PRTG Manual: IPFIX Sensor

The IPFIX sensor receives traffic data from an Internet Protocol Flow Information Export (IPFIX) compatible device and shows traffic by type. Make sure that your device supports IPFIX if you want to use this sensor. Several filter options are available to divide traffic into different channels.

The sensor can show the following traffic types in kbit per second:

  • Chat (Internet Relay Chat (IRC), AOL Instant Messenger (AIM))
  • Citrix
  • File Transfer Protocol (FTP)/Peer-to-Peer (P2P) (file transfer)
  • Infrastructure (network services: Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP), Domain Name System (DNS), Ident, Internet Control Message Protocol (ICMP), Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP))
  • Mail (mail traffic: Internet Message Access Protocol (IMAP), Post Office Protocol version 3 (POP3), Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP))
  • NetBIOS
  • Remote control (Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP), Secure Shell (SSH), Telnet, Virtual Network Computing (VNC))
  • WWW (web traffic: HTTP, HTTPS)
  • Total traffic
  • Other protocols (other User Datagram Protocol (UDP) and Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) traffic)

i_round_blueWhich channels the sensor actually shows might depend on the monitored device and the sensor setup.

IPFIX Sensor

IPFIX Sensor

Sensor in Other Languages

  • Dutch: IPFIX
  • French: IPFIX
  • German: IPFIX
  • Japanese: IPFIX
  • Portuguese: IPFIX
  • Russian: IPFIX
  • Simplified Chinese: IPFIX
  • Spanish: IPFIX

Remarks

  • This sensor can have a high impact on the performance of your monitoring system. Use it with care. We recommend that you use no more than 50 sensors of this sensor type on each probe.
  • You have to enable IPFIX export on the device for this sensor to work. The device must send the flow data stream to the IP address of the probe system.
  • This sensor does not officially support more than 50 channels. Depending on the data used with this sensor, you might exceed the maximum number of supported channels. In this case, PRTG tries to display all channels. Be aware, however, that you experience limited usability and performance.
  • You cannot use this sensor in cluster mode. You can only set it up on a local probe or a remote probe but not on a cluster probe.
  • This sensor has a very high performance impact.

i_podYou cannot add this sensor to the hosted probe of a PRTG hosted by Paessler instance. If you want to use this sensor, add it to a remote probe device.

Add Sensor

The Add Sensor dialog appears when you manually add a new sensor to a device. It only shows the setting fields that are required for creating the sensor. Therefore, you do not see all setting fields in this dialog. You can change (nearly) all settings in the sensor's Settings tab later.

Basic Sensor Settings

Click the Settings tab of a sensor to change its settings.

i_round_blueUsually, a sensor connects to the IP Address or DNS Name of the parent device on which you created the sensor. See the device settings for details. For some sensors, you can explicitly define the monitoring target in the sensor settings. See below for details on available settings.

Setting

Description

Sensor Name

Enter a meaningful name to identify the sensor. By default, PRTG shows this name in the device tree, as well as in alarms, logs, notifications, reports, maps, libraries, and tickets.

Parent Tags

Shows tags that the sensor inherits from its parent device, parent group, and parent probe. This setting is shown for your information only and cannot be changed here.

Tags

Enter one or more tags. Confirm each tag with the Spacebar key, a comma, or the Enter key. You can use tags to group objects and use tag-filtered views later on. Tags are not case-sensitive. Tags are automatically inherited.

i_round_blueIt is not possible to enter tags with a leading plus (+) or minus (-) sign, nor tags with parentheses (()) or angle brackets (<>).

The sensor has the following default tags that are automatically predefined in the sensor's settings when you add the sensor:

  • bandwidthsensor
  • netflowsensor

Priority

Select a priority for the sensor. This setting determines the position of the sensor in lists. The highest priority is at the top of a list. Choose from the lowest priority (i_priority_1) to the highest priority (i_priority_5).

IPFIX Specific Settings

Setting

Description

Receive IPFIX Packets on UDP Port

Enter the UDP port number on which PRTG receives the flow packets. It must match the UDP port number that you configured in the IPFIX export options of your hardware router device. Enter an integer value.

Sender IP

Enter the IP address of the sending device that you want to receive the IPFIX data from. Enter an IP address to only receive data from a specific device or leave the field empty to receive data from any device on the specified port.

Receive IPFIX Packets on IP

Select the IP address(es) on which PRTG listens to IPFIX packets. The list of IP addresses shown here is specific to your setup. To select an IP address, add a check mark in front of the respective line. You can also select all items or cancel the selection by using the check box in the table header. The IP address that you select here must match the IP address that you configured in the IPFIX export options of your hardware router device.

