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I bring decades of experience in the realm of network sniffers to this comprehensive Wireshark review, the stalwart of packet analysis software. My goal is to equip you with all the vital information you need to determine whether Wireshark is the right tool for your needs.

Wireshark review screenshot showing iSCSI protocol search
This image shows iSCSI within Wireshark.

Wireshark Software Product Overview

Wireshark is an open-source packet analyzer, i.e. a network protocol analyzer or network sniffer, designed for network administrators, security professionals, and IT teams seeking precise insights into network traffic. Moreover, this invaluable tool empowers users to capture, analyze, and dissect network packets, offering granular packet analysis capabilities that enable troubleshooting, security threat detection, and network performance optimization.

In fact, Wireshark excels at simplifying the complex process of packet analysis, making it accessible to a wide range of users. Furthermore, its standout features include robust packet analysis, extensive protocol support, and custom scripting capabilities, ensuring comprehensive network insights for its target audience.

Also, additional notable attributes of Wireshark encompass its extensive support for a diverse range of capture file formats, and it has the option of using color codes.


  • Robust Packet Analysis: Wireshark offers in-depth packet analysis capabilities, allowing users to dissect network traffic with precision.
  • Open Source: It's an open-source tool, making it cost-effective for budget-conscious users.
  • Extensive Protocol Support: Wireshark supports a wide range of network protocols (TCP, UDP, and DHCP), ensuring comprehensive analysis.


  • Steep Learning Curve: Due to its feature-rich nature, Wireshark may be challenging for beginners.
  • Resource Intensive: It can consume significant system resources during packet capture and analysis.
  • Lack of Real-time Analysis: Wireshark primarily focuses on post-capture analysis, lacking robust real-time monitoring features.

Expert Opinion

In my expert opinion, Wireshark stands out as a top-notch packet analysis tool for those with a solid understanding of network protocols. Moreover, its extensive protocol support and open-source nature are commendable.

However, beginners might find the learning curve steep, and real-time analysis enthusiasts may need to complement it with other tools. Wireshark is best suited for professionals who require granular insights into network traffic for troubleshooting and security purposes.

Wireshark Review: The Bottom Line

As a matter of fact, what sets Wireshark apart is its unparalleled ability to provide deep insights into network traffic, backed by a vast community of users and developers.

Moreover, its standout features include robust packet analysis and extensive protocol support. If you're seeking a tool to decipher the intricacies of network traffic, using Wireshark is your go-to choice.

Also, one more thing worth mentioning is that Wireshark allows users to enable promiscuous mode on compatible network interface controllers, enabling them to observe all traffic visible on that specific interface.

Wireshark Deep Dive

Product Specifications

  1. Packet Capture: Yes
  2. Protocol Analysis: Yes
  3. Real-time Monitoring: No
  4. Reporting and Alerts: Yes
  5. SSL Decryption: No
  6. Network Visualization: No
  7. Deep Packet Inspection: Yes
  8. Packet Filtering: Yes
  9. VoIP Analysis: Yes
  10. Intrusion Detection: No
  11. Custom Scripting: Yes
  12. Wi-Fi Analysis: Yes
  13. Cloud Integration: No
  14. SNMP Support: Yes
  15. API Access: Yes
  16. Forensic Analysis: Yes
  17. User Activity Monitoring: No
  18. Multi-Platform Support: Yes
  19. Mobile App: No
  20. Traffic Shaping: No
  21. VPN Analysis: Yes
  22. Exporting Capabilities: Yes
  23. Collaboration Tools: No

Standout Functionality

  1. Robust Packet Analysis: Wireshark's in-depth packet analysis capabilities set it apart from other network sniffer tech software, allowing users to dissect network traffic with precision.
  2. Extensive Protocol Support: Wireshark's support for a wide range of network protocols ensures comprehensive analysis, making it a go-to choice for professionals.


Wireshark provides native integrations with various network analysis tools, including Nmap and tcpdump. Additionally, it offers an API for custom integrations and extends its capabilities through add-ons like TShark.

Wireshark Pricing

In fact, Wireshark is open-source and available for free, making it an economical choice for users of all budgets. There are no additional costs