer [0310] 2 b set to the Trap transmission destination table 42 becomes valid as the Trap transmission address.
  • Step ST[0311] 39:
  • The SNMP agent [0312] 81 a transmits a response “GetResponse” indicating that normal processing has completed from the LAN_I/F 26 a to the computer 2 b via the LAN 5.
  • Note that an entry including an IP address automatically set from the SNMP manager [0313] 80 a to the Trap transmission destination table 42 is written to the ROM/RAM 21 a or the HDD 22 a after the automatic setting processing is completely ended.
  • [Third Operation Example][0314]
  • In this operation example, the case will be explained where an address change request of an address is generated from the SNMP manager [0315] 80 a of the computer 2 b almost simultaneously with an address change request from the SNMP manager 80 a of the computer 2 a to the entry on the first line in the Trap transmission destination table 42.
  • FIG. 27 is a flowchart for explaining the operation example. [0316]
  • Step ST[0317] 41:
  • The SNMP manager [0318] 80 a of the computer 2 a transmits a request “GetRequest” from the LAN_I/F 17 a to the electronic device 3 a via the LAN 5 shown in FIG. 13 and confirms that the Trap transmission address of the entry on the first line in the Trap transmission destination table 42 is “0. 0. 0. 0” and the status is “1 (valid)”.
  • Step ST[0319] 42:
  • The SNMP manager [0320] 80 a of the computer 2 b transmits a request “GetRequest” from the LAN_I/F 17 a to the electronic device 3 a via the LAN 5 shown in FIG. 13 and confirms that the Trap transmission address of the entry on the first line in the Trap transmission destination table 42 is “0. 0. 0. 0” and the status is “1 (valid)”.
  • Step ST[0321] 43:
  • The SNMP manager [0322] 80 a of the computer 2 a generates a request “SetRequest” (proV1TrapDestAddress. [1], XX. XX. XX. XX) and transmits the same from the LAN_I/F 17 a to the electronic device 3 a via the LAN 5.
  • Step ST[0323] 44:
  • The SNMP agent [0324] 81 a of the electronic device 3 a makes an access to the ROM/RAM 21 a or the HDD 22 a in response to the request received from the SNMP manager 80 a of the computer 2 a via the LAN_I/F 26 a shown in FIG. 13 in the step ST43 and changes the Trap transmission address of the first entry in the Trap transmission destination table 42 shown in FIG. 16 to “XX. XX. XX. XX”.
  • Thereby, “XX. XX. XX. XX” as an IP address of the computer [0325] 2 a is automatically set to the first entry in the Trap transmission destination table 42.
  • Step ST[0326] 45:
  • The SNMP agent [0327] 81 a transmits a response “GetResponse” indicating that normal processing has completed from the LAN_I/F 26 a to the computer 2 a via the LAN 5.
  • Step ST[0328] 46:
  • Continuously, the SNMP manager [0329] 80 a of the computer 2 b generates a request “SetRequest” (proV1TrapDestAddress. [1], YY. YY. YY. YY) and transmits the same from the LAN_I/F 17 a to the electronic device 3 a via the LAN 5.
  • Step ST[0330] 47:
  • The SNMP agent [0331] 81 a transmits a response “GetResponse” indicating an error from the LAN_I/F 26 a to the computer 2 b via the LAN 5.
  • As explained above, according to the communication system [0332] 1 a, even when an address change request of an address is generated from the SNMP manager 80 a of the computer 2 b almost simultaneously with an address change request from the SNMP manager 80 a of the computer 2 a to the entry on the first line in the Trap transmission destination table 42, the IP address of the computer 2 a which generated the address change request first can be set as the Trap transmission address and the address change request of the computer 2 b made after that can be processed as an error.
  • [Fourth Operation Example][0333]
  • In this operation example, the case where an adding request of an entry on the second line in the Trap transmission destination table [0334] 42 is generated from the computer 2 b almost simultaneously with that from the computer 2 a will be explained.
