If you work on a network, you then know the value of information. Solid information leads to a strong and worry-free network (or at least as worry-free as you can manage). In order to gather that information, you need the right tools. The tools I speak of are network analyzers. Once you start looking, you can find analyzers of every shape, size, and price. But for most network admins, the free tools do a solid-enough job to get you the information you need.
But which of these tools are the best? If you start looking, you'll find plenty available. To help narrow the search for you, I've found five of the best network analyzers available. From this list, you should be able to find the one tool that perfectly suits your needs. With that promise made, let's dive in and see what's what.
Wireshark is one of the most powerful network protocol analyzers on the market (free or paid). In fact, Wireshark is often considered the de facto standard among the industry. This analyzer features: Live capture and offline analysis; standard three-pane packet browser; multi-platform (Windows, Linux, OS X, Solaris, FreeBSD, NetBSD, and many others); captured network data can be browsed via GUI, or via the TTY-mode TShark utility.
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Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website getjackd.net.