Active Flow Timeout (Minutes)

Enter a time span in minutes after which new flow data must be received. If the timeout is reached and no new data was received during this time, the sensor changes to an Unknown status. Enter an integer value.

We recommend that you set the timeout one minute longer than the respective timeout configured in your hardware router device. The maximum timeout is 60 minutes.

i_round_redIf you set this value too low, flow information might be lost.

i_square_cyanFor more details, see the Knowledge Base: What is the Active Flow Timeout in Flow sensors?

Sampling Mode

Define if you want to use the sampling mode:

  • Off: Use the standard flow.
  • On: Use the sampling mode and specify the sampling rate below.

i_round_redThis setting must match the setting in the xFlow exporter.

Sampling Rate

This setting is only visible when sampling mode is On above. Enter a number that matches the sampling rate in your exporter device. If the number is different, monitoring results will be incorrect. Enter an integer value.

Log Stream Data to Disk (for Debugging)

Define if you want the probe to write a logfile of the stream and packet data to the \StreamLog subfolder of the PRTG data directory:

  • None (recommended): Do not write additional logfiles. We recommended that you select this for normal use cases.
  • Only for the 'Other' channel: Only write logfiles of data that is not otherwise filtered and therefore accounted to the default Other channel.
  • All stream data: Write logfiles for all data received.

i_round_redUse with caution. When enabled, huge data files can be created. We recommend that you use this for a short time and for debugging purposes only.

Channel Configuration

Setting

Description

Channel Selection

Define the categories the sensor accounts the traffic to:

  • Web: Internet web traffic.
  • File Transfer: Traffic from FTP.
  • Mail: Internet mail traffic.
  • Chat: Traffic from chat and instant messaging.
  • Remote Control: Traffic from remote control applications, such as RDP, SSH, Telnet, and VNC.
  • Infrastructure: Traffic from network services, such as DHCP, DNS, Ident, ICMP, and SNMP.
  • NetBIOS: Traffic from NetBIOS communication.
  • Citrix: Traffic from Citrix applications.
  • Other Protocols: Traffic from various other protocols via UDP and TCP.

For each traffic group, you can select how many channels are used for each group, that is, how detailed the sensor divides the traffic. For each group, choose from:

  • No (i_channel_selection_no): Do not account traffic of this group in its own channel. All traffic of this group is accounted to the default channel named Other.
  • Yes (i_channel_selection_yes): Count all traffic of this group and summarize it into one channel.
  • Detail (i_channel_selection_detail): Count all traffic of this group and further divide it into different channels. The traffic appears in several channels as shown in the Content column.
    i_round_redExtensive use of this option can cause load problems on the probe system. We recommend that you set specific, well-chosen filters for the data you really want to analyze.

i_square_cyanYou can change the default configuration for groups and channels. For details, see the Knowledge Base: How can I change the default groups and channels for xFlow and Packet Sniffer sensors?

Filtering

i_square_cyanFor detailed information, see section Filter Rules.

Setting

Description

Include Filter

Define if you want to filter any traffic. If you leave this field empty, all traffic is included. To include specific traffic only, define filters using a special syntax.

Exclude Filter

First, the filters defined in the Include Filter field are considered. From this subset, you can explicitly exclude traffic, using the same syntax.

Sensor Display

Setting

Description

Primary Channel

Select a channel from the list to define it as the primary channel. In the device tree, the last value of the primary channel is always displayed below the sensor's name. The available options depend on what channels are available for this sensor.

i_round_blueYou can set a different primary channel later by clicking b_channel_primary below a channel gauge on the sensor's Overview tab.

Graph Type

Define how different channels are shown for this sensor:

  • Show channels independently (default): Show a graph for each channel.
  • Stack channels on top of each other: Stack channels on top of each other to create a multi-channel graph. This generates a graph that visualizes the different components of your total traffic.
    i_round_redYou cannot use this option in combination with manual Vertical Axis Scaling (available in the channel settings).

Stack Unit

This setting is only visible if you enable Stack channels on top of each other as Graph Type. Select a unit from the list. All channels with this unit are stacked on top of each other. By default, you cannot exclude single channels from stacking if they use the selected unit. However, there is an advanced procedure to do so.

Primary Toplist

Setting

Description

Primary Toplist

Define which Toplist is your primary Toplist:

  • Top Talkers
  • Top Connections
  • Top Protocols
  • [Any custom Toplists you have added]

i_round_blueThe primary Toplist is shown in maps when adding a Toplist object.

