What Are The Dominant Network Traffic Types And Protocols?
Network traffic (also called data traffic) refers to how much data is getting moved across a network at a given time. Whether loading a website or downloading a file over the internet, network traffic transmits the data in packets and lets the receiving device put them together. Think of it as filling a glass with water: it takes time to fill it since water’s coming in as a steady stream instead of the entire amount in one go.
Understanding network traffic has a range of benefits, from identifying unusual movements in the network to reducing bottlenecks and other problems. With more people demanding faster speeds and better reliability, knowing the basics of network traffic becomes indispensable for improving existing infrastructure.
Here’s everything you need to know about network traffic and its dominant types and protocols:
Types of network traffic
Most network traffic experts recognize two general categories: directional flow and significance. Directional flow refers to the data packets’ route to deliver to a device as fast as possible without disrupting other traffic. (1)
Two types fall under this category:
This flow involves moving from the servers to the receiving end, which is essentially movement across the entire network. It’s also known as client-to-server traffic. (2)
This flow focuses on movement between servers, typically within a data server facility. It’s also known as server-to-server traffic. (1)
Network administrators also categorize network traffic by the significance of the moved data. Some data packets need to reach the end-user as quickly as possible without sacrificing quality. (1)
Again, two types fall under this category:
This type of traffic often takes priority because of its importance in private or business functions. Examples include web browsing, online gaming, Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), and videoconferencing. (1)
Also known as best-effort traffic, this type of traffic tends to have little or no effect on the overall network condition, so it’s not given as much priority (though it’s no less crucial). Examples include File Transfer Protocol (FTP) and peer-to-peer email applications. (1)
While businesses are quick to adopt new technology, they tend to adopt solutions that barely fit their needs. This happens quite often in cloud migration. One study in 2019 revealed that 74% of large companies worldwide move their workloads to the cloud, only to return them on premises after failing to produce any noticeable gains. For these companies, the experience has created a stigma on cloud technology and its promise of greater return on investment. (4)
In another study, 84% of enterprises that had to move back on premises said they’re less likely to consider moving to the cloud again, even if they’re given a chance. The rising costs of ensuring the infrastructure’s cloud readiness often can’t justify it enough. (4)
Knowing the suitability of a business solution warrants an extensive review of the infrastructure. Most businesses neither have the time nor resources to do such a task, so they usually leave it to MSPs. Consultations cover a broad array of aspects, including the following:
- Collaboration with business management
- Data-driven decision-making
- Current and future assessment
- Planning a long-term roadmap
- Proper migration (especially to the cloud)
- Procuring the necessary equipment
Even when formal consultations aren’t possible, MSPs provide technical support to an extent. They maintain a 24/7 help desk when problems arise, ensuring issues are addressed even when MSPs are closed for the evening or holidays. After all, problems don’t rest or take a vacation.
The constant progress of technology will introduce newer and more efficient protocols, making transmitting data faster and less prone to errors. However, this progress will also introduce new issues, so knowledge of the basics of network traffic won’t become less crucial anytime soon.
- “What is Network Traffic?” Source: https://www.fortinet.com/resources/cyberglossary/network-traffic
- “East-west traffic,” Source: https://www.techtarget.com/searchnetworking/definition/east-west-traffic
- “Network traffic analysis for IR: Basic protocols in networking”, Source: https://resources.infosecinstitute.com/topic/network-traffic-analysis-for-ir-basic-protocols-in-networking/
- “What are IP & TCP?” Source: https://www.cloudflare.com/learning/ddos/glossary/tcp-ip/
- “HTTP request methods”, Source: https://developer.mozilla.org/en-US/docs/Web/HTTP/Methods