Traffic monitoring, also known as network monitoring, is the method of studying the incoming and outgoing traffic on a computer network via specialized hardware and/or software.
At the most basic level upload and download statistics can be displayed, but more administrators today require more advanced reporting. Protocol inspection is required to identify both at the IP level and the application level, often referred to as deep packet inspection (DPI) or layer 7 (L7). Notification of the traffic conditions can be via real-time views, scheduled reports or alerts. Further advances in traffic monitoring allow identification of traffic to users, in addition to IP or host names.
The benefit of traffic monitoring is the ability to track down network problems and use the information to guarantee bandwidth and quality of service for business applications.