A NetFlow collector is a specific part of NetFlow operations that enables administrators to collect IP network traffic, and see where traffic is coming from as it moves across the network structure. The NetFlow collector is typically linked up to a NetFlow exporter which exports data in its direction.
Administrators can use NetFlow collectors to look at the source and destination of individual pieces of network traffic. They can also use these tools to analyze bottlenecks or congestion in certain parts of a network, or to identify details about certain types of network traffic, such as class of service or the purpose of particular data traffic sent from a particular source. In general, an administrator queries a NetFlow collector after it has gathered the appropriate information from various attached sources run through the NetFlow exporter.