NetFlow is a network protocol that collects IP network traffic data entering or leaving an interface. Cisco Systems Inc. developed (and still owns) the original NetFlow protocol. However, the name is now used as a general term for all flow records and datagrams.

As a result, NetFlow derivatives and variants usually adhere to the ‘xFlow’ naming pattern. NetFlow gathers data such as the source and destination IP address, transferred packets and bytes, the source and destination port, and the timing of the transmission.

Netflow Variants