  • FIG. 28 is a flowchart for explaining the operation example. [0335]
  • Step ST[0336] 51:
  • The SNMP manager [0337] 80 a of the computer 2 a generates a request “SetRequest” (proV1TrapDestEntryStatus. 2, 2) from the LAN_I/F 17 a to the electronic device 3 a via the LAN 5 and transmits the same from the LAN_I/F 17 a to the electronic device 3 a via the LAN 5.
  • Step ST[0338] 52:
  • The SNMP agent [0339] 81 a of the electronic device 3 a makes an access to the ROM/RAM 21 a or the HDD 22 a in response to the request received from the SNMP manager 80 a of the computer 2 a via the LAN_I/F 26 a shown in FIG. 13 in the step ST51 and adds a second entry in the Trap transmission destination table 42 shown in FIG. 16.
  • Step ST[0340] 53:
  • The SNMP agent [0341] 81 a transmits a response “GetResponse” indicating that normal processing has completed from the LAN_I/F 26 a to the computer 2 a via the LAN 5.
  • Step ST[0342] 54:
  • Continuously, the SNMP manager [0343] 80 a of the computer 2 b generates a request “SetRequest” (proV1TrapDestEntryStatus. 2, 2) from the LAN_I/F 17 a to the electronic device 3 a via the LAN 5 shown in FIG. 13 and transmits the same from the LAN_I/F 17 a to the electronic device 3 a via the LAN 5.
  • Step ST[0344] 55:
  • The SNMP agent [0345] 81 a of the electronic device 3 a transmits a response “GetResponse” indicating an error from the LAN_I/F 26 a to the computer 2 b via the LAN 5 in response to a request received from the SNMP manager 80 a of the computer 2 b via the LAN_I/F 26 a shown in FIG. 13 in the step ST51.
  • As explained above, according to the communication system [0346] 1 a, in the case where an adding request of the second entry in the Trap transmission destination table 42 is generated from the computer 2 b almost simultaneously with that from the computer 2 a, entry adding processing can be performed for the request from the computer 2 a and the request from the computer 2 b can be processed as an error.
  • [Fifth Operation Example][0347]
  • In this operation example, the case where abnormality or a predetermined event occurs in the electronic device [0348] 3 a, consequently, the electronic device 3 a needs to transmits a Trap to the computers 2 a and 2 b will be explained.
  • FIG. 29 is a flowchart for explaining the operation example. [0349]
  • Step ST[0350] 61:
  • When the SNMP agent [0351] 81 a realized as a result that the CPU 27 a of the electronic device 3 a shown in FIG. 13 executes a program judges that a state satisfying a condition to transmits a Trap is obtained in the electronic device 3 a, it proceeds to processing in the step ST62.
  • Step ST[0352] 62:
  • The SNMP agent [0353] 81 a judges whether the Trap transmission address set to the first line in the Trap transmission destination table 42 is “0. 0. 0. 0” or not and proceeds to processing of the step ST63 when judged to be “0. 0. 0. 0” while not, proceeds to processing of the step ST64.
  • Step ST[0354] 63:
  • The SNMP agent [0355] 81 a ends the processing without transmitting a Trap.
  • Step ST[0356] 64:
  • The SNMP agent [0357] 81 a judges whether or not the status of the entry on the first line in the Trap transmission destination table 42 is “5 (fixed)” or “1 (valid)” and proceeds to processing of the step ST65 when judged to be “5 (fixed)” or “1 (valid)”, while not, proceeds to processing of the step ST66.
  • Step ST[0358] 65:
  • The SNMP agent [0359] 81 a reads a Trap transmission address stored in the entry on the first line in the Trap transmission destination table 42 and transmits a Trap from the LAN_I/F 26 a to the computer 2 a or 2 b via the LAN 5 shown in FIG. 13 by using the Trap transmission address as an address.
  • Step ST[0360] 66:
  • The SNMP agent [0361] 81 a judges whether a next line (entry) exists in the Trap transmission destination table 42 or not and proceeds to processing of the step ST67 when judged existing, while not, ends the processing.
