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The Best IPFix Collectors for Network Traffic Monitoring and Analyzing

Best IPFix Collectors

Marc Wilson UPDATED: December 21, 2023

IPFix Collectors are becoming more popular with hardware vendors due to the integration of the network analyzing protocol being open to multiple vendors and the standardization it offers as well.

NetFlow is fairly limited to Cisco products and a select few other vendors, but the introduction of IPFix has given the industry a better way to monitor network flows and an array of additional information in ways Netflow isn't capable of doing.

IPFix is the technology that allows for the capture and analyzing of flow information from layer-3 switches, routers, and firewalls to a central IPFix Collector Software on your network.

Here is our list of the top OPFix collectors:

  1. SolarWinds Network Bandwidth Analyzer Pack – FREE TRIAL This package of two network monitoring and management systems gives you constant network device monitoring, plus traffic pattern tracking using IPFIX, sFlow, NetStream, J-Flow, and NetFlow. Runs on Windows Server.
  2. ManageEngine NetFlow Analyzer – FREE TRIAL This package will monitor a single-site network or, in a higher plan, a WAN. The tool includes a capacity planning analyzer. Available for Windows Server and Linux.
  3. Site24x7 – FREE TRIAL A robust choice for IPFix Collectors in Network Traffic Monitoring, offering detailed traffic analysis and support for multiple flow formats. Start a 30-day free trial.
  4. Noction Flow Analyzer This package of network monitoring and management systems watches over live network performance as well as offering network traffic analysis. Runs on Linux.
  5. nProbe Use this package capture tool with the Ntop server and front ends to get network monitoring and traffic analysis facilities. Installs on Linux and Windows.
  6. IsarFlow This monitoring package uses IPFIX, NetFlow, and SNMP to gather traffic performance statistics and manage QoS. Implemented as an appliance
  7. NetFlow Auditor This package offers a range of network services, including NetFlow, IPFIX, sFlow, J-Flow, AppFlow, and NetStream data extraction. The bundle also offers security monitoring. Available for Windows and Linux.
  8. Plixer Scrutinizer This monitoring package is offered in seven plans that include a free tier and performs network traffic analysis with IPFIX, NetFlow, NetStream, sFlow, and J-Flow. Offered as a network appliance or as a virtual appliance over a hypervisor.

IPFix differs from NetFlow in such a way that it allows for different types of information to be captured from the device, including proprietary information that a Vendor ID can integrate into the device and also has the ability to receive information about Syslog and SNMP that would otherwise be sent to those respective services/collectors.

This will further cut down on network overhead and allow you to collect, organize, filter and analyze all the information from one software package rather than from multiple software packages.

We've highlighted some of the Best IPfix Collector software packages below along with a quick overview of what each software does.

Some of these are Freeware and others have Free Trials that are worth checking out, and some are Open Source.

We've had good success downloading a trial version and testing it out and getting a good feel for it.

The Best Free and paid IPFix Collectors & Analyzers

Below you'll find some IPFix Collectors that also double as IPFix Analyzers – some of these are free and others are paid and they will all give you a great understanding of how flexible the protocol can be when setting it up correctly.

Our methodology for selecting IPFIX collectors

We reviewed the IPFIX collector market and analyzed the options based on the following criteria:

  • Protocol support
  • The number of metrics each tool collects
  • Number of vendors each collector supports
  • A facility to analyze performance over time
  • Graphical interpretation of data, such as charts and graphs
  • A free trial period, a demo, or a money-back guarantee for no-risk assessment
  • A good price that reflects value for money when compared to the functions offered

We Suggest that you download one of them and test it out on your network to get a better understanding of how it works and how flexible the software really is.

Collecting and analyzing data using IPFix will give you a great understanding of what is really going on within your LAN/WAN and see what services, websites, machines and other devices are using the most bandwidth on your network.

These software packages also work great when you need to Monitor your Bandwidth on your Network and Web Browsing.

1. SolarWinds Network Bandwidth Analyzer Pack – FREE TRIAL

Solarwinds IPFix Collector Software

The SolarWinds Network Bandwidth Analyzer software package includes all the features you need to collector IPFix Flow information and packets as well as any other protocols that your network may be putting out.

It includes automatic discovery of devices as well as network performance, fault and availability monitoring bundled into it.

The bundle also includes the Network Performance Monitor with gives you a great overview of network devices and their bandwidth consumption and usage, as well as a easy-to-use dashboard that can be setup with Alerts and reports.

The NetFlow/IPFix Collector/Analyzer portion of the bundled software is called Netflow Traffic Analyzer and it supports IPFIX, as well as Cisco Netflow, Juniper J-Flow, sFlow, Huawei Netstream and other flow protocols and data.

