Network Analyzers

14 Best Free and Open Source Network Analyzers

A network analyzer (also known as a packet analyzer, packet sniffer, or protocol analyzer) is software that intercepts and logs traffic that passes over a computer network or part of a network. Packet capture is the process of intercepting and logging traffic. As data streams flow across the network, the analyzer captures each packet and, if needed, decodes the packet’s raw data, showing the values of various fields in the packet, and analyzes its content according to the appropriate RFC or other specifications.

Maintaining a live network is one of a system administrator’s most essential tasks, and keeping a watchful eye over connected systems is essential to keeping a network functioning at its best.

A good network analyzer helps a network developer with daily Linux plumbling. They can be used for network development, debugging, analysis, auditing or network reconnaissance.

Here’s our verdict on the finest network analyzers, captured in a LinuxLinks ratings chart. We only feature free and open source software here.

Best Free and Open Source Network Analyzers

Let’s explore the 14 network analyzers. For each application we have compiled its own portal page, a full description with an in-depth analysis of its features, together with links to relevant resources.

Network Analyzers
WiresharkNetwork protocol analyzer with a rich and powerful feature set
IPTraf-ngFeature-laden network statistic monitoring tool
netsniff-ngSwiss army knife for daily Linux network plumbing
EttercapComprehensive suite for man in the middle attacks
darkstatCaptures network traffic, calculates usage statistics, and serves reports over HTTP
dsniffCollection of tools for network auditing and penetration testing
ngrepgrep applied to the network layer
tcpdumpPowerful and hugely respected command-line packet analyzer
sniffitCORBA based sniffer system with ncurses interactive mode
KismetWireless network and device detector, sniffer, wardriving tool, WIDS framework
EtherApeGraphical network monitor
justnifferNetwork TCP packet sniffer with reliable TCP flow rebuilding
sniffer Alternative network traffic sniffer
sniffgluePacket sniffer written in Rust

Read our complete collection of recommended free and open source software. The collection covers all categories of software.

The software collection forms part of our series of informative articles for Linux enthusiasts. There's tons of in-depth reviews, open source alternatives to proprietary software from large corporations like Google, Microsoft, Apple, Adobe, IBM, Cisco, Oracle and Autodesk. There are also fun things to try, hardware, free programming books and tutorials, and much more.
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