Todays computer networks are continuously expanding both in size and capacity to accommodate the demands of the traffic they are designed to handle. Depending on the needs of the network operator, different aspects of this traffic needs to be measured and analyzed. Processing the full amount of data on the network would be a daunting task, and to avoid this only certain statistics describing the individual packets are collected. This data is then aggregated into "flows", based on criteria from the network operator.IPFIX is a recent IETF effort to standardize a protocol for exporting such flows to a central node for analyzation. But to effectively utilize a system implementing this protocol, one needs to know the impact of the protocol itself on the underlying network and consequently the traffic that flows through it.
This document will explore the performance, capabilities and limitations of the IPFIX protocol. A packet-capture system utilizing the IPFIX protocol for flow export, will be set up in a controlled environment, and traffic will be generated in a predictable manner. Measurements indicate IPFIX to be a fairly flexible protocol for exporting various traffic characteristics, but that it also has scalability issues when deployed in larger, high-capacity networks.