All IT professionals and personnel whether employed in small scale or large scale companies, understand the importance of data and issues that come with them. Troubleshooting an arising problem is half based on instincts and the other half depends on the data itself and in this data part is where the Packet Sniffers comes in. A Packet Sniffer is essentially a platform which assists you in figuring out the packets that are being received, sent or transferred over a network, to see if they are safe.
Compiled beneath are a list of some of the top notch Network Analyzers and Packet Sniffers and the features that they come equipped with using which you can extract important information and data.
1. Solarwinds Bandwidth Analyzer 2-Pack – Free Download
This Network Performance Monitor keeps in detail tags on the performance of a particular network and has gained its position as the Best Network Data Sniffers available in the market because it will serve you best if you wish to get a report on overall performance of a given network. This tool will give you an analysis on speed of transmissions, their rates, the quality of packet transmission and its reliability, and also has numerous visual aids with well distributed charts to help you better understand the anomalies.
WireShark is considerably a brand new tool in this list equipped with a wider range network diagnostics options and is highly beneficial in locating a central ground in between the visual analysis and its raw data. The tool is simple to use, compatible with a number of devices and is easy to carry around.
Furthermore, the tool has a straightforward UI with numerous filtering options especially for those who are on multi platforms simultaneously. It is completely open-source and is essentially a Free Packet Sniffer hence is definitely compelling in form of a free yet effect diagnostic tool.
Tcpdump is kind of an older tool and even its interface is quiet old however there is indeed effectiveness in some of the features it has to offer, which still can do what they are assigned to do that too in a clean manner. The data it generates may be difficult for some professionals to understand however under certain environments, or on barely operating devices, even the minimal tasks are best.
Kismet isn’t just a Packet Sniffer but is a lot more in terms of its functionality. Kismet has the capability for sniffing and analyzing hidden servers plus the SSIDs that haven’t been broadcasted. Such tools can prove to be of high value under the right circumstances especially when one cannot figure out the cause of a specific problem in the network. Under such cases Kismet will be able to sniff it out within moments and when this happens it usually happens to be a network which has gone rouge or some AP that is acting up for no reason.
EtherApe is quiet similar in terms of its functionality to WireShark as this is also an Open-Source tool which can be used without paying anything. However the thing that sets it apart is that this tool is more graphic in nature. Like WireShark makes you go through long lists of numbers and then make you compare everything in a numerical manner, EtherApe focuses more to visual aids and graphic representations. So if you are comfortable using more of a graphically apt Packet Sniffer then EtherApe is the one you must go for.
6. Cain and Abel
As you can see that this software does have a peculiar name and is based on the wide range of programs this software can accomplish. If you want to do something that is a lot more than Packet Sniffing, then this software might just be your cup of tea. This can even recover your passwords, cater to dictionary attacks to get back lost data, take on the VOIP data from a network, and perform analysis on network routing and a lot more. All this makes this tool a powerful savior in times when the problem is rare and immediate recovery is needed.
7. Network Miner
Network Miner is another Packet Sniffer that can perform a lot more than just sniffing and would be best for precipitating out the problem causing users and systems that are operating on a network instead of just giving you a total diagnosis or analysis report in the end. While other sniffers solely focus on the quality of packets that are being sent and received over a network, NetworkMiner on the other hand does a lot more than analyzing packets.
The name of this tool says it all, and is a lot like Kismet, but is designed for the environment of Mac devices. Even though Kismet has also generated a Mac port so KisMAC may seem somewhat redundant but you must note that KisMAC comes with its own codebase and isn’t a by-product of Kismet. It is because of KisMAC’s own codebasing that it performs a better job at being a Packet Sniffer and has tools that Kismet doesn’t have.