Thursday, October 15, 2009

OpenDPI: Open Source Deep Packet Inspection Engine

Via -

Deep packet inspection (DPI) hardware can identify an astonishing array of protocols passing across the Internet—up to and including protocols that are rare even to us in the Orbiting HQ (Gadu-Gadu? Manolito? Feidian?). But if you've ever wondered just how this can be done, and done at wire speed, wonder no more: Europe's leading DPI vendor has open-sourced a version of its traffic detection engine. is the new home for ipoque's open source project; anyone interested can take a look at the code or contribute patches. The goal in this case, though, isn't so much about crowdsourcing product development but about easing consumer fears about DPI technology.

Klaus Mochalski, CEO of ipoque, explains that "transparency was important for us from the beginning. The lack of transparency from the vendors' side is widespread in the DPI business. Our thoughts are a bit different and that is why we decided to push this project."

The OpenDPI engine, released under the LGPL license, differs from ipoque's commercial scanning engine in its high-priced DPI hardware. The open-source version is much slower and (more importantly) doesn't reveal ipoque's methods for identifying encrypted transmissions. DPI vendors all claim high levels of success at identifying such traffic based on the flow patterns and handshake signatures common to protocols like BitTorrent and Skype, even if they cannot crack the encryption and examine the content of those transmissions.

The OpenDPI engine will identify a huge list of non-encrypted protocols, however:
  • P2P File Sharing: BitTorrent, eDonkey , KaZaa/Fasttrack, Gnutella, WinMX, DirectConnect, AppleJuice, Soulseek, XDCC, Filetopia, Manolito, iMesh, Pando
  • Voice over IP: SIP, IAX, RTP
  • Instant Messaging: Yahoo, Oscar, IRC, unencrypted Jabber, Gadu!Gadu, MSN
  • Streaming Protocols: ORB, RTSP, Flash, MMS, MPEG, Quicktime, Joost, WindowsMedia, RealMedia, TVAnts, SOPCast, TVUPlayer, PPStream, PPLive, QQLive, Zattoo, VeohTV, AVI, Feidian, Ececast, Kontiki, Move, RTSP, SCTP, SHOUTcast
  • Tunnel Protocols: IPsec,GRE, SSL, SSH, IP in IP
  • Standard Protocols: HTTP, Direct download links (1-click file hosters), POP, SMTP, IMAP, FTP, BGP, DHCP, DNS, EGP, ICMP, IGMP, MySQL, NFS, NTP, OSPF, pcAnywhere, PostgresSQL, RDP, SMB, SNMP, SSDP, STUN, Telnet, Usenet, VNC, IPP, MDNS, NETBIOS, XDMCP, RADIUS, SYSLOG, LDAP
  • Gaming Protocols: World of Warcraft, Half-Life, Steam, Xbox, Quake, Second Life

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