Network Traffic Visualization

Corey Edwards tensai at
Fri Feb 10 15:16:57 MST 2012

On 02/08/2012 02:29 PM, Daniel C. wrote:
> Hey all,
> I'm taking a class on data visualization.  For my final project I plan
> to write a piece of software that will create a visualization of
> network traffic.  Ideally, this will be something that's genuinely
> useful to network admins.  To get started, I've got a few questions:
> - What problems do you have that a visualization tool could help
> solve?  Are they fairly concrete (i.e. "I need to monitor all traffic
> to port X on machines Y-AF") or something more... heuristic (for lack
> of a better word), such as keeping an eye on overall traffic trends
> and using your experience in looking at the pretty pictures to spot
> when something unusual is happening?

I've got the tools to see what's happening at any point in time, but I
would love to be able to compare graphs. How does this week compare to
12 weeks ago or last year? How do these 5 circuit compare to each other?
How quickly are they growing, both compared to themselves and others?

I can give you a specific example that happened just this week. One of
my circuits went from 35mbps to 15mbps due to a traffic adjustment of my
peer. It took a week before my coworker discovered the change and we
were able to rearrange our bandwidth to compensate. While it's true we
could have done a better job of watching all those graphs, having a tool
that would highlight those sort of changes would be ever so helpful.


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