Details on packet rates and interpacket arrival times

Carter Bullard via Argus-info argus-info at
Tue Apr 5 12:09:38 EDT 2016

Hey Daniel,
You are absolutely on the right track !!!  

It is possible that you have found errors in the logic, but without the packet trace, it is hard to know what the values are and what they should be.  With only 81 packets in your example, it would be a breeze to go through the calculations by hand to see what is up.

If you can provide a packet capture that generates inconsistencies, I’ll go through it to see where the problem may be.


> On Apr 4, 2016, at 3:31 PM, Daniel Hunter via Argus-info <argus-info at> wrote:
> Carter,
> Thank you for the prompt and interesting answer to my previous question, and hello again! This time I am asking about how exactly the timing fields - Rate, SrcRate, SIntPkt, SrcJitter, and so on - are computed. I have reverse-engineered the precise meaning of these to some extent, but I still struggle with apparent inconsistencies. I have checked that I have only one instance each of argus and ra running.
> I have checked that 'Rate' is the average number of packets (either kind) per second within the duration of the record, NOT including the last packet. In other words:
>    Rate = (# packets - 1)/Dur
> This is as expected. For the SrcRate of any particular record, we would have
>    SrcRate = (# src packets - 1)/(time of last src packet - time of first src packet)
> The equation for DstRate is similar, of course. I do not have the time between the last and first src/dst packets, so I cannot check these exactly, but using Dur instead gives an approximate confirmation.
> The average interpacket arrival times must be computed differently, since in general SrcRate != 1/SIntPkt (similarly for Dst). The best explanation I have from studying Ra's output is that the average src/dst interpacket arrival times includes the time between the last src/dst packet of the previous record and the first of the current record.
> For example, 
> I have mostly confirmed this must be the case (an easy way to motivate this conclusion is to note that SIntPkt*(SrcPkts-1) is almost always greater than the record duration). To make sure we're on the same page, here's an example:
> Say the last source packet from the previous record of a flow arrived at time 0. At time 30s, another packet arrives (starting a new record), followed by more packets at 35, 40, and 50. So the new record has: SrcPkts = 4, Dur = 20s.
> The source rate would be (4-1)/20 = 0.15 Hz. The average interpacket arrival time, however, would include the 30 second gap after the previous record's last packet:
> SIntPkt = (30 + 5 + 5 + 10)/(4 + 1 - 1) = 12.5s
> The Src/Dst Jitter also seem to use this "inter-record" gap of time.
> I have experimented enough to be convinced that this is the intended behavior, but I do see inconsistencies occasionally. Here is some real data, the first four records from a SSH session (I have converted SIntPkt to seconds for consistency):
>         Dur        SrcPkts      SrcRate   SIntPkt      IntFlow
> 1  2.197997       55       24.567822  0.043098        NaN
> 2  4.012610        9          1.993715  1.000506    4.991947
> 3  2.868474       13         4.183409  0.410036    2.051961
> 4  0.356273        4          8.420509  0.118758  31.897254
> 'IntFlow' is the time between the end of the previous record from a session and the start of the current flow, which I have calculated manually by grouping records by Seq, SrcAddr, SPort, DstAddr, DPort, and Proto. This is NaN for the 1st record because there was no previous record for this session.
> According to what I've claimed above, things make sense for the second record. The average time between packets, including the last packet of the previous flow, is
>    (4.991947 + 4.012610)/(9+1-1) = 1.000506 sec.
> However, this does not work for the other three records. Note that for the first record,
>    0.043098 * (55-1) = 2.327292 > 2.197997,
> which means that there is not enough time within the duration for all 55 source packets to arrive!
> You can say the same thing about the third record (whether or not you include the last packet from the second):
>    0.410036 * (13-1) = 4.920432 > 2.868474
>    0.410036 * (14-1) = 5.330468 > 2.868474 + 2.051961
> Strangely, though, for the third record: SIntPkt = (Dur + IntFlow)/(SrcPkts - 1), which seems like a counting error.
> Sorry if my examples are superfluous. Ultimately, I just want to know the precise details of how Rate, SrcRate, DstRate, SIntPkt, DIntPkt, SrcJitter, and DstJitter are computed.
> Thanks very much!!
> Best,
> Daniel R. Hunter

-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <>

More information about the argus mailing list