Ethereal® is used by network professionals around the world for troubleshooting, analysis, software and protocol development, and education. It has all of the standard features you would expect in a protocol analyzer, and several features not seen in any other product. Its open source license allows talented experts in the networking community to add enhancements. It runs on all popular computing platforms, including Unix, Linux, and Windows.
Ethereal is still technically beta software, but it has a comprehensive feature set and is suitable for production use. Here is the list of features, in no particular order:
- Data can be captured "off the wire" from a live network connection, or read from a capture file.
- Ethereal can read capture files from tcpdump (libpcap), NAI's Sniffer™ (compressed and uncompressed), Sniffer™ Pro, NetXray™, Sun snoop and atmsnoop, Shomiti/Finisar Surveyor, AIX's iptrace, Microsoft's Network Monitor, Novell's LANalyzer, RADCOM's WAN/LAN Analyzer, HP-UX nettl, i4btrace from the ISDN4BSD project, Cisco Secure IDS iplog, the pppd log (pppdump-format), the AG Group's/WildPacket's EtherPeek/TokenPeek/AiroPeek, or Visual Networks' Visual UpTime. It can also read traces made from Lucent/Ascend WAN routers and Toshiba ISDN routers, as well as the text output from VMS's TCPIPtrace utility and the DBS Etherwatch utility for VMS. Any of these files can be compressed with gzip and Ethereal will decompress them on the fly.
- Live data can be read from Ethernet, FDDI, PPP, Token-Ring, IEEE 802.11, Classical IP over ATM, and loopback interfaces (at least on some platforms; not all of those types are supported on all platforms).
- Captured network data can be browsed via a GUI, or via the TTY-mode "tEthereal" program.
- Capture files can be programmatically edited or converted via command-line switches to the "editcap" program.
- 759 protocols can currently be dissected:
- Output can be saved or printed as plain text or PostScript®.
- Data display can be refined using a display filter.
- Display filters can also be used to selectively highlight and color packet summary information.
- All or part of each captured network trace can be saved to disk.
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