What is deep packet inspection (DPI)?

What is deep packet inspection (DPI)?

If you are browsing any website …

If you are sending an email …

If you are watching a movie on Netflix …

If you are making a Skype call or a Zoom meeting …

It’s all about packets. Each packet of digital information is transmitted across the network in a piece of structured data with a specific format. And this specifically formatted piece of structured data is called a packet.

So what is deep packet inspection?

The smallest amount of data sent over a network is called a packet. During deep packet inspection, a system examines each of these small pieces. And depending on the results, the packet can be forwarded, blocked or redirected.

In deep packet inspection (DPI), these packets are basically analyzed in depth. Most mid- to enterprise-level companies or organizations, ISPs, media companies, etc., prefer tools such as redborder with rigorous DPI to add an additional layer to their cybersecurity infrastructure.

Packet sniffing, which is a method of examining the contents of data packets as they pass through a checkpoint in the network, can also be practiced.

With normal types of stateful packet inspection, the device only checks the information in the packet header, such as the destination Internet Protocol (IP) address, source IP address and port number, etc.

DPI examines a wider range of metadata and data connected with each packet that your DPI device interacts with. In this meaning of DPI, the inspection process includes examining both the header and the data carried by the packet (the payload). In addition to the inspection capabilities of regular packet detection technologies, DPI can find hidden threats within the data stream, such as data exfiltration attempts, content policy violations, malware and more.

The whole premise of DPI is that: Patterns reveals useful information.

By studying metadata such as headers using deep packet inspection (DPI), network specialists can learn: how best to optimize their servers to reduce overload, detect and deter hackers, combat malware and obtain intimate details about user behavior, etc.


Deep packet inspection is a fundamental cornerstone of enterprise network security. As a network defender, it aims to track all traffic entering and leaving the network, as it is understandably useful in preventing and detecting intrusions. Detecting and blocking the IP of malicious traffic is particularly effective in defending against buffer overflow and DDoS attacks.

Most ISPs also collect a large amount of this metadata, as they are legally required to do so. Whenever any law enforcement agency needs this data, they can access it from ISPs.

DPI is not the only line of defense, but for many organizations, scanning and analyzing packets is the first line of defense.

Currently, most contemporary IoT devices lack standard firmware and security standards to prevent these devices from becoming part of a zombie botnet. DPI also protects ISPs and their networks from IoT-based DDoS attacks and helps you learn more about critical IoT security flaws.

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