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This article is about a network technology. For the animal, see Lobster


  • To build an advanced pilot European Internet traffic monitoring infrastructure based on passive network monitoring sensors.
  • To develop novel performance and security monitoring applications, which have been enabled by the availability of the passive network monitoring infrastructure, and has realised the appropriate data anonymisation tools for prohibiting unauthorised access or tampering of the original traffic data.


More than 25 LOBSTER sensors have been deployed across Europe by several organisations. Using the monitoring applications developed within the project, researchers and administrators are able to monitor the Internet traffic for gaining a better understanding of its performance, as well as to spot security incidents.


LOBSTER is based on passive network traffic monitoring. Instead of collecting flow-level traffic summaries or actively probing the network, passive network monitoring records all IP packets (both headers and payloads) that flow through the monitored link. This enables passive monitoring methods to record complete information about the actual traffic of the network, which allows for tackling monitoring problems more accurately compared to methods based on flow-level statistics or active monitoring.

  • The passive monitoring applications running on the sensors have been developed on top of MAPI (Monitoring Application Programming Interface), an expressive programming interface for building network monitoring applications, which has been developed in the context of the SCAMPI and LOBSTER projects.
  • MAPI enables application programmers to express complex monitoring needs, choose only the amount of information they are interested in, and therefore balance the monitoring overhead with the amount of the received information. Furthermore, MAPI gives the ability for building remote and distributed passive network monitoring applications that can receive monitoring data from multiple remote monitoring sensors.

Developed applications[edit]

The LOBSTER sensors operated by the various organisations monitor the network traffic using different measurement applications. All applications have been developed within the LOBSTER project using MAPI, according to the needs of each organisation.

  • APPMON (Appmon is an application for Accurate Per-Application Network Traffic Classification)
  • Stager (Stager is a system for aggregating and presenting network statistics )
  • ABW (ABW is an application written on top of LOBSTER DiMAPI (Distributed Monitoring Application Interface) and tracklib library).