Network traffic classification aims to identify categories of traffic or applications of network packets or flows. It is an area that continues to gain attention by researchers due to the necessity of understanding the composition of network traffics, which changes over time, to ensure the network Quality of Service (QoS). Among the different methods of network traffic classification, the payload-based one (DPI) is the most accurate, but presents some drawbacks, such as the inability of classifying encrypted data, the concerns regarding the users’ privacy, the high computational costs, and ambiguity when multiple signatures might match. For that reason, machine learning methods have been proposed to overcome these issues. This work proposes a Multi-Objective Divide and Conquer (MODC) model for network traffic classification, by combining, into a hybrid model, supervised and unsupervised machine learning algorithms, based on the divide and conquer strategy. Additionally, it is a flexible model since it allows network administrators to choose between a set of parameters (pareto-optimal solutions), led by a multi-objective optimization process, by prioritizing flow or byte accuracies. Our method achieved 94.14% of average flow accuracy for the analyzed dataset, outperforming the six DPI-based tools investigated, including two commercial ones, and other machine learning-based methods.
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