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Packet Length Report using NetFlow / IPFIX

We figured out how to report on packet length with NetFlow.  All you have to do is enter “match ipv4 length total” in the flow record of the Flexible NetFlow Configuration .  This entry will export the element ipTotalLength   whereby the NetFlow and IPFIX reporting  tool can provide reports that look like this:

packet size with NetFlow

Packet length is important because it facilitates flow control. Too many small packets create a lot of overhead for the network, and large packets may need to be fragmented which may also cause performance issues. Certain situations warrant the need for different sized packets for optimal performance.  The packet length report enables you to efficient troubleshoot packet size related issue.

Nikhil Wagholikar states,  The network’s packet size distribution shows the size of digital blocks of data flowing through the network and, thus, is a direct indicator of network bandwidth use. Maximum packet flows during the course of a typical business day follow those of the company’s network bandwidth use in terms of their frequency and size (e.g., during hours of peak bandwidth use, packet sizes are at their highest levels for the day). The NetFlow packet length report would be ideal for this kind of observation analysis. It provides information on both frequency and packet lengths.

Please feel free to tell us how you would use this report.


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Michael Patterson, is the founder & CEO of Plixer and the product manager for Scrutinizer NetFlow and sFlow Analyzer. Prior to starting Somix and Plixer, Mike worked in a technical support role at Cabletron Systems, acquired his Novell CNE and then moved to the training department for a few years. While in training he finished his Masters in Computer Information Systems from Southern New Hampshire University and then left technical training to pursue a new skill set in Professional Services. In 1998 he left the 'Tron' to start Somix and Plixer.