It refers to the flow of data packets between devices on a computer network. It encompasses the communication and exchange of information, such as messages, files, and requests, among connected devices.
Here are the key features of network traffic:
- Bandwidth: This refers to the maximum rate of data transfer across a network. It’s crucial to ensure that there’s enough bandwidth to support the data needs of users and applications.
- Latency: Latency measures the time it takes for data to travel from the source to the destination. Low latency is essential for real-time applications like video conferencing and online gaming.
- Packet Loss: Packet loss occurs when data packets traveling across a network do not reach their destination. High packet loss can degrade the performance of applications and services.
- Jitter: Jitter is the variation in the delay of received packets. Consistent and low jitter is crucial for applications that require a steady and predictable flow of data, such as voice over IP (VoIP).
- Protocols: Monitoring the types of protocols used in network traffic is essential for understanding the nature of the data and identifying potential security threats. Common protocols include TCP, UDP, HTTP, and more.
- Source and Destination Addresses: Analyzing the source and destination IP addresses helps in identifying the origin and destination of network traffic. This is crucial for security and troubleshooting purposes.
- Packet Size: Examining the size of packets can provide insights into the nature of the data being transmitted. Large packet sizes may indicate file transfers or multimedia content.
- Top Talkers: Identifying the devices or users that generate the most traffic (top talkers) can help in capacity planning and network optimization.
- Security Threats: Monitoring for unusual patterns or anomalies in network traffic can help detect security threats, such as malware, denial-of-service attacks, or unauthorized access.