What is a packet analyzer?

by packetpro on June 11, 2016

A Packet Analyser is a wire-tap device that plugs into computer networks and eavesdrops on the network traffic. Like a telephone wiretap allows the FBI to listen in on other people’s conversations, an “analysing” program lets someone listen in on computer conversations.

However, computer conversations consist of apparently random binary data. Therefore, network wiretap programs also come with a feature known as “protocol analysis”, which allow them to “decode” the computer traffic and make sense of it.

Analysing also has one advantage over telephone wiretaps: many networks use “shared media”. This means that you don’t need to break into a wiring closet to install your wiretap, you can do it from almost any network connection to eavesdrop on your neighbours. This is called a “promiscuous mode” sniffer. However, this “shared” technology is moving quickly toward “switched” technology where this will no longer be possible, which means you will have to actually tap into the wire.

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: