IPDR vs. DPI: What's the Difference?

This FAQ is designed to equip network professionals with at a glance information to understand IPDR, DPI, and the pros/cons with both data collection approaches.

Updated on March 21, 2022


Let's understand the similarities and differences between Internet Protocol Detail Record (IPDR) and Deep Packet Inspection (DPI) before you make an investment. Refer to the article below to see a side-by-side comparison of these two popular data collection methods:


What is Internet Protocol Detail Report (IPDR)?

  • Software-based technology used to collect and record network data traffic statistics from a CMTS, OLT, or OLT EMS
  • Contains information about every flow inside a CMTS, OLT, or OLT EMS
  • Provides details of consumption usage about subscriber devices on a network

What is Deep Packet Inspection (DPI)?

  • Application-based data collection method that sits between the subscriber and the Internet
  • Scans all network traffic and analyzes unencrypted data within a packet to create statistics based on specific parameters

What is the purpose of IPDR and DPI?

IPDR provides network intelligence for:

  • Service diagnostics
  • Quota and top-ups
  • Bandwidth monitoring
  • Usage-based pricing models, subscriber metering
  • Capacity forecasting, network planning
  • Congestion management
  • What-if-analysis
  • Marketing and sales campaigns
  • Pre-paid broadband
  • Policy management

DPI provides network intelligence for:

  • Policy enforcement and network intelligence
  • Throttling certain types of network traffic to lower speeds (such as P2P file sharing)

How does IPDR work?

  • CMTS is instructed to define, collect, encode, transport, and exchange cable modem-based usage records.  Depending on the vendor, an OLT or OLT EMS may also generate IPDR data
  • Statistics are periodically and asynchronously reported to a central application called a collector, where data is filtered and analyzed for other departments to digest

How does DPI work?

  • Allows the network to discover what applications use the most bandwidth and depending on set policies limits bandwidth usage
  • Gains intelligence by examining every data packet as it passes an inspection point
  • Flows are created internally and traffic policies applied and data can be later accessed through an application

What are the benefits of IPDR?

  • Application-agnostic
  • Essential service consumption data about every device on a network
  • Cost-effective
  • Industry-standard, integrated into the DOCSIS protocol
  • Highlights network topology when cross-referenced with SNMP data
  • Little additional hardware is required for implementation

What are the benefits of DPI?

  • Provides a high level of detail about subscriber Internet usage
  • Can be used for policy enforcement and to throttle certain traffic
  • Can be used for network forensics and lawful intercepts

What are the drawbacks of IPDR?

  • There are some differences in interpretation of the standard between CMTS and OLT vendors
  • The level of details exposed does not show what content a subscriber is viewing, only what type of content.
  • IPDR is device-centric and not subscriber centric

What are the drawbacks of DPI?

  • Expensive and complex
  • Generally requires additional hardware integration
  • The level of details exposed is seen as too intrusive in the user community
  • Can burden the CMTS and risk affecting regular services

Incognito Monetization and Analytics Platform

Learn more about Incognito's Monetization and Analytics Platform and how it harnesses the power of IPDR with cable and fiber. Make your broadband data meaningful by gaining deeper insights to manage service delivery, increase revenues, and keep customers engaged.

Visit the Solutions Page