Inherited Settings

By default, all of the following settings are inherited from objects that are higher in the hierarchy. You should change them centrally in the root group settings if necessary. To change a setting for this object only, click b_inherited_enabled under the corresponding setting name to disable the inheritance. You then see the options described below.

i_square_cyanFor more information, see section Inheritance of Settings.

Scanning Interval

Click b_inherited_enabled to interrupt the inheritance.

Setting

Description

Scanning Interval

Select a scanning interval from the dropdown list. The scanning interval determines the amount of time that the sensor waits between two scans. Choose from:

  • 30 seconds
  • 60 seconds
  • 5 minutes
  • 10 minutes
  • 15 minutes
  • 30 minutes
  • 1 hour
  • 4 hours
  • 6 hours
  • 12 hours
  • 1 day

i_round_blueYou can change the available intervals in the system administration on PRTG on premises installations.

If a Sensor Query Fails

Select the number of scanning intervals that the sensor has time to reach and to check a device again if a sensor query fails. Depending on the option that you select, the sensor can try to reach and to check a device again several times before the sensor shows the Down status. This can avoid false alarms if the monitored device only has temporary issues. For previous scanning intervals with failed requests, the sensor shows the Warning status. Choose from:

  • Set sensor to down immediately: Set the sensor to the Down status immediately after the first request fails.
  • Set sensor to warning for 1 interval, then set to down (recommended): Set the sensor to the Warning status after the first request fails. If the second request also fails, the sensor shows the Down status.
  • Set sensor to warning for 2 intervals, then set to down: Set the sensor to the Down status only after the third request fails.
  • Set sensor to warning for 3 intervals, then set to down: Set the sensor to the Down status only after the fourth request fails.
  • Set sensor to warning for 4 intervals, then set to down: Set the sensor to the Down status only after the fifth request fails.
  • Set sensor to warning for 5 intervals, then set to down: Set the sensor to the Down status only after the sixth request fails.

i_round_blueSensors that monitor via Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI) always wait at least one scanning interval before they show the Down status. It is not possible to immediately set a WMI sensor to the Down status, so the first option does not apply to these sensors. All other options can apply.

i_round_blueIf you define error limits for a sensor's channels, the sensor immediately shows the Down status. None of the interval options apply.

i_round_blueIf a channel uses lookup values, the sensor immediately shows the Down status. None of the interval options apply.

Schedules, Dependencies, and Maintenance Window

i_round_blueYou cannot interrupt the inheritance for schedules, dependencies, and maintenance windows. The corresponding settings from the parent objects are always active. However, you can define additional schedules, dependencies, and maintenance windows. They are active at the same time as the parent objects' settings.

Setting

Description

Schedule

Select a schedule from the list. You can use schedules to monitor during a certain time span (days or hours) every week. Choose from:

  • None
  • Saturdays
  • Sundays
  • Weekdays
  • Weekdays Eight-To-Eight (08:00 - 20:00)
  • Weekdays Nights (17:00 - 09:00)
  • Weekdays Nights (20:00 - 08:00)
  • Weekdays Nine-To-Five (09:00 - 17:00)
  • Weekends

i_square_cyanYou can create schedules, edit schedules, or pause monitoring for a specific time span. For more information, see section Schedules.

Maintenance Window

Select if you want to set up a one-time maintenance window. During a maintenance window, monitoring stops for the selected object and all child objects. They show the Paused status instead. Choose between:

  • Not set (monitor continuously): Do not set up a one-time maintenance window. Monitoring is always active.
  • Set up a one-time maintenance window: Set up a one-time maintenance window and pause monitoring. You can define a time span for a the pause below.

i_round_blueTo terminate an active maintenance window before the defined end date, change the time entry in Maintenance Ends to a date in the past.

Maintenance Begins

This setting is only visible if you enable Set up a one-time maintenance window above. Use the date time picker to enter the start date and time of the one-time maintenance window.

Maintenance Ends

This setting is only visible if you enable Set up a one-time maintenance window above. Use the date time picker to enter the end date and time of the one-time maintenance window.

Dependency Type

Select a dependency type. You can use dependencies to pause monitoring for an object depending on the status of a different object. You can choose from:

  • Use parent: Use the dependency type of the parent object.
  • Select a sensor: Use the dependency type of the parent object. Additionally, pause the current object if a specific sensor is in the Down status or in the Paused status because of another dependency.
  • Master sensor for parent: Make this sensor the master object for its parent device. The sensor influences the behavior of its parent device: If the sensor is in the Down status, the device is paused. For example, it is a good idea to make a Ping sensor the master object for its parent device to pause monitoring for all other sensors on the device in case the device cannot even be pinged. Additionally, the sensor is paused if the parent group is paused by another dependency.

i_round_blueTo test your dependencies, select Simulate Error Status from the context menu of an object that other objects depend on. A few seconds later, all dependent objects are paused. You can check all dependencies under Devices | Dependencies in the main menu bar.

