TWAMP Made Easy: Introduction

TWAMP is the short name for Two-Way Active Measurement Protocol, it is a protocol used for measuring the performance of network devices and links in real-time. Eventually, it is an important tool for network administrators to ensure that their network infrastructure is running smoothly and help them to take decisions and achieve the desired SLA. Following, we’ll explore everything you need to know about TWAMP and its lightweight version, TWAMP-Light.

What is TWAMP?

TWAMP is a protocol that allows network administrators to measure the performance of their network infrastructure using active traffic. Active traffic refers to data packets that are sent from one point to another and the performance is measured in real-time. The protocol is designed to generate active traffic between two devices in the network, typically a router and a reflector. The router sends the traffic, and the reflector receives it, measures the performance, and sends the results back to the router. The results are then analyzed to determine the performance of the network.TWAMP


TWAMP is defined in RFC 5357, which was published in October 2008. This RFC specifies the format of TWAMP control and test packets, as well as the procedures for initiating and terminating TWAMP sessions. TWAMP uses a client-server model, where the TWAMP control protocol is used to set up and manage TWAMP sessions, and the TWAMP test protocol is used to exchange test packets between the TWAMP client and server.

What is TWAMP-Light?

TWAMP-Light is a lightweight version of TWAMP. It is designed to provide similar functionality as TWAMP, but with a smaller footprint, therefore, TWAMP-Light is ideal for devices with limited memory and processing capabilities, such as small routers and switches.

Likwise TWAMP, TWAMP-Light uses a similar client/server model, but with a simplified message exchange, additionally, It also uses UDP as a transport protocol to reduce the overhead of the protocol.TWAMP-LightAltogether, I don’t know why would someone decide to go with heavy version of TWAMP instead of the light version.

Comparison between TWAMP and TWAMP-Light:

Protocol overheadHighLow
Memory footprintLargeSmall
Processing powerHighLow
Transport protocolTCPUDP


One of the advantages of TWAMP is that it can be used with network controllers to reroute traffic based on the measurements and the Service Level Agreement (SLA). Basically, Network controllers use SLAs to ensure that the network is meeting the performance requirements set by the organization. Therefore, by using TWAMP to measure the performance of the network in real-time, network controllers can make decisions about how to route traffic to ensure that SLAs are met.

For example, if a particular link in the network is experiencing high packet loss or latency measures are high, the network controller can use the measurements from TWAMP-Light to reroute traffic through an alternate path. This helps to ensure that the SLA is met and that end-users are not affected by the performance issues on the network.

Date Title Duration
June 28, 2020 11:32 am RL Coffee Break #5 – Network testing using TWAMP & Beyond

Previously -3 years ago- we had a discussion about TWAMP and its importance in one of our RLCB episodes, where we were trying to discover the new protocol and how can it be useful to network administrators, therefore, I would recommend to listen to this old podcast whenever possible, it can be useful.