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Packet Analyzer

Definition - What does Packet Analyzer mean?

A packet analyzer is a computer application used to track, intercept and log network traffic that passes over a digital network. It analyzes network traffic and generates a customized report to assist organizations in managing their networks. Packet analyzers also may be used by hackers to intrude on networks and steal information from network transmissions.

A packet analyzer is also known as a sniffer, network analyzer or protocol analyzer.

Techopedia explains Packet Analyzer

A network manager must be vigilant to analyze and protect network traffic from threats and low performance. Managers should troubleshoot the network often to ensure that it provides an efficient and fast network traffic environment.

A packet analyzer shows the complete status of all network activities by providing a complete picture of bandwidth and resources utilization. If a resource is using too much bandwidth, the network manager can release the resource by interrupting the process. However, newly deployed applications and network nodes may have some configuration and working issues, but these can be solved within seconds using the packet analyzer. Every action of a packet analyzer is performed in real time.

The key functions and uses of packet analyzers include:

  • Analyzing network issues and problems
  • Monitoring network security by detecting unauthorized attempts to hack the network
  • Isolating elements causing harm
  • Monitoring overall WAN bandwidth (and individual user consumption)
  • Generating a complete report of network statistics organized in tabular form, graphic charts or as straight data
  • Monitoring data being transferred or in motion
  • Monitoring the overall WAN/LAN and user/endpoint security issues and statuses
  • Filtering unwanted contents and preventing unauthorized access
  • Performing debugging operations on the client/server side for communication errors/issues
  • Monitoring proxy server configuration, firewall status and configuration, spam protection and other security aspects
  • Serving as the primary data source for day-to-day network monitoring and management
  • Reverse engineering proprietary protocols over the network
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