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Traditionally, tools for monitoring and measuring aggregate network traffic are either based on tcpdump or are implemented in hardware. While the software-based tcpdump is portable and only requires a typical PC with network interface card to run, it does not scale beyond gigabit-per-second (Gb/s) speeds. Furthermore, the timestamp granularity is only on the order of milliseconds. At the other end of the spectrum, hardware-based monitors scale to Gb/s speeds with very fine granularity timestamps, but at exorbitant cost. There is a need for an inexpensive monitoring tool with fine granularity timestamps which scales beyond gigabit speeds.

TICKET, which stands for Traffic Information Collection Kernel with Exact Timing, is an open-source software-based monitoring tool that is designed to scale to at least 8 Gb/s [1]. TICKET uses the CPU cycle counter available on on contemporary microprocessors for timestamps; thereby providing (sub-) nanosecond granularity, rather than millisecond granularity of other software-based solutions. Furthermore, it runs on typical PCs with a network interface card.


[1] TICKET scales in step with the bus speed of the network interface cards.

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