Wireshark is the world's foremost network protocol analyzer, and is the de facto (and often de jure) standard across many industries and educational institutions.

This is the modest description of its publisher. Wireshark, formerly called Ethereal, indeed has a long tradition and is certainly the most famous network packet sniffer. Administrators usually need such a tool for network troubleshooting. Wireshark supports hundreds of network protocols. Using its powerful filters, you can watch in detail how two applications communicate. The recently released new version 0.99.7 closes some severe security holes.

Wireshark

Wireshark

WireShark ^

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I compiled a short list of other free protocol analyzers some time ago. A newcomer in the league of sophisticated network sniffers is Microsoft's Network Monitor.

1 Comment
  1. Darr247 13 years ago

    I think WireShark is up to about 1.23, now… you should upgrade. I recommend the portable version on a USB flash drive, so you don’t need to install it on any particular machine, but can just jack it in where you want to use it (i.e. if you’re not plugging a laptop into an in-place aggregating tap).

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