Pros:

  • Great interface that balances visualizations and key insights well
  • Highly customizable reports, dashboards, and monitoring tools
  • Uses simple QoS rules for quick traffic shaping
  • Built with large networks in mind, can scale to 50,000 flows
  • Available for both Linux and Windows

Cons:

  • Is a highly specialized suite of tools designed for network professionals, not designed for non-technical users

Download a 30-day free trial and Test the Collector/Analyzer on your Network Free.

SolarWinds Network Bandwidth Analyzer Pack Start a 30-day FREE Trial

2. ManageEngine Netflow Analyzer – FREE TRIAL

IPFix & Netflow analyzer

ManageEngine Netflow analyzer has IPFix Monitoring capabilities that makes it a good option for those looking for a nicely laid out program to manage & analyze IPFIX traffic.

This tool has capabilities of not only Monitoring IPFix, but also:

  • Netflow
  • j-Flow
  • sFlow
  • Netstream
  • and other protocols!

We suggest you give this tool a try and see how well it performs in your network! You'll be pleasantly surprised with the ease of use and its capabilities!

Pros:

  • Supports multiple protocols like NetFlow, great for monitoring Cisco equipment
  • Both tools work well alongside each other to help view traffic patterns and bandwidth usage
  • Easy to use interface automatically highlights bandwidth hogs and other network traffic outliers
  • Scale well, designed for large enterprise networks
  • Can view traffic on a per-hop basis, allowing for granular traffic analysis

Cons:

  • Built for enterprise use, not designed for small home networks

Download: https://www.manageengine.com/products/netflow/index-new.html

ManageEngine Netflow Analyzer Start a 30-day FREE Trial

3. Site24x7 – FREE TRIAL

Site24x7 Network Traffic Monitoring Tool

For Network Traffic Monitoring and Analyzing, particularly in the context of IPFix Collectors, Site24x7 stands out as a robust and efficient solution. This platform is well-equipped to handle the complexities of network traffic analysis, offering deep insights into network performance and security.

Key Features

  • Comprehensive IPFix data collection and analysis
  • Supports multiple flow formats like NetFlow, sFlow, and J-Flow
  • Detailed bandwidth usage monitoring and anomaly detection
  • User-friendly interface for easy data interpretation
  • Customizable alerts and reports for proactive network management

Why do we recommend it?

We recommend Site24x7 for its comprehensive approach to network traffic monitoring and its ability to analyze IPFix data effectively. It's particularly commendable for its user-friendly interface and detailed insights, which are crucial for effective network management.

Site24x7's IPFix collector functionality allows for the gathering and analysis of flow data, enabling network administrators to monitor bandwidth usage, detect anomalies, and understand traffic patterns in detail. The tool's versatility in supporting multiple flow formats, including NetFlow, sFlow, and J-Flow, alongside IPFix, makes it a versatile choice for diverse network environments.

Who is it recommended for?

Site24x7 is ideal for network administrators, IT managers, and security professionals who require an in-depth understanding of network traffic patterns and anomalies. Its detailed analytics make it suitable for complex networks needing rigorous monitoring and analysis.

Pros:

  • Effective handling of various flow data formats
  • Detailed traffic analysis and anomaly detection
  • User-friendly dashboard for easy data interpretation

Cons:

  • The extensive array of features may require a learning curve for users new to network traffic analysis

Site24x7 Start a 30-day FREE Trial

4. Noction Flow Analyzer

Noction Flow Analyzer Dashboard

Noction Flow Analyzer is a good choice for networks that operate a multi-vendor environment because it is able to communicate with switches and routers exporting Netflow, J-Flow, sFlow, IPFIX, and NetStream including:

  • Netgear
  • Juniper Networks
  • Cisco Systems
  • Hewlett Packard Enterprise
  • Brocade
  • Extreme Networks
  • Dell
  • Arista
  • Huawei, and other

As well as gathering live traffic statistics, the Flow Analyzer offers capacity planning analysis and live network performance monitoring.

Pros:

  • Does an excellent job at creating insights and statistics from network information gathered
  • Best suited for Linux environments
  • Offers Juniper-specific templates

Cons:

  • Site24x7 is a feature dense platform that can take time to fully learn all of its features and customization options

This system installs on Linux, specifically Ubuntu, CentOS, or RHEL. The package forms a Web server and the dashboard is delivered as an intranet website that users access through any standard Web browser. You can get a free trial of Noction Flow Analyzer.

Download: https://nfa.noction.com/register.php

5. nProbe

nprobe ipfix collector mode

nProbe is a great IPFix probe that not only acts as a great Analyzer, but also as a Collector that can collect IPFix flows into a Database (MySql, Fastbit and sqlite). nProbe coupled with nTop works great for processing tons of flow information on larger networks, acting as a pre-processor by capturing packets from network interfaces, computing the flows based on the packets being sent and then sending them off to ntop for further collection, organization and analysis.

