What are the 5 ways to monitor network connection flow? Flow determines a transmission channel and all packages communicating the same 5-tuple areas belong to the exact flow. How to determine if this is connected? Read below.

What is a Network Connection Flow?

In Networking, a connection flow is a sequence of packets sent to the same destination and the same source. 

The destination and the source identify a network connection. Also, the destination IP identifies the Server or Client, and the source IP identifies the originating computer.

If there are two paths between the computer and the destination server, packets can take different routes to get there. In this case, we have two network connections.

If there is a gateway (like a router) in between the two connections, packets must pass through the gateway and get to the destination. If there is a firewall, it can either allow or block the packets based on some rules.

What are 5 Ways to Monitor Network Connection Flow?

The following are 5 ways to monitor network connection flow: 1. NetFlow 2. sFlow 3. IPFIX 4. SPAN 5. NetStream


Netflow is a protocol that allows routers to track and report network traffic flows to network management stations. Also, NetFlow is mainly used in IP networks and is widely used to collect traffic statistics of IP networks. 

NetFlow data is to a NetFlow collector, which collects data from multiple routers and presents it in a consolidated format. Also, NetFlow is the most common way to monitor network traffic because most network equipment supports it. However, it has some limitations. 

For example, it can only be to IP or IPv6 networks. It cannot be to other network protocols such as MPLS, Ethernet, or Fiber Channel. It also cannot be to non-IP packets such as ARP, GRE, etc., and it is not suitable for encrypted connections. 


sFlow is a protocol that allows network equipment to export flow data to a network collector or network management station. 

It is similar to NetFlow, but the main difference is that sFlow uses a protocol called small-footprint flow protocol (sFlow). Also, the main purpose of sFlow is to provide accurate traffic statistics and collect traffic statistics in large networks. 


IPFIX is an extended version of NetFlow, and it is widely used in network monitoring because most network equipment supports it. It can only be to IP or IPv6 networks. Also, it does not support non-IP protocols such as Ethernet and fiber channels. 

It can collect data from multiple devices and export it to multiple collectors. Also, it is a flexible protocol because packet filtering rules are in the collector. Therefore, new filtering rules can be in the field without modifying the network equipment. 


SPAN (Switched Port Analyzer) is a technology that allows network administrators to monitor network traffic on a particular port or set of ports within a switch or router. 


NetStream is a technology that allows network administrators to monitor data of a specific application in an end-user computer or mobile device. Also, it works by extending NetFlow or IPFIX to track the data of an application instead of just monitoring the level of traffic.


Flow control is the management of data flow between computers or devices or between nodes in a network so that the data can be handled at an efficient pace.

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