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This paper analyzes mobile agent performance in network management compared to the client-server model used in the Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP). Prototypes of an application that gathers MIB-II (Management Information Base-II) variables have been created and tested on a LAN. After acquiring implementation parameters related to network management and to the mobile agent infrastructure, simulation results have been obtained on large topologies similar in shape to the Internet. Response time results show that mobile agents perform better than SNMP when the number of managed elements ranges between two specific limits, an inferior bound and a superior one, determined by the number of messages that pass through a backbone and by the mobile agent size which grows along with MIB-II variables collected on network elements. The results also show that a significant improvement is achieved when the mobile agent returns or sends data to the management station after visiting a fixed number of nodes.