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.
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.
|Wireshark||Network protocol analyzer with a rich and powerful feature set|
|IPTraf-ng||Feature-laden network statistic monitoring tool|
|netsniff-ng||Swiss army knife for daily Linux network plumbing|
|Ettercap||Comprehensive suite for man in the middle attacks|
|darkstat||Captures network traffic, calculates usage statistics, and serves reports over HTTP|
|dsniff||Collection of tools for network auditing and penetration testing|
|ngrep||grep applied to the network layer|
|tcpdump||Powerful and hugely respected command-line packet analyzer|
|sniffit||CORBA based sniffer system with ncurses interactive mode|
|Kismet||Wireless network and device detector, sniffer, wardriving tool, WIDS framework|
|EtherApe||Graphical network monitor|
|justniffer||Network TCP packet sniffer with reliable TCP flow rebuilding|
|sniffer||Alternative network traffic sniffer|
|sniffglue||Packet 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.