Payload Analysis

Written by Patricia Skinner
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Payload analysis is any method of categorizing data passing along information highways and is primarily for sorting and directing information on its way, rather like postmen sort through the post in a sorting bay. At the moment the ever-increasing Internet traffic is forcing Internet service providers to analyze whether their resources for coping with Internet traffic are sufficient for maintaining customer satisfaction.

The Beginnings of Payload Analysis

Up until now, monitoring of information, or pieces of data, traveling the information highway has been done by means of Signalling Network Protocol, or SNMP-related query tools. These kinds of parameters are relatively stress-free for the networks, but they do have drawbacks. The first commonly used traffic data, and thus parameters for payload analysis, were captured on October 3, 1989 at the Bellcore Morristown Research and Engineering Facility. The data files were in ASCII format, consisting of one 20-byte line for each arriving Ethernet packet.

Question of Privacy

One of the problems of payload analysis at the moment is that many methods of analysis tend to expose the privacy of the user. This has led to the explosion of spam and the perpetration of virus attacks on Internet users. So a priority at the moment is to devise systems that can perform without exposing private information to everyone on the Net.

There are two issues to be considered with the assessment of payloads. One is the measuring of locations, and the other is where to place intermediate modes--i.e. how many of them are needed--to make analysis accurate and effective. They should also satisfy three requirements: All Ethernet packets should contain as much data as possible, user privacy should be guaranteed, and timestamps must be adequately precise.

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