  • Step ST[0362] 67:
  • The SNMP agent [0363] 81 a judges whether the status of the next line in the Trap transmission destination table 42 is “5” or “1” and the Trap transmission address is not “0. 0. 0. 0”, and proceeds to processing of the step ST68 when judged to be not “0. 0. 0. 0”, while otherwise, returns to processing of the step ST66.
  • Step ST[0364] 68:
  • The SNMP agent [0365] 81 a reads a Trap transmission address stored in an entry on the above mentioned next line in the Trap transmission destination table 42 and transmits a Trap from the LAN_I/F 26 a to the computer 2 a or 2 b via the LAN 5 shown in FIG. 13 by using the Trap transmission address as an address.
  • As explained above, according to the communication system [0366] 1 a, the IP address of the computers 2 a and 2 b as a transmission destination of the Trap can be automatically set to the electronic device 3 a, so a trouble of a user can be reduced.
  • Also, according to the communication system [0367] 1 a, even in the case where a request of adding entry or writing an address in the Trap transmission destination table 42 is generated from a plurality of computers 2 a and 2 b to the electronic device 3 a, processing can be appropriately performed in an order the requests are received.
  • The present invention is not limited to the above embodiments. [0368]
  • For example, in the above embodiments, the case where one computer [0369] 2 and one electronic device 3 were connected to the LAN 5 as shown in FIG. 1 and the case where two computers 2 a and 2 b and one electronic device 3 a were connected to the LAN 5 as shown in FIG. 12 were explained as examples, but the number of the electronic devices and the computers connected to the LAN 5 may be any.
  • INDUSTRIAL APPLICABILITY
  • The present invention can be applied to an electronic device monitoring method, etc. for performing processing of monitoring and maintenance of an electronic device connected via a network, such as a domestic LAN and the Internet. [0370]

Claims (42)

  1. 1. An electronic device maintenance method for performing maintenance of an electronic device by a computer via a network, comprising:
    a first step that said computer obtains remote maintenance management data indicating a communication protocol used in a communication relating to maintenance of said electronic device from said electronic device via said network; and
    a second step that said computer performs processing relating to maintenance of said electronic device by performing a communication with said electronic device by using said communication protocol indicated by said remote maintenance management data obtained in said first step.
  2. 2. An electronic device maintenance method as set forth in claim 1, further comprising
    a third step that, when connection by said electronic device to said network is recognized, said computer obtains identification data of the recognized electronic device on said network; and
    in said second step, said computer performs said communication with said electronic device by further using said identification data obtained in said third step.
  3. 3. An electronic device maintenance method as set forth in claim 1, wherein
    in said first step, said computer obtains from said electronic device said remote maintenance management data indicating correspondence between a kind of one or a plurality of functions relating to said maintenance and said communication protocol used in communication relating to the function; and
    in said second step, said computer performs communication relating to said specified kind of function by using said communication protocol corresponding to said specified kind of function with said electronic device based on said remote maintenance management data.
  4. 4. An electronic device maintenance method as set forth in claim 3, wherein
    in said second step, said computer displays on a display means of said computer a screen for allowing to specify said function indicated by said remote maintenance management data and performs a communication with said electronic device relating to said specified function in accordance with said screen.
  5. 5. An electronic device maintenance method as set forth in claim 1, wherein
    in said first step, said computer obtains from said electronic device said remote maintenance management data indicating correspondence between a kind of a plurality of functions relating to said maintenance, said communication protocol used in a communication relating to said respective plurality of functions, and use authorization data regulating respective use authorization of said plurality of functions; and
    in said second step, said computer performs a communication relating to said specified function by using said communication protocol corresponding to said specified kind of said function with said electronic device based on said remote maintenance management data.
  6. 6. An electronic device maintenance method as set forth in claim 1, wherein
    in said first step, said computer obtains from said electronic device said remote maintenance management data further indicating path specification data indicating a path to a directory storing data or a program relating to said maintenance in a memory means of said electronic device; and
    in said second step, said computer specifies a path indicated by said path specification data in said memory means and makes an access to said memory means based on said remote maintenance management data.
