A packet sniffer is used to analyze the network traffic. Sometimes they are also called network analyzers, protocol analyzers or ethernet sniffers. System administrators usually use them to analyze the behavior of an application or device causing network problems. I made a list of free packet sniffer tools for Windows. The descriptions are taken from the homepage of each program. Please let me know, if you know of any other free packet sniffer. I will add it to this list then. I will be writing about my favorite packet sniffer in another post these days.

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Ethereal® is used by network professionals around the world for troubleshooting, analysis, software and protocol development, and education. It has all of the standard features you would expect in a protocol analyzer, and several features not seen in any other product. Its open source license allows talented experts in the networking community to add enhancements. It runs on all popular computing platforms, including Unix, Linux, and Windows.

IP Sniffer
IP Sniffer is a suite of IP Tools built around a packet sniffer. The sniffer has basic features like filter, decode, replay, parse...

PlasticSniffer is a totally free, compact (<100k download!) and portable (thanks to .NET) packet sniffer. It supports file logging as well as filtering of ports and IP addresses.

AnalogX PacketMon allows you to capture IP packets that pass through your network interface - whether they originated from the machine on which PacketMon is installed, or a completely different machine on your network! Once the packet is received, you can use the built in viewer to examine the header as well as the contents, and you can even export the results into a standard comma-delimited file to importing into your favorite program. As if that's not enough, PacketMon has a powerful rule system that allows you to narrow down the packets it captures to ensure you get EXACTLY what you're after, without tons of unrelated information.

SmartSniff allows you to capture TCP/IP packets that pass through your network adapter, and view the captured data as sequence of conversations between clients and servers. You can view the TCP/IP conversations in Ascii mode (for text-based protocols, like HTTP, SMTP, POP3 and FTP.) or as hex dump. (for non-text base protocols, like DNS)

Two times PlanetSourceCode.com Contest winner. Sniffer.NET is an open source Network Packet Capture and Network Monitoring Tool in VB.NET. It utilize the power of Packmon.NET Library written in VB.NET which can monitor all network traffic. Now Supports User plugins which can be written in any .Net Language till they expose the IPlugin interface. Sample Plugin is also provided with the Source.

Sniphere is an another network wiretapping program for Windows using winpcap. Nevertheless, Sniphere is a pretty handy program with a lot of possibilities which most of free sniffers do not have.

VisualSniffer is a powerful packet capture tool and protocol analyzer (packet sniffer or ip sniffer) for Windows system. VisualSniffer can be used by LAN administrators, and security professionals for network monitoring intrusion detection, and network traffic logging. It can also be used by network programmers for checking what the developing program has sent and received, or others to get a full picture of the network traffic.

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What Is Transferring
What Is Transferring is a easy-to-use packet sniffer for Windows 2000/XP. It is able to capture TCP/IP packets that pass through your network adapter, and view the captured data in Text mode (for HTML page, e-mail) or in Hex/ASCII mode (for ZIP, JPEG, GIF). With this software, you can check if there is any unwanted connections.

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    Jon 17 years ago

    Check out OmniPeek Personal, available freely on OmniPeek.com.

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    Thanks for the tip. Just posted something about OmniPeek.

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    SnifferClub 15 years ago

    For an affordable and easy2use packet sniffer, then Colasoft Capsa is recommended, a downloadable version is available at its official website.

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    lamine 13 years ago

    Thank you, I just wanna thank you for your peace of software, I found it useful to show my students how Access 2007 works in a multi-user environement!

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