Packet Analyzer Tools
PRTG Network Monitor is the flagship offering from German software company Paessler, for monitoring local and wide area networks (LANs & WANs), servers, websites, apps, and more.
Wireshark is an open source network troubleshooting tool.
NetworkMiner is an open source Network Forensic Analysis Tool (NFAT) for Windows. It is developed and supported by Netresec, a small company headquartered in Sweden.
Colasoft Capsa is a network performance monitoring and protocol analyzing tool. Capsa provides core monitoring features, as well as automated diagnostics and packet decoding. Colasoft offers a limited free version of the software.
NetFlow Analyzer is a complete bandwidth monitoring tool that utilizes flow technology to monitor and analyze network bandwidth usage. It helps users identify and avoid bandwidth delays and bottlenecks with customized reports, and set threshold-based email and SMS alerts to help…
Omnipeek, developed by Savvius but acquired and now offered by LiveAction, headquartered in Palo Alto, is network and application performance monitoring technology.
WinDump is the Windows version of tcpdump, the command line network analyzer for UNIX. WinDump is fully compatible with tcpdump and can be used to watch, diagnose and save to disk network traffic according to various complex rules. It can run under Windows 95, 98, ME, NT, 2000, XP,…
EtherApe is a graphical network monitor for Unix modeled after etherman. Featuring link layer, IP and TCP modes, it displays network activity graphically. Hosts and links change in size with traffic. Color coded protocols display. It supports Ethernet, FDDI, Token Ring, ISDN, PPP,…
TCPdump is a command-line packet analyzer; and libpcap, a portable C/C++ library for network traffic capture. It is an open source application to which anyone can contribute.
What are Packet Analyzer Tools?
Packet analyzer tools, or packet sniffers, monitor every packet (smallest unit of information) flowing through the network. They are helpful towards network administrators for traffic logging, monitoring, and analysis. They are also helpful in detecting the root cause of any issue within the network. These tools come in both software and hardware form. Due to convenience, the software option has become the more popular option, yet both are effective in dealing with troubleshooting and are plugged into a network where they store the information they are receiving.
Packet analyzer tools help IT professionals simplify and speed up the process of troubleshooting for both new and existing information traveling from sender to receiver by decoding the packets. In simple terms, they provide visibility into a traveling process that is otherwise invisible. These tools add clarity to current issues and help preempt future issues. This also benefits the end-user experience, whether it be from online chatting, gaming, video streaming, or shopping.
Packet Analyzer Tools Features
Some features users can expect from packet analyzer tools include:
- Traffic Data Collection
- Packet Analysis
- Header Recording
- Network Testing
- Multiple user interfaces
- Dashboards & maps
- In-depth reporting
Packet Analyzer Tools Comparison
Some useful facts to keep in mind before choosing the appropriate packet analyzer tools for you include:
- Monitoring flexibility. Some users may desire the ability to monitor almost anything that is network-connected; e.g. SNMP, scripts, business and/or production servers. Make sure your packet analyzer product has flexible monitoring options so that you can troubleshoot across all relevant systems.
- Support & setup. Having a product that is easy to set up and offers endless support saves the user a lot of time. Additionally, there may be instances where devices need to be added. Therefore make sure the setup is compatible or can be supported with the tool you’ve chosen.
- Business size. Depending on the size of your business may determine ease of deployment and managing as well as capabilities and speed desired. Research the type of businesses your product caters to and if it will satisfy the functions you are seeking.
Pricing for packet analyzers depends on the features offered by the tool, and whether the tool is hardware or software-based. Software-based options that only collect packet headers tend to be the cheapest, while tools offering deeper analysis are more expensive. Hardware packet analyzers are typically often packaged with a disk array, so pricing can depend on many factors. Many packet analysis tools are available for free, and most proprietary options include a trial version prior to making a purchasing decision.