Sniffer applications

Sniffer applications are a must have if you are attempting to determine what the process of communication for a given software application is. A sniffer application will trace the network communication that is occurring between the client machine and the server. This could be for HTTP, LDAP, telnet, or any other type of network communication. There are a number of differing types of sniffer applications, ranging from open source, to http header sniffers, terminal sniffers, to any number of different types of sniffer applications.

If you have never run a sniffer trace and are running your first sniff, you will probably be overwhelmed in the amount of communication and the complexity of not only your communication process you are trying to identify, but by the congestion of the rest of the network's traffic you are connected to. It's amazing how much communication is occurring from just a single computer connected to the Internet.

Each sniffer program has a bit different interface and usability. The following sections will attempt to identify a few of the common sniffer applications that we recommend and the advantages and disadvantages of each. Each situation is different and you should have a brief overview of each.

There are a large number of sniffer applications. The ones we will be reviewing include the following.