Pros:

  • Open source tool, highly customizable
  • Supports multiple flow protocols
  • Great option for Unix/MacOS
  • Free options for education and non-profit organizations

Cons:

  • Has a steep learning curve, especially for non-technical users

nProbe is available for most operating systems including Windows, BSD, Linux and even Mac OSX. nProbe also supports Netflow v4/v5/v9 on top of IPFix .

6. IsarFlow

IsarFlow IPfix Collector and Analyzer

IsarFlow is great little tool that provides network monitoring using IPFix as well as Netflow and SNMP data to collect and analyze network information and usage.

It provides information on about your network that can prove to be valuable in analyzing usage and billing patterns that can be addressed and billed properly.

Pros:

  • Can deploy as a simple appliance
  • Uses IPFIX and SNMP for data collection
  • Can gather performance stats and QoS data

Cons:

  • Better suited for small to medium-sized businesses

Things like Network load, compliance with SLA's, QOS and traffic flow analysis can all be monitored using this tool.

Data can be customized by the network engineer/admin to generate customized reports that are personalized to different criteria and requirements.

7. NetFlow Auditor

Netflow Auditor IPfix software overview

Netflow Auditor, as its name says, is not only a netFlow specific collector and analyzer, but also has the ability to Collect flows from IPFix, sFlow, jFlow, AppFlow and Netstream as well.

It fully supports IPv6 along with Real-time analysis of packets and usage.

This software packages allows admins and engineers a comprehensive look into their network, along with robust features including Intrusion detection (IDS) and Security and information Event Management (SIEM).

This full featured tools allows for count analysis, which helps with analyzing P2P activity, DoS Attacks and Port scanning activities against your network.

It also includes features such has Percentile, Packet Size, Deviation, Bi-directional and many of types of Analysis for a very in-depth look at the network flow information that is coming and going within your network.

Pros:

  • Offers a suite of networking and NetFlow services
  • Supports IPFIX, sFlow, J-Flow, and more
  • Cross-platform – available for both Windows and Linux

Cons:

  • Better as a barebones option

This software runs on Windows and Linux (including Redhat/Centos) according to their website and supports Firefox, Chrome or Internet Explorer supporting SVG/HTML5.

8. Plixer Scrutinizer

Plixer Scrutinizer Ipfix reporting

Plixer Scrutinizer (which has a Freeware version available) is flow analyzer software that has the ability to not only be installed on a system of your choice, but Plixer has also given companies the open to buy a Hardware appliance or a Virtual (VMware) Appliance that are both highly scalable in terms of Flows Per Second and number of devices.

The Hardware appliance can collect over 150,000 flows per second from over 1000 devices and the Virtual appliance can scale up to 1000 devices and collect up to 40,000 flows per second – These are both vastly greater than the 10,000 Flows per second and 100's of devices that the Windows installers allows for.

One of the major benefits of Plixer Scrutinizer is its ability to scale to both hardware and virtual appliances giving it a distributed architecture and allowing for more collectors to be implemented at different locations of your network infrastructure.

Pros:

  • Offers multiple deployment options
  • Designed to support large enterprise networks
  • Offers additional security-related traffic analysis features

Cons:

  • Must reach out to sales for pricing

Scrutinizer not only supports IPFix, but netflow, sFlow, j-Flow and Netstream, making it very robust as many of the other software packages as well.

Grab a Free Download and give it a Test Drive

Make sure to download one of the above IPFix Collectors and Analyzers to get a better feel for what each of them does.

Most of the software mentioned above will have a Free Trial version that can be downloaded and installed on your machine to test out their respective capabilities and features.

Best IPFix Collectors FAQs

How does IPFIX differ from sFlow?

IPFIX and sFlow are similar in that they both export flow information, but IPFIX is an IETF standard and sFlow is a proprietary technology.

Can an IPFIX collector be used with different types of network devices?

Yes, IPFIX collectors can be used with a variety of network devices, including routers, switches, and firewalls.

What are the system requirements for an IPFIX collector?

The system requirements for an IPFIX collector will vary depending on the specific implementation and the amount of flow information being processed.

What is the difference between a standalone IPFIX collector and a network management platform with IPFIX support?

A standalone IPFIX collector is a dedicated component for collecting and processing IPFIX flow information, while a network management platform with IPFIX support provides additional network management and monitoring capabilities.

Can an IPFIX collector be used for real-time monitoring?

Yes, an IPFIX collector can be used for real-time monitoring, allowing administrators to quickly identify and resolve network issues.

What are some popular IPFIX collector solutions?

Popular IPFIX collector solutions include open source tools such as nProbe and commercial solutions such as SolarWinds IPFIX Collector and Plixer Scrutinizer.

Editors Rating

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