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network analyzer

A hardware device or server software that captures packets transmitted in a network for routine inspection and problem detection. Also called a "sniffer," "packet sniffer," "packet analyzer," "packet sampler," "traffic analyzer" and "protocol analyzer," the hardware analyzer plugs into a port on a network switch and decodes one or more protocols into a human-readable format for the network administrator. It can also store packets for further analysis later on.

In order to alert admins about traffic problems, packets are analyzed in real time. Hardware network analyzers can detect voltage and cable problems, whereas software analyzers cannot. See IPFIX, sFlow and port mirroring.
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References in periodicals archive ?
Checking the sniffer program's audit trail, Maggie found no evidence of Internet access or other network activity at the time the files appeared.
They installed so-called "sniffer programs" that captured credit and debit card numbers as they moved through a retailer's processing networks.
Sniffer programs capture, monitors and analyze network traffic, detecting bottlenecks and other problems.