A free tool to monitor and analyze network traffic
Analyzing network traffic can be a daunting task especially if you have no idea on what to do. Unless you're a network and security expert, you need to research more on how to perform such task needed to address some network related issues. Wireshark is a network protocol analyzer that allows you to get a glimpse of what's happening on your network at a micro level. While such task requires ample technical knowledge to perform, the program allows users for an easy and friendly environment to do so. Check out what makes Wireshark one of the most popular tool in network security.
No-cost comprehensive network monitoring
Wireshark authors continue to make improvements to the program to make it more powerful and remain up to date that users rarely experience any difficulty while using it.
Now that everything relies on the internet, your network is the lifeline of your company or your business. It's important to make sure that it is healthy and secure by keeping tabs on it constantly. Lucky for you, there are plenty of tools available to help you do just that. However, most of them may require you to shell out sums of money. There's no need to worry because Wireshark has got your back.
Wireshark allows you to monitor and analyze network traffic. It can accommodate single-home users up to enterprise level users just like any powerful paid software in the market. You can use it to dissect network packet to the tiniest details and pull out any network related information assure all systems and communications run smoothly. It's light-weight and does not require any high-end specification.
Hassle-free network monitoring
Using Wireshark may seem a little bit overwhelming for first-time users. Those who lack the proper knowledge in network and security may need to do a little more research on the functions and benefits this tool has to offer. After two or three times of walking through its interface and research perseverance, you can easily navigate through its interface to capture and analyze both wireless and wired network traffic.
The program color codes network packets based on its type, so you can quickly construct your analysis. You can also apply different filters either during your capture or your analysis and rule put uninteresting packets from the feed or 'network noise.' Wireshark displays data in a logical and straight forward way. It also separates them into three panes so you can see the overview, packet details, and string data all at the same time.
Wireshark continuously adds more protocols as it supports the deep inspection of hundreds of network protocols. You can read live network date from Ethernet, Bluetooth, USB, IEEE 802.11, PPP/HDLC, ATM, Fram Relay,. FDDI, Token Ring, and many others depending on the platform you are using. This software also provides decryption support for many protocols including SNMPv3, IPsec, Kerberos, ISAKMP, SSL/TLS, WPA/WPA2, and WEP.
It really is a relief that Wireshark offers its services for free. As an open-source program, you can access their documentation by just going to their website. There's also a plethora of information you can find on their page that can help you set up and run the software. Because this tool has been widely used even by network and security experts, it has a solid community that can help you navigate and solve problems you may encounter while using it. You can easily find answers to your query in forums, how-tos, and mailing lists.
Despite everything, enterprise users still find Wireshark's formal documentation and support lacking. It can be a pain in the back to get immediate help and assistance.
Where can you run this program?
Wireshark works across different platforms. It's compatible with both Windows and macOS. This program can also run on most UNIX and UNIX-like platforms. It also has binary packages available for most Unices and Linux distributions like Alpine Linux, Canonical Ubuntu, Debian GNU/Linux, FreeBSD, Gentoo Linux, HP-UX, Mandriva Linux, NetBSD, OpenPKG, Oracle Solaris, and Red Hat Enterprise Linux / CentOS / Fedora.
System requirements vary depending on the network you are going to analyze as busy networks can produce bigger files. Wireshark can support almost all versions of Windows as long as it is still within its extended support lifetime. When it under such operating system, make sure to have the Universal C Runtime, KB2999226 or KB3118401 installed. It works with any modern 64-bit AMD64/x86-64 or 32-bit x86 processor. You must also have at least 500 MB RAM available and at least 500 MB of disk space. Keep in mind that larger capture files require higher RAM and bigger storage.
Is there a better alternative?
Capsa is a portable network performance analysis and diagnostic tool offered by Colasoft. It has both a free and enterprise version available for download. Its key features include real-time packet capture, advanced protocol analysis, and multiple network behavior monitoring. Using this software, you can quickly pinpoint network problems as it can detect suspicious hosts in a matter of seconds. You can also map the traffic, address, and MAC of each host on the network for easy identification. Capsa offers a user-friendly dashboard to view network statistics at a single glance. It's available on the 64-bit editions of Windows 2008, Vista, 7, 8, and 10.
Like Wireshark, SoftPerfect Network Protocol Analyzer is also free for download. It's can be used professionally for analyzing, debugging, maintaining, and monitoring local networks and internet connections. This can be useful for anyone who needs a comprehensive picture of the traffic passing through their network connections or through a local area of their network. Unfortunately, however, this tool has been discontinued in 2014, but you can still get support from their community and other resources available online.
Wireshark is an excellent tool for those who are already well-versed in analyzing network traffic. It can also be used by students who are trying to venture into critical informatics or security analyzation as it works well in both virtual and real-time environments.
Should you download it?
Yes. Wireshark gives you top-notch performance for free. With research and some patience, you can navigate through the program easily. It's the perfect tool to use in order to solve network related problems efficiently and effectively. Wireshark is the best option if you’re in need of a powerful network analyzing tool without the budget.
- User friendly
- Filter function
- Need GUI improvement
- Customization takes effort
- Not beginner friendly