Dependency

This setting is only visible if you enable Select a sensor above. Click b_search_light and use the object selector to select a sensor on which the current object will depend.

Dependency Delay (Sec.)

This setting is only visible if you enable Select a sensor above. Define a time span in seconds for the dependency delay.

After the master sensor for this dependency returns to the Up status, PRTG additionally delays the monitoring of the dependent objects by the time span you define. This can prevent false alarms, for example, after a server restart or to give systems more time for all services to start. Enter an integer value.

i_round_redThis setting is not available if you set this sensor to Use parent or to be the Master sensor for parent. In this case, define delays in the parent device settings or in its parent group settings.

Access Rights

Click b_inherited_enabled to interrupt the inheritance.

Setting

Description

User Group Access

Define the user groups that have access to the sensor. You see a table with user groups and group access rights. The table contains all user groups in your setup. For each user group, you can choose from the following group access rights:

  • Inherited: Inherit the access rights settings of the parent object.
  • No access: Users in this user group cannot see or edit the sensor. The sensor neither shows up in lists nor in the device tree.
  • Read access: Users in this group can see the sensor and view its monitoring results. They cannot edit any settings.
  • Write access: Users in this group can see the sensor, view its monitoring results, and edit its settings. They cannot edit its access rights settings.
  • Full access: Users in this group can see the sensor, view its monitoring results, edit its settings, and edit its access rights settings.

i_square_cyanFor more details on access rights, see section Access Rights Management.

Channel Unit Configuration

Click b_inherited_enabled to interrupt the inheritance.

Setting

Description

Channel Unit Types

For each type of channel, select the unit in which PRTG displays the data. If you define this setting on probe, group, or device level, these settings can be inherited to all sensors underneath. You can set units for the following channel types (if available):

  • Bandwidth
  • Memory
  • Disk
  • File
  • Custom

i_round_blueCustom channel types are only available on sensor level.

Toplists

For all xFlow (NetFlow, jFlow, sFlow, IPFIX) and Packet Sniffer sensors, Toplists are available on the sensor's Overview tab. Using Toplists, you can review traffic data for small time periods in great detail.

i_square_cyanFor more information, see section Toplists.

Filter Rules

The following filter rules apply to all xFlow (NetFlow, jFlow, sFlow, IPFIX) and Packet Sniffer sensors.

i_square_cyanFor more information, see section Filter Rules for xFlow, IPFIX, and Packet Sniffer Sensors.

Field

Possible Filter Values

IP

IP address or Domain Name System (DNS) name

Port

Any number

SourceIP

IP address or Domain Name System (DNS) name

SourcePort

Any number

DestinationIP

IP address or Domain Name System (DNS) name

DestinationPort

Any number

Protocol

Transmission Control Protocol (TCP), User Datagram Protocol (UDP), Internet Control Message Protocol (ICMP), Open Shortest Path First (OSPF), any number

ToS

Type of Service (ToS): any number

DSCP

Differentiated Services Code Point (DSCP): any number

The following filter rules apply to IPFIX sensors only.

Field

Possible Filter Values

Interface

Any number

ASI

Any number

InboundInterface

Any number

OutboundInterface

Any number

SenderIP

IP of the sending device. Use this if you have several devices that send flow data on the same port, and you want to divide the traffic of each device into a different channel.

Possible values: IP address or DNS name

SourceASI

Any number

DestinationASI

Any number

MAC

Physical address

SourceMAC

Physical address

DestinationMAC

Physical address

Mask

Mask values represent subnet masks in the form of a single number (number of contiguous bits).

DestinationMask

Mask values represent subnet masks in the form of a single number (number of contiguous bits).

NextHop

IP address or Domain Name System (DNS) name

VLAN

VLAN values represent a VLAN identifier (any number)

SourceVLAN

VLAN values represent a VLAN identifier (any number)

DestinationVLAN

VLAN values represent a VLAN identifier (any number)

More

i_square_bluePRTG MANUAL

 

i_square_blueKNOWLEDGE BASE

How can I change the default groups and channels for xFlow and Packet Sniffer sensors?

What is the Active Flow Timeout in Flow sensors?

 

i_toolsPAESSLER TOOLS

NetFlow Tester: Testing NetFlow export configurations

Sensor Settings Overview

For more information about sensor settings, see the following sections: