Traffic analysis involves monitoring the network to find out who and what used the bandwidth and at what time. The analysis also involves having a detailed understanding on the network protocol distribution. One may ask why is there the need to identify the protocols in the network when you see the applications being used and their related conversations.

The protocol distribution helps network administrators find the bandwidth used by each protocol in the network. This helps find if any unwanted (read as: not mean to be used) protocols are being used in the network and based on this, the network administrator can reallocate this bandwidth to more critical applications using other protocols.

It also helps you determine if any inactive application protocol is being used in the network taking away valuable bandwidth. To give a real example, an administrator was expecting to see only negligible bandwidth usage by L2TP traffic in his network. He looked at the protocol distribution graph and what he found was L2TP occupying about 10% of the total traffic. Now, that is called sacrilege in network terminology !

Again, having a track on the network protocol distribution can even help quickly solve network problems. When the network is slow, instead of analyzing each application one by one, you can take a look at the protocol distribution to find if there is any unexpected change in the pattern and then analyze the protocol to find what application is involved in bandwidth.

And is it not much more easier to identify non compliance traffic based on protocol first and then drilling down to find the application and conversations involved rather than checking out for each applications in the list of thousands of applications?

Since Cisco and many of the major vendors in the market have already come up with NetFlow or a  similar flow format technology, one does not have to wonder how to obtain such an information from the routing or switching devices. All you need is configure your device to export NetFlow packets to ManageEngine NetFlow Analyzer which supports almost all the major flow formats, and the product will capture the flow packets to generate the reports. Now that is called Up and Running in a matter of minutes.

It really does not do a big deal if you can just see the protocol distribution in the network. What you need is the ability to see the source and destination associated with each conversation corresponding to a protocol and this is exactly what NetFlow Analyzer can also do. Check out the screen shots to see protocol distribution reports available in NetFlow Analyzer.

Protocol Distribution

Protocol Conversations

With NetFlow Analyzer, it is not just limited to showing the conversations involved, but we even have a graph option for each of the conversations. NetFlow Analyzer offers this and much more. Do take a look at the application monitoring capabilities also. Download and try the evaluation to see what more the product can do for your network.

Download | Interactive Demo | Product overview video | Twitter | Customers

Don Thomas Jacob