What is network traffic monitoring?

Network traffic monitoring is the process of detecting, analyzing, and managing network traffic for abnormalities or changes that could affect network performance, availability, and security. Network traffic monitoring is an alternative name for NetFlow monitoring.

Network traffic monitoring is designed to provide a holistic view of your network traffic. It’s like a phone bill, it tells you who called, who they talked to, when they called, and how long the conversation lasted. It provides the IP Source and Destinations (who), the timestamps (when), the bytes or packets (how much), and it also provide the what (Protocol). This data is sent from Flow-enabled routers, switches, firewalls, and other network devices to a flow collector where it is then analyzed.


Major Uses of Network Traffic Monitoring

Network traffic monitoring lets you more easily understand traffic patterns and plan for capacity changes. Network traffic monitoring helps you understand which users, applications, and protocols are consuming network bandwidth by tracking processes, protocols, times of day, and traffic routing. Knowing this information helps you more quickly identify the root causes of bottlenecks and spot quality of service (QoS) issues. Understanding bandwidth usage is essential to maintaining high-performing networks.

With Network Traffic Monitoring, you can answer questions like:

  • What kind of traffic is on my network? How much is business vs. social?
  • What changed on my network compared to last week?
  • Are there any application dependencies I should know about before I start this migration?
  • How much billable data is egressing the cloud daily and how can I save money?
  • Am I seeing any traffic patterns that could indicate security threats, i.e., brute forcing, scans, exfiltration, etc.?


Benefits of Network Traffic Monitoring

Network Traffic Monitoring offers several benefits.  The first is that it can provide ubiquitous, full-fidelity visibility.   Flow can be collected from any device across the global enterprise – physical, virtual and cloud – and unified in a single analysis device.   Full-fidelity means it can be collected without sampling – all flows, all the time for complete coverage.

Second, flows can be integrated with packets for much richer analysis. When required, contextually drill down into the packets for fast troubleshooting.

As a result, Network Traffic Analysis helps NetOps teams

  • Simplify hybrid network monitoring
  • Reduce mean time to resolution (MTTR) by 63%
  • Reduce network visibility blind spots by up to 58%
  • >Understand how network traffic changes over time

Using NetFlow for Bandwidth Analysis

Additional Resources


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