Ask any network administrator which is the toughest task of their job and the answer would invariably be troubleshooting network problems!
This is a tough task even for the most experienced network admins because it is hard to pinpoint the cause of a network-related problem because of the many variables and devices present in it. Also, traditional troubleshooting techniques have an equal chance for a hit or a miss and many times, your time and effort can go down the drain.
To avoid all this frustration, you’re better off using tools and software that will point to the root cause of the problem, so all that you have to do is analyze the problem and fix it.
There are many network tools available today for network troubleshooting and one of the most popular categories among those is the IP sniffers.
Best IP Sniffer Tools and Software for Enterprise Networks:
An IP sniffer or a packet sniffer is a tool that analyzes all the inbound and outbound packets of a network. In addition, it records the path taken by each packet and interprets it to give more visibility into your network. Some of these tools can also be used to monitor routers, switches, server traffic, network hardware, and even networks as a whole.
These packet sniffers gather relevant information, using which network administrators can easily identify the root cause of a problem. Some of the best IP sniffer tools and software for enterprise networks are:
- SolarWinds Network Packet Sniffer
- PRTG Network Monitor
- SteelCentral Packet Analyzer
Let’s take a detailed look into each of these tools, so you can decide which is the right fit for your organization.
1. SolarWinds Network Packet Sniffer
Network Packet Sniffer from SolarWinds gives you the necessary insights to get to the bottom of all network traffic anomalies.
Here is a look at some of the salient features of this packet sniffer tool.
- Sniffs packet data and calculates the network and application response time.
- Helps to determine whether the root cause is an application or the network itself.
- Identifies more than 1,200 applications, so you can have a better idea over your network traffic.
- Spots abnormal traffic patterns quickly to prevent any security threats from it.
- Gives insights into a wide range of metrics such as data volume, transactions, and risk.
- Provides hop-by-hop analysis of cloud or on-premises applications.
This tool starts at $2,995.
Click here to download a fully functional 30-day trial version.
2. PRTG Network Monitor
PRTG Network Monitor is an agentless monitoring tool that monitors the performance of different devices, collects information from them, and classifies them based on many parameters such as bandwidth usage and uptime.
The features of PRTG Network Monitor are:
- Monitors traffic, packets, applications, bandwidth, databases, ports, virtual servers, IoT devices, physical environments, and more.
- Supports all common flow technologies
- Gives a comprehensive view of all applications and vendors in a single dashboard.
- Scans different network segments and automatically discovers the presence of new devices.
- Allows you to create web pages with up-to-date monitoring data.
- Sends alerts as soon as it discovers warnings.
- Works well on most major platforms.
Since this is a sensor-based tool, the cost will depend on the number of sensors you use. Here is the sensor-based pricing.
- 100 sensors – Free
- 500 sensors – $1,600
- 1000 sensors – $2,850
- 2500 sensors – $5,950
- 5000 sensors – $10,500
- Unlimited sensors for one installation – $14,500
- Unlimited sensors for five installations – $60,000
Click here to download the free version.
WireShark is a free and open-source packet analyzer that is ideal for network troubleshooting, and for developing different software and communications protocol.
The features of WireShark are:
- Inspects hundreds of protocols
- Captures live data for future analysis. Coloring rules can be applied to the packets for intuitive analysis.
- Comes with a standard three-pane packet browser
- Runs on most popular platforms like Windows, Linux, Solaris, FreeBSD, NetBSD, macOS, and more.
- Exports output to XML, CSV, PostScript, and plain text formats.
- Supports the decryption process for most protocols.
- Offers rich VoIP analysis
- Reads or writes many file formats.
Click here to download WireShark.
4. SteelCentral Packet Analyzer
SteelCentral Packet Analyzer improves the speed of network packet analysis and reports the trace of large files through an intuitive GUI.
Some of the salient features of SteelCentral Packet Analyzer are:
- Comes with extensive drag and drop, multi-level drill-down and an extensive collection of network analysis views to create stellar reports and also to make it easy to understand the cause of a problem.
- You can configure triggers and alerts to catch any abnormal behavior.
- Goes deep into packets and makes it easy to identify issues when millions of packets need to be analyzed.
- Allows you to merge and analyze multiple trace files at the same time, thereby helping you to pinpoint the root cause of problems in a network.
- Reports can be customized to meet different needs.
Contact the sales team for a custom quote.
Click here for the trial version.
NetworkMiner is an open-source tool for network forensics and analysis and can be used as a packet sniffer to detect sessions, hostnames, ports, operating systems, and more.
Here is a look at some of the features available in NetworkMiner.
- Supports live sniffing
- Parses PCAP and PcapNG files.
- Extracts files from FTP, TFTP, HTTP, SMTP, POP3, and IMAP traffic.
- Runs on Windows and Linux.
- Supports audio extraction and playback of VoIP calls
- Exports data to different file formats such as CSV, Excel, XML, JSON-LD, and CASE.
- Comes with online ad and tracker detection.
There are two editions available with NetworkMiner and they are the free and paid editions. The paid edition costs $900 for a single user license and $4500 for a corporate user license.
Click here to download the free version.
To conclude, IP sniffer and packet tools analyze the incoming and outgoing traffic in a network and helps to identify the root cause of problems, thereby making them indispensable for every network administrator. The tools mentioned above are some of the best in the industry today and come with a comprehensive set of features. We hope they help you to make the right decisions for your organization.