Packet Filtering: Catching the Cool Packets!


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Given that I live out here in the woods, my whole world is online, from school to work to maintaining social relationships. Having my network effectively go down on a regular basis was making me nuts. The thing is that I share said network which is cable-based and theoretically quite fast with a handful of residences: a few apartments, cabins, and RVs. It's a pseudo-public network administered by the landlord.

It requires users to click a login button, but does not require them to provide a username or password. So, to get to the bottom of things, I turned to my friend Wireshark, which is what I'm going to explain below. Wireshark is a packet sniffing tool, a network packet analyzer. Its basic operation is to take an internet connection—or any network connection really—and register the packets traveling back and forth across it.

It gives you everything: packet origin and destination, contents, protocols, messages. I've barely begun to scratch the surface of its capabilities myself, but to do basic packet sniffing, up to and including spying on usernames and passwords, all it takes is a couple of clicks. The internet communicates in packets. These are small discrete units of data that are sent from place through the mess of routers and switches that is the network of networks that is this here internet.

A packet contains both the info needed to get it from place to place IP addresses and ports , but also data. There are a lot of protocols, but everything is still just packets. Wireshark has versions for Windows and OSX all ready to go with installers.

Linux users have to download the source code and build it themselves. Yes, it's free. A bit more on what Wireshark is for.

Writing a Basic Packet Capture Engine

Network admins use it to diagnose traffic issues like mine or just to collect network data, while security engineers use it to uncover sketchy network traffic that might indicate keylogging, for example and-or network vulnerabilities like exposed passwords. Developers use it to build and debug networking applications, while people like me mostly use it to understand how networks and their many, many protocols work.

It can absolutely be used for evil.


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This will raise a menu of popular filters. If you choose to set a capture filter, then your changes will come into effect once you start recording live traffic. To activate a display filter, simply click on the arrow to the right of the entry field. After choosing a filter, you can view the TCP conversation behind a packet.


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This will show you the TCP exchange between the client and server. You may edit, disable or delete these. If you want to turn off colorization, click on the View menu and click Colorize Packet List field to turn it off. In order to view more information on your network, the statistics drop-down menu is incredibly useful. The statistics menu can be located at the top of the screen and will provide you with a number of metrics from size and timing information to plotted charts and graphs. You can also apply display filters to these statistics in order to narrow down important information.

If you want to create a visual representation of your data packets, then you need to open IO graphs.

Packet Capture – What is it and a How-To Guide

Simply click on the statistics menu and select IO graphs. You can configure IO graphs with your own settings according to the data you want to display. By default only graph 1 is enabled, so if you want to activate you need to click on them. Likewise, if you want to apply a display filter for a graph, click the filter icon next to the graph you want to interact with.

The style column allows you to change how your graph is structured. You can also interact with the X and Y axis metrics on your graph as well.

Palo Alto Networks Knowledgebase: Getting Started: Packet Capture

On the X axis, the tick interval sections allow you to dictate how long the interval is, from minutes to seconds. The scale allows you to choose the scale of measurement for the Y-axis of the graph. You can download a sample capture by going on the Wireshark wiki website. The Wireshark wiki website features a variety of sample capture files that can be downloaded across the site. You can expand Wireshark and support it with complementary tools.

A full network analysis tool, such as the SolarWinds monitor explained below, would also be a good addition to your IT admin toolkit. As one of the leading network management solutions on the market, SolarWinds Network Performance Monitor provides the user with extensive network monitoring functions to keep their network safe. From monitoring bandwidth to latency across a network, the user can track all live changes through the performance analysis dashboard.

A visual display shows all active network connections and devices. This makes it easier for the user to spot unauthorized devices.


  1. Symmetry and Perturbation Theory: Proceedings of the Internationa Conference on Spt2004, Cala Genone, Italy 30 May 6 June 2004.
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  4. Documentation.
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  6. The user-friendly interface allows users to define their own alerts so that they can be notified when unusual changes occur on their network. If a new device attempts to connect, this can be flagged by the system.

    The live data generated on the analysis dashboard can also be converted into reports to generate further insights. That concludes our breakdown of how to use Wireshark. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed. Menu Close.

    Net Admin How to use Wireshark [Tutorial]. Tim Keary Network administration expert to businesses. That penalty is somewhat diminished in the world of switch network interconnects. Many 'monitor' programs use If the traffic on the segment is reasonably high, your protocol may get just clogged. Sign In or Register to comment. Howdy, Stranger! It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

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    Packet Filtering: Catching the Cool Packets! Packet Filtering: Catching the Cool Packets!
    Packet Filtering: Catching the Cool Packets! Packet Filtering: Catching the Cool Packets!
    Packet Filtering: Catching the Cool Packets! Packet Filtering: Catching the Cool Packets!
    Packet Filtering: Catching the Cool Packets! Packet Filtering: Catching the Cool Packets!
    Packet Filtering: Catching the Cool Packets! Packet Filtering: Catching the Cool Packets!
    Packet Filtering: Catching the Cool Packets! Packet Filtering: Catching the Cool Packets!
    Packet Filtering: Catching the Cool Packets! Packet Filtering: Catching the Cool Packets!

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