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Deep-protocol analysis of UNIX networks

Jun 09, 2010, 20:48 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Martin Brown)


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"There are a number of reasons to take a closer look at the contents of the network traffic. The first is that you may simply be debugging an existing network application or one you are developing, and want to monitor the traffic going past on your network. The second reason is to identify traffic on your network that may be using up bandwidth and resources. For the former, you probably already know the contents of the protocol, but you may want to get a more detailed look at the actual data being transferred, for example, when using web services. For the latter, identifying the contents of the packets requires some extensive knowledge of the protocols being used.

"With both TCP/IP and UDP/IP communications, the key elements are the IP addresses used to identify the hosts and the port number. The port number is used to provide additional communication channels so that you can support multiple connections between two hosts. There are some standards in the port definitions. For example, port 25 is for email (SMTP) traffic, and most websites operate on port 80 (HTTP). These conventions are used to allow programs to communicate with each other over a known channel in the same way as you would choose a phone or fax number."

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