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NetStream

Posted on Apr 3, 2024 by
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What Is NetStream?

NetStream is an innovative solution that captures packet statistics at a granular level, focusing on individual data flows. It employs intelligent classification techniques, utilizing key packet fields like destination IP address, destination port number, protocol number, and source IP address to categorize data flows. The collected statistics are then transmitted to a server for comprehensive analysis. This insightful analysis enables network administrators to gain insights into traffic source, destination, and the bandwidth utilized for egress. It serves as a valuable data foundation for critical applications such as accounting, network management, and network optimization.

Components in a NetStream System

A NetStream system comprises three components: the NetStream Data Exporter (NDE), NetStream Collector (NSC), and NetStream Data Analyzer (NDA).

  • 1. NDE: analyzes and processes service flows, extracting flows that meet specific conditions for statistics collection. It exports the collected statistics to the NSC, with the ability to perform additional processing, such as aggregating statistics, before exporting.

  • 2. NSC: receives packets from the NDE, storing them and saving the associated statistics in its database for analysis by the NDA. It can gather data exported from multiple NDEs, enabling further processing.

  • 3. NDA: serves as a traffic analysis tool, extracting statistics from the NSC and conducting processing to generate comprehensive reports. These reports offer insights for various applications, including accounting, network management, and network optimization. Additionally, the NDA provides a user-friendly graphical user interface (GUI) for convenient data retrieval and analysis.

In practical implementation, the NDE refers to a network device with NetStream capability, while the NSC and NDA are typically integrated into the same NetStream server.

How Does NetStream Work?

NetStream operates through the following steps:

  • 1. Periodically, an NDE transmits flow statistics it has collected to an NSC.

  • 2. The NSC processes these flow statistics and forwards them to an NDA.

  • 3. The NDA analyzes the flow statistics, facilitating functions such as accounting, network management, and network optimization.

The accompanying diagram illustrates the NetStream processing on a device functioning as an NDE:

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  • 1. The device applies NetStream sampling to the specified service traffic using a designated sampling mode.

  • 2. NetStream flows are generated by the device for the sampled packets based on the values of key fields.

  • 3. The device removes NetStream flows that meet specific aging criteria.

  • 4. NetStream flows are exported by the device in a specified mode.

Application Scenarios of NetStream

NetStream collects and analyzes statistics related to service traffic within the network. Its deployment can be implemented at the access, aggregation, and core layers.

NetStream is commonly utilized for the following purposes:

Accounting

NetStream offers detailed data for accounting based on time, bandwidth, service, and application. For example, enterprise customers can accurately calculate departmental expenses or allocate budgets to optimize resource utilization effectively.

Network optimization

NetStream provides essential information for network management, including network traffic statistics. This data aids in optimizing network planning, achieving optimal network performance, and ensuring reliability while minimizing operating expenses (OPEX).

Network monitoring

By deploying NetStream at the network egress, real-time monitoring of network traffic becomes feasible. This enables administrators to track the egress bandwidth occupied by various services. Utilizing this bandwidth information, network administrators can identify any inadequacies in network planning and promptly adjust resource allocation to ensure stable and reliable network service operations.

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