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Network traffic analysis

Network traffic analysis

(also NTA)

Network traffic analysis definition

Network traffic analysis involves observing, evaluating, and examining network data to detect and evaluate security risks, performance concerns, and other possible issues. This technique enables network managers and security experts to identify atypical patterns, harmful actions, and data compromises, which in turn aids in preserving network performance and safeguarding confidential data from cyber intrusions.

See also: network intrusion protection system, monitoring software

Network traffic analysis examples

  • Anomaly detection: Identifying unusual patterns in network traffic that may signify a cyberattack or other security breach.
  • Bandwidth monitoring: Measuring the amount of network traffic to detect performance issues, such as bottlenecks or excessive usage by certain devices or applications.
  • Intrusion detection: Recognizing signs of unauthorized access, malware, or other cyber threats within the network traffic.

Network traffic analysis compared to other terms

  • Network traffic analysis vs. packet sniffing: Packet sniffing is a more focused technique used to capture and analyze individual data packets within the network traffic, while network traffic analysis takes a broader approach, examining patterns and trends in the overall network data.
  • Network traffic analysis vs. network performance monitoring: Network performance monitoring is a subset of network traffic analysis, focusing specifically on tracking network performance metrics, such as latency, throughput, and packet loss.

Pros and cons of network traffic analysis


  • Early detection of security threats.
  • Improved network performance and efficiency.
  • Enhanced user experience and satisfaction.


  • Can be resource-intensive, requiring specialized tools and expertise.
  • May raise privacy concerns if not properly managed and controlled.

Tips for effective network traffic analysis

  • Use advanced tools and software to automate the analysis process.
  • Set up network traffic baselines to quickly identify anomalies.
  • Regularly review and update your network traffic analysis strategies.

Further reading

Ultimate digital security