The definition of a flow is relatively fluid, and Napatech provides support for many variants.
A flow can be described by any of these definitions:
- A sequence of packets from a source to a destination (host, multicast group or broadcast domain)
- An artificial, logical equivalent to a call or connection
- A sequence of packets sent from a particular source to a particular unicast, anycast or multicast destination that the source desires to label as a flow. A flow can consist of all packets in a specific transport connection or media stream. A flow is not necessarily mapped 1-to-1 to a transport connection
- A set of IP packets passing an observation point in the network during a certain time interval
Napatech Stateful Flow Management supports flows that are defined in many ways, including subsets and groups of flows. These are examples of some of the supported flows:
- 5-tuple flow or similar (4-tuple, 2-tuple). The most common parameters for flow identification are the 5-tuple (source IP, destination IP, source port, destination port, protocol).
- Subset of a flow (for example, 5-tuple/2-tuple and VLAN tag)
- Groups of flows (for example, layer-2 flow: all packets between two MAC addresses)
This is an example of a 5-tuple flow:
This is an example of an alternative flow: