Network Sniffer Software And Wireshark Explained

A packet sniffer or protocol analyzer is basically a software or hardware tool that can be used to intercept and view data flowing in a network for troubleshooting and research purposes. Some network sniffing tools ship as dedicated hardware devices while other types of sniffers ship in the form of software and make use of available network hardware resources on the host computer. Learn how packet sniffer software works. Information on the best free packet sniffer software and an introduction to Wireshark.


In order to complete this tutorial successfully the following items are required. Please ensure to have these items available before taking implementation action on this tutorial:
1) A desktop or laptop computer with Windows, MacOS or Linux Installed.
2) Internet connection (optional)

What Is A Packet Sniffer / Protocol Analyzer And How Do They Work


Best Free And Proprietary Protocol Analyzer And Packet Sniffer Software And Devices

Here we provide a detailed list of some of the Best Protocol Analyzers and Packet Sniffers including the features that each of them have on offer.Packet sniffers and network analyzers all have the same basic functionality however what makes each of them unique is ease of use, how well they function and how detailed the information they provide. Ultimately the choice of which packet sniffer or analyzer to use is entirely up to you and your network environment.

2) The Solarwinds Network Bandwidth Analyzer Pack.

The solarwinds network bandwidth analyzer pack is a fully featured network monitoring and analysis tool that makes it possible to detect, diagnose, and resolve network performance issues. The tool has an intuitive web based command centre that can be used to track response time, availability, and uptime of routers, switches, and other network devices that have the SNMP feature enabled.

Network bandwidth analyzer is a useful tool when you find yourself asking question such as “IS NETWORK TRAFFIC TO BLAME FOR PERFOMANCE ISSUES?” , “WHAT IS CAUSING PACKET LOSS ON THE NETWORK?” ,”WHY IS THE NETWORK VERY SLOW?” , “WHO IS USING UP ALL THE BANDWIDTH?”. All these questions can be answered with the help of two main features which are the NETWORK PERFOMANCE MONITOR and the NETFLOW TRAFFIC ANALYZER.

The NETWORK PERFOMANCE MONITOR provides detailed fault monitoring and perfomance management which helps with quick detection network issues thereby reducing network outages. The NETFLOW TRAFFIC ANALYZER provides bandwidth usage information by applications, protocols and IP addresses thereby allowing you to view both IPv4 and IPv6 flow records.

Click on the link below to download a fully a free trial of the Solarwinds Network Bandwidth Analyzer Pack ( FULLY FUNCTIONAL FOR 30 DAYS)


Tcpdump is a command line based application which is not as feature rich as Wireshark or Solarwinds Network Bandwidhth Analyzer Pack but the output of its packet dump is very detailed and can be imported into other protocol analysis applications.

TCPDUMP can be installed on both Windows and Linux. TCPDUMP allows you to  display the contents of network packet using a wide range of command line options.TCPDUMP supports saving of packet data to a file for later analysis and can also read from a previously saved file containing packet data.

TCPDUMP has countless very helpfull features that can help to get you out of a very sticky mess. Click HERE to vist the man page were you can read about all the TCPDUMP commands and their usage.

Click HERE to learn how to install and use TCPDUMP on windows and if you prefer using a linux  click HERE to learn how to setup and use TCP dump on a linux distro.

4) Colasoft Capsa

Capsa is an easy to use network tool that allow you to monitor, analyze, troubleshoot both wired and wireless networks. Capsa has an intuitive and  simple to use graphic user interface that doesnt have a very steep learning curve when compared with other similar networking tools.

With Colasoft Capsa you can perfom tasks which include but not limited to:

a) Analyzing VOIP traffic in your network.
b) Setting up notifying alarms so you stay informed when anything goes wrong in your network.
c) Running packet capture and analysis at certain time intervals using the built in task scheduler feature.
d) Network protocol analysis using a TAP device or port mirroring.
e) Detailed packet capturing decoding in Hex, ASCII and EBCDIC formats.

Colasoft Capsa is available for download as an all in one solution know as Capsa Enterprise and costs $995. You can also give this all in one solution a test drive before you commit by  taking a 30 DAY FREE TRIAL. However there are also free tools that can be downloaded from the Colasoft website and these include:

a) Capsa Free.
b) MAC Scanner.
c) Packet Player.
d) Packet builder.
e) Ping tool.

Click on the link below to visit the Colasoft website to take capsa for a test drive, buy capsa or download capsa free tools.

Introduction To Wireshark