Packet captures give us a very detailed and in-depth look at network traffic. They can be used to establish baselines, discover network devices, diagnose application and performance issues, or identify security threats. The previous post described what packets are and their function at a high level. It also gave an overview of the process used to capture them. Once you have identified your purpose for performing a capture, you can begin preparing for it.

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How do you go about catching the one of the fastest things known to man (light) at a specific point in time with pinpoint accuracy over and over again? With a little patience and your network card, of course! This post is an introduction to the process of capturing network traffic (aka “sniffing” or “tracing”). With most of my blog being dedicated to network performance analysis, a post like this is foundational, and will help you understand the basics moving forward if you are new to “sniffing the wire”.

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Chris Sereno

For 11 years networking was my profession with a specialized focus on proactive and reactive performance analysis. More recently I have embraced the AWS platform. This blog reflects my experience both past and present.

AWS Architect at Caterpillar, Inc.