How do mobile phones impact your network?The need to monitor mobile phone network traffic is rising in today’s work place environment because of non-work related activity using up valuable bandwidth. With today’s, “I’ve got an app for that” craze we need a way to determine how mobile phones are impacting network bandwidth usage. Did you know that between Apple and Android’s app stores there are over 650,000 downloadable apps? Do you have the necessary tools to monitor how mobile traffic is impacting your network?

With smartphone sales expected to reach over 420 million devices in 2011 alone it’s only a matter of time before you start to see smartphones impact your bandwidth usage with Facebook updates, downloads of Angry Birds and syncing with cloud services like Apple’s iCloud. So, how can you monitor a smartphone to find out how much bandwidth is being used?

NetFlow and IPFIX are the answer

As more and more vendors implement NetFlow and IPFIX, NetFlow monitoring is becoming much more widely available to consumers. It’s important that you use a NetFlow export that supports MAC addresses, such as Flexible NetFlow and IPFIX, so you can filter on the MAC address of the smartphone vendor ID.

Scott gives us a great example on how to monitor iPhone traffic on your network. This same technique can be applied to any smartphone vendor by knowing the MAC address vendor ID.

By adding an inbound threshold to Scott’s example you can setup NetFlow alerts for smartphone traffic on your network, so you’ll know when someone has decided to stream Netflix to their phone.

Confirming the Use of BYOD Devices

Many NetFlow and IPFIX capable devices export authentication details which allow administrators to click on your user name and display the IP addresses you have authenticated onto the network with.

locating BYOD devices


Using the find IP address utility found in just about any IPFIX and NetFlow analyzer, we can narrow the search down to a specific switch and port.  If the phone is actively connected to a wireless access point, we can narrow the search down to a floor or wing of a building.


We love to hear customer feedback, so let us know what creative ways you’re using NetFlow and IPFIX to monitor your network traffic and catch those bandwidth hogs!

Paul Dube

Paul Dube is the Director of Technical Services at Plixer. He has a passion for enabling individuals and organizations to use highly complex systems to solve business and personal objectives. This passion for problem solving has Paul working with some of the largest enterprises to solve their security and networking challenges and also educating his young daughters on how to enrich their lives with technology. When he's not working, you will find him enjoying time with his family, cooking something delicious on the Big Green Egg, and enjoying the best brews that the locals have to offer.


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