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Abstract Syntax Notation (ASN.1) is a messaging scheme originated in the 1980's as part of the effort to achieve electronic commerce between companies. The term actually applies to several different things:

  • A human-readable metalanguage used in describing protocols
  • An exchange format for exchanging abstract information between computers, using various encoding rules to put specific content into the transfer syntax, including:
    • Basic Encoding Rules
    • Cryptographic Encoding Rules

While ASN.1 was originally developed for the Open Systems Interconnection Reference Model architecture, an ASN.1 subset provides both the metalanguage for describing the objects in the Management Information Base of Internet Protocol Suite implementations, which are manipulated by the Simple Network Management Protocol.