How are a network analyzer and a network scanner different?


Network analyzers and network scanners may accomplish similar things in network administration, but they work differently.

A network analyzer is also sometimes called a 'packet analyzer’ or 'packet sniffer.’ The analyzer or sniffer works to evaluate data in transit across the network, by inspecting data packets. The analyzer may look at the raw data in a packet, including values or settings in the header, in order to help network administrators better understand data traffic and how it's moving through the system. This may include strategies like packet capture or interception of data traffic.

Network scanning is a different kind of procedure that identifies active hosts and network ports in order to assess them for security. Network scanning tools can look at how IP addresses are attached to network hosts. Tools called 'vulnerability scanners’ look for weak points where the system may be vulnerable to hacking.

Both of these types of tools can also be employed by unauthorized parties, in order to attack systems. In general, using a monitoring tool like a network analyzer or a network scanner can help with network troubleshooting, as well as creating better security for the network and looking out for threats.

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Justin Stoltzfus is an independent blogger and business consultant assisting a range of businesses in developing media solutions for new campaigns and ongoing operations. He is a graduate of James Madison University.Stoltzfus spent several years as a staffer at the Intelligencer Journal in Lancaster, Penn., before the merger of the city’s two daily newspapers in 2007. He also reported for the twin weekly newspapers in the area, the Ephrata Review and the Lititz Record.More recently, he has cultivated connections with various companies as an independent consultant, writer and trainer, collecting bylines in print and Web publications, and establishing a reputation…