Flow mode inspection (default mode)
When a firewall policy’s inspection mode is set to flow, traffic flowing through the policy will not be buffered by the FortiGate. Unlike proxy mode, the content payload passing through the policy will be inspected on a packet by packet basis with the very last packet held by the FortiGate until the scan returns a verdict. If a violation is detected in the traffic, a reset packet is issued to the receiver, which terminates the connection, and prevents the payload from being sent successfully.
Because of this method, flow mode inspection cannot be as thorough as proxy mode inspection and will have some feature limitations. For example, flow mode inspection determines a file’s size by identifying the file size information in the protocol exchange. If a file’s size is not present in the protocol exchange, the file’s size cannot be identified. The flow-based policy will automatically block or pass the file (based on the configuration) despite the file meeting the file size requirements.
The objective of flow-based policy is to optimize performance and increase throughput. Although it is not as thorough as a proxy-based policy, flow mode inspection is still very reliable.
It is recommended that flow inspection is applied to policies that prioritize traffic throughput, such as allowing connections to be made towards a streaming or file server.
You have an application server which accepts connections from users for the daily quiz show app, HQ. Each HQ session sees 500,000+ participants, and speed is very important because participants have less than 10 seconds to answer the quiz show questions.
In this scenario, a flow inspection policy is recommended to prioritize throughput. The success of the application depends on providing reliable service for large numbers of concurrent users. We will apply an IPS sensor to this policy to protect the server from external DOS attacks.