Wireshark is a powerful network analyzer, which can be used for analyzing traffic passing through the network interface of your computer. It will be useful for detecting and solving various network errors, web applications debugging as well as network programs and websites.
Wireshark lets you check contents of the packets on all layers. This way, you will be able to understand how the network operates on the lower levels.
All packets are intercepted in real-time and presented to you in the form most convenient for reading. The app features an advanced filtering system, text highlighting with multiple colors, and other options to make your search easier.
Main features of Wireshark
We think it is important to tell you in details about the main feature of this wonderful app and also mention the protocols it can work with. Here is the minimum you need to know:
- Wireshark captures packets in real time from wired or any other type of network interface and also allows reading from a file;
- Supported capture interfaces: PPP, Ethernet, IEEE 802.11, and local virtual interfaces.
- Packets can be screened out by different parameters with the help of the integrated filters.
- All known protocols are automatically highlighted on the list in different colors (TCP, FTP, ICMP, HTTP, DNS, and so on).
- Can capture VoIP call packets.
- Supports decryption of HTTPS traffic (requires a certificate).
- WEP and WPA traffic decryption (requires a key and handshake).
- Displays network load statistics.
- Allows checking packets on all network layers.
- Displays the time of sending and receiving packets.
Wireshark has plenty of other features but these are the most important ones, and we believe they will be of most interest for you.
Also, it is highly likely that you will be interested in how to use this app to detect network errors. There is a round-shaped button in the left-hand bottom corner, and when you tap it, the window with Expert Tools will appear. In this window, Wireshark logs all messages about errors and network problems. The menu has four main tabs: Errors, Warnings, Notices, and Chats. Wireshark is a smart app that detects all kinds of network problems, so expect to see them in this window soon enough. The information provided here can be filtered.
As for traffic analysis, it is very easy to understand what users have downloaded and what files they viewed (provided the connection was not encrypted). Wireshark is a master chef when it comes to serving the content and exporting it. But before you do that, you need to stop traffic capture with the help of a big red square on the panel. Then open the File menu and go to Export Objects, then select HTTP. In the window to appear, you will see the list with all captured objects. You just need to export them. Wireshark lets you save items like images and even music tracks. After exporting, you may continue analyzing the network traffic or proceed to the saved files and open them with programs of your choice.
In this short guide, we have covered only the basics of Wireshark and explained how to use some of its features for traffic analysis. It is a very powerful utility for professionals, so it is understandable that we cannot cover all its capabilities in one short article. However, we believe this basic information was enough to convince you to try it out.