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What Does Wireshark Mean?

Wireshark is a free and open source network protocol analyzer that enables users to interactively browse the data traffic on a computer network. The development project was started under the name Ethereal, but was renamed Wireshark in 2006.


Many networking developers from all around the world have contributed to this project with network analysis, troubleshooting, software development and communication protocols. Wireshark is used in many educational institutions and other industrial sectors.

Techopedia Explains Wireshark

Wireshark is a network or protocol analyzer (also known as a network sniffer) available for free at the Wireshark website. It is used to analyze the structure of different network protocols and has the ability to demonstrate encapsulation. The analyzer operates on Unix, Linux and Microsoft Windows operating systems, and employs the GTK+ widget toolkit and pcap for packet capturing. Wireshark and other terminal-based free software versions like Tshark are released under the GNU General Public License.

Wireshark shares many characteristics with tcpdump. The difference is that it supports a graphical user interface (GUI) and has information filtering features. In addition, Wireshark permits the user to see all the traffic being passed over the network.

Features of Wireshark include:

  • Data is analyzed either from the wire over the network connection or from data files that have already captured data packets.
  • Supports live data reading and analysis for a wide range of networks (including Ethernet, IEEE 802.11, point-to-point Protocol (PPP) and loopback).
  • With the help of GUI or other versions, users can browse captured data networks.
  • For programmatically editing and converting the captured files to the editcap application, users can use command line switches.
  • Display filters are used to filter and organize the data display.
  • New protocols can be scrutinized by creating plug-ins.
  • Captured traffic can also trace Voice over Internet (VoIP) calls over the network.
  • When using Linux, it is also possible to capture raw USB traffic.

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Margaret Rouse

Margaret jest nagradzaną technical writerką, nauczycielką i wykładowczynią. Jest znana z tego, że potrafi w prostych słowach pzybliżyć złożone pojęcia techniczne słuchaczom ze świata biznesu. Od dwudziestu lat jej definicje pojęć z dziedziny IT są publikowane przez Que w encyklopedii terminów technologicznych, a także cytowane w artykułach ukazujących się w New York Times, w magazynie Time, USA Today, ZDNet, a także w magazynach PC i Discovery. Margaret dołączyła do zespołu Techopedii w roku 2011. Margaret lubi pomagać znaleźć wspólny język specjalistom ze świata biznesu i IT. W swojej pracy, jak sama mówi, buduje mosty między tymi dwiema domenami, w ten…