The Wireshark application, formerly called Ethereal, is an open source packet analyzer. It is used for analysis, development, and troubleshooting purposes. The program is capable of displaying details regarding the activities over a network. Wireshark can be used for fixing network problems, examining security issues within a network, and learning network protocols. Features of the program include the following:
View detailed protocol information
Search for packets on many criteria
Create new plug-ins for new protocols
Capture raw USB traffic
Detection of VoIP calls in captured traffic
Wireshark is capable of getting traffic information for various network types, including wireless LAN. The program can also import and export files from other capture applications. One of the program’s features is the wide array of display filters. This allows users to get information regarding exact network traffic. In addition, live data can also be captured by Wireshark. This includes data over IEEE, Ethernet, loopback, and PPP.
Since Wireshark is an OSS (Open Source Software) project, users have access to the source code. New protocols and plug-ins can be added to the program for increased functionality. Users can also share improvements to the online community. The Wireshark source code can be downloaded directly from the website.