  7. 7. An electronic device maintenance method as set forth in claim 1, further comprising
    a fourth step that said electronic device transmits condition data indicating a condition of the electronic device to said computer via said network; and
    a fifth step that said computer display on a display means a screen in accordance with said condition data received in said fourth step.
  8. 8. An electronic device maintenance method as set forth in claim 1, further comprising
    a sixth step that said computer automatically writes to said electronic device identification data for identifying the computer on a network as transmission destination data; and
    a seventh step that said electronic device transmits an interruption signal to said computer by using said transmission destination data written in said sixth step when the electronic device becomes a predetermined condition.
  9. 9. An electronic device maintenance method as set forth in claim 8, wherein
    in said seventh step, said electronic device notifies to said computer said predetermined condition together with said interruption signal.
  10. 10. An electronic device maintenance method as set forth in claim 8, further comprising
    an eighth step that said electronic device stores status data indicating whether the transmission destination data can be rewritten by making to correspond to said transmission destination data written in said sixth step; and
    a ninth step that said computer rewrites said transmission destination data corresponding to said status data under a condition that the status data indicates that rewriting is possible.
  11. 11. An electronic device maintenance method as set forth in claim 10, wherein
    in said eighth step, said electronic device stores table data having one or a plurality of entries composed of said transmission destination data and said status data corresponding to the transmission destination data; and
    said electronic device maintenance method further includes
    a tenth step that said computer requires adding of said entry to said electronic device; and
    an eleventh step that said electronic device adds said new entry to said table data in response to said request in said tenth step.
  12. 12. An electronic device maintenance method as set forth in claim 8, wherein said electronic device can be set one mode selected from a first mode for permitting to write said identification data of said computer as said transmission destination data from said computer and a second mode for forbidding to write said identification data from said computer.
  13. 13. An electronic device maintenance method as set forth in claim 10, wherein in the case that identification data for identifying said computer on said network after starting up, restarting or initializing in the previous time, said electronic device permits said computer to write said identification data after changed as said transmission destination data corresponding to said status data under a condition that said status data indicates that rewriting is possible.
  14. 14. A computer for performing maintenance of an electronic device via a network, comprising:
    an interface for performing a communication with said electronic device via said network;
    a memory means for storing remote maintenance management data indicating a communication protocol used in a communication relating to maintenance of said electronic device obtained from said electronic device via said interface; and
    a control means for performing processing relating to maintenance of said electronic device by performing a communication with said electronic device via said interface by using said communication protocol indicated by said remote maintenance management data stored in said memory means.
  15. 15. A computer as set forth in claim 14, wherein said control means, when recognizing connection by said electronic device to said network, obtains identification data of the recognized electronic device on said network via said interface, stores the same in said memory means, and performs said communication with said electronic device by further using the identification data.
  16. 16. A computer as set forth in claim 14, further comprising a specification means, wherein
    said memory means stores said remote maintenance management data further comprising maintenance function specification data indicating a kind of one or a plurality of functions relating to said maintenance; and
    said control means refers to said maintenance function specification data and performs said communication relating to a specified function among said one or a plurality of functions indicated by the maintenance function specification data with said electronic device.
  17. 17. A computer as set forth in claim 16, further comprising a display means, wherein
    said control means displays on said display means a screen for allowing to specify one or a plurality of functions indicated by said maintenance function specification data and performs said communication relating to a function specified by said specification means with said electronic device in accordance with said screen.
  18. 18. A computer as set forth in claim 14, wherein
    said memory means stores said remote maintenance management data further comprising use authorization data regulating use authorization of the function for respective functions indicated by said maintenance function specification data; and
    said control means refers to said use authorization data and performs said communication relating to the specified function with said electronic device under a condition that a person specified the function has use authorization of the function.
  19. 19. A computer as set forth in claim 14, wherein
    said memory means stores said remote maintenance management data further including path specification data indicating a path to a directory storing data or a program relating to said maintenance in a memory means of said electronic device; and
    said control means refers to said path specification data and makes an access to said memory means of said electronic device by specifying a path indicated by said path specification data in a memory means of said electronic device.
  20. 20. A computer as set forth in claim 14, further comprising a display means, wherein
    said interface means receives condition data indicating a condition of said electronic device from the electronic device via said network; and
    said control means displays on said display means a screen in accordance with said condition data.
  21. 21. A computer as set forth in claim 14, wherein said control means makes an access from said interface means via said network to a memory means of said electronic device storing transmission destination data specifying a transmission destination of an interruption signal to be sent and writes identification data for identifying the computer on the network as said transmission destination data when said electronic device becomes a predetermined condition.
  22. 22. A computer as set forth in claim 21, wherein
    when said memory means of said electronic device stores status data indicating whether the transmission destination data can be rewritten by making to correspond to said transmission destination data,
    said control means writes said identification data as said transmission destination data corresponding to the status data to said memory means of said electronic device via said interface under a condition that said status data indicates that rewriting is possible.
  23. 23. An electronic device subjected to maintenance by a computer via a network, comprising:
    an interface for performing a communication with said computer via said network;
    a memory means for storing remote maintenance management data indicating a communication protocol used in a communication relating to maintenance by said computer; and
    a control means for transmitting said remote maintenance management data to said computer via said interface and performs a communication relating to said maintenance with said computer by using said communication protocol indicated by said remote maintenance management data in accordance with a request from said computer.
  24. 24. An electronic device as set forth in claim 23, wherein:
    said memory means stores transmission destination data indicating a transmission destination of an interruption signal to be sent when said electronic device becomes a predetermined condition and is written by said computer via said interface identification data for identifying the computer on said network as said transmission destination data; and
    said control means notifies a condition of the electronic device by transmitting said interruption signal to said computer via said interface based on said transmission destination data stored in said memory means when said electronic device becomes said predetermined condition.
  25. 25. An electronic device as set forth in claim 24, wherein
    said memory means stores status data indicating whether the transmission destination data can be rewritten by making to correspond to said transmission destination data; and
    said control means permits said computer to write identification data of the computer as said transmission destination data corresponding to the status data under a condition that said status data indicates that rewriting is possible.
  26. 26. An electronic device as set forth in claim 25, wherein:
    said memory means stores table data having one or a plurality of entries composed of said transmission destination data and said status data corresponding to the transmission destination data; and
    said control means adds a new entry to said table data in accordance with the request when receiving a request to add said entry from said computer via said interface.
  27. 27. An electronic device as set forth in claim 25, wherein said control means, when identification data for identifying said computer on said network is changed after starting up, restarting or initializing said electronic device in the previous time, permits said computer to write said identification data as said transmission destination data corresponding to said status data under a condition that said status data indicates that rewriting is possible.
  28. 28. An electronic device as set forth in claim 27, wherein said control means, when transmission destination data stored in said memory means indicates a predetermined initial value and said status data corresponding to the transmission destination data indicates that rewriting is possible, permits said computer to write identification data of the computer as said transmission destination data corresponding to the status data.
  29. 29. A program executed by a computer for performing maintenance of an electronic device via a network, comprising:
    a first step for receiving remote maintenance management data indicating a communication protocol used in a communication relating to maintenance of said electronic device from said electronic device via said network;
    a second step for storing said remote maintenance management data received in said first step in a memory means provided to said computer; and
    a third step for processing relating to maintenance of said electronic device by performing a communication with said electronic device via said network by using said communication protocol indicated by said remote maintenance management data stored in said memory means.
  30. 30. A program as set forth in claim 29, further comprising:
    a fourth step, when recognizing connection by said electronic device to said network, for obtaining identification data of the recognized electronic device on said network via said network and stores the same in said memory means; and
    wherein in said third step, said communication is performed with said electronic device by further using said identification data obtained and stored in said memory means in said fourth step.
  31. 31. A program as set forth in claim 29, wherein
    in said first step, said remote maintenance management data indicating correspondence between a kind of one or a plurality of functions relating to said maintenance and said communication protocol used in a communication relating to the function is received from said electronic device via said network; and
    in said third step, based on said remote maintenance management data, a communication relating to said specified kind of function is performed with said electronic device by using said communication protocol corresponding to a specified kind of said function.
  32. 32. A program as set forth in claim 29, wherein in said third step, a screen for allowing to specify said function indicated by said remote maintenance management data is displayed by a display means of said computer and communication relating to said specified function is performed with said electronic device in accordance with said screen.
  33. 33. A program as set forth in claim 29, wherein in said first step, said remote maintenance management data indicating correspondence between a kind of one or a plurality of functions relating to said maintenance, said communication protocol used in a communication relating to said plurality of functions and use authorization data regulating respective use authorization of said plurality of functions is received from said electronic device via said network; and
    in said third step, based on said remote maintenance management data, a communication relating to said specified function is performed with said electronic device by using said communication protocol corresponding to said specified kind of said function under a condition that a person specified said function has use authorization of the function.
  34. 34. A program as set forth in claim 29, wherein
    in said first step, said remote maintenance management data further indicating path specification data indicating a path to a directory storing data or a program relating to said maintenance in a memory means of said electronic device is received via said electronic device via said network; and
    in said third step, based on said remote maintenance management data, an access is made to said memory means by specifying a path indicated by said path specification data in said memory means.
  35. 35. A program as set forth in claim 29, further comprising a fourth step for making an access via said network to a memory means of said electronic device for storing transmission destination data indicating a transmission destination of an interruption signal to be sent when said electronic device becomes a predetermined condition and writes identification data for identifying said computer on the network as said transmission destination data.
  36. 36. A program as set forth in claim 35, wherein in said fourth step, in the case where said memory means of said electronic device stores status data indicating whether the transmission destination data can be rewritten by making to correspond to said transmission destination data, said identification data of said computer is written to a memory means of said electronic device as said transmission destination data corresponding to said status data under a condition that the status data indicates that rewriting is possible.
  37. 37. A program executed in an electronic device subjected to maintenance by a computer via a network, comprising
    a first step for transmitting to said computer via said network remote maintenance management data indicating a communication protocol used in a communication relating to maintenance of said electronic device with said computer; and
    a second step for performing communication relating to said maintenance with said computer by using said communication protocol indicated by said remote maintenance management data.
  38. 38. A program as set forth in claim 37, further comprising:
    a third step that identification data of said computer on said network is written to a memory means of said electronic device by said computer as transmission destination data of an interruption signal; and
    a fourth step for transmitting said interruption signal to said computer by using the transmission destination data stored in the memory means of said electronic device in said third step when said electronic device becomes a predetermined condition.
  39. 39. A program as set forth in claim 38, wherein
    in said third step, status data indicating whether the transmission destination data can be rewritten is stored in said memory means by making to correspond to said transmission destination data; and
    said program further comprises a fifth step, under a condition that said status data indicates that rewriting is possible, for permitting said computer to write identification data of the computer as said transmission destination data corresponding to the status data.
  40. 40. A program as set forth in claim 38, further comprising a sixth step, in the case said memory means stores table data having one or a plurality of entries composed of said transmission destination data and said status data corresponding to the transmission destination data, when receiving a request for adding said entry from said computer, for adding said new entry to said table data in response to the request.
  41. 41. A program as set forth in claim 38, further comprising a seventh step, when identification data for identifying said computer on said network is changed after starting up, restarting or initializing said electronic device in the previous time, for permitting said computer to write said identification data as said transmission destination data corresponding to said status data under a condition that said status data indicates that rewriting is possible.
  42. 42. A program as set forth in claim 41, wherein in said seventh step, when transmission destination data stored in said memory means indicates a predetermined initial value and said status data corresponding to the transmission destination data indicates that rewriting is possible, writing identification data of said computer as said transmission destination data corresponding to the status data is permitted to said computer.
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