NTARC: A Data Model for the Systematic Review of Network Traffic Analysis Research


The increased interest in secure and reliable communications has turned the analysis of network traffic data into a predominant topic. A high number of research papers propose methods to classify traffic, detect anomalies, or identify attacks. Although the goals and methodologies are commonly similar, we lack initiatives to categorize the data, methods, and findings systematically. In this paper, we present Network Traffic Analysis Research Curation (NTARC), a data model to store key information about network traffic analysis research. We additionally use NTARC to perform a critical review of the field of research conducted in the last two decades. The collection of descriptive research summaries enables the easy retrieval of relevant information and a better reuse of past studies by the application of quantitative analysis. Among others benefits, it enables the critical review of methodologies, the detection of common flaws, the obtaining of baselines, and the consolidation of best practices. Furthermore, it provides a basis to achieve reproducibility, a key requirement that has long been undervalued in the area of traffic analysis. Thus, besides reading hard copies of papers, with NTARC, researchers can make use of a digital environment that facilitates queries and reviews over a comprehensive field corpus.

MDPI Applied Sciences