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Wireshark is a free network protocol analyzer that’s widely used by pros in the IT industry. Basically this is the tool that you will use to analyze problems within the network. With it you can check how packets travel, what obstacles are blocking their path and conduct various network forensics and debugging tasks.

The program is cross platform, and on Windows it uses WinPcap, the /libpcap link-layer interface port and gives you access to the various network layers. While powerful, installation is straightforward and includes all the tools necessary to conduct network filtering and analysis.

It must be stressed here that Wireshark is meant for advanced IT users, and casual computer users may find the interface difficult to navigate. But if you have knowledge of networks, you will see that the interface is actually well organized. The UI makes it easy to commence a starting packet procedure along with custom options, and there is support for Ethernet and wireless adapters.

Wireshark can also be used to capture info from other interfaces, and the real time display of traffic is a nice addition. Not only is the information provided in real time but you also see other details like protocol size, destination, source and time among others.

Wireshark is a powerful network tool that IT administrators will find useful. When you’re running a large and complex network, there’s no telling what problems will arise and when, so it’s nice to have a versatile utility like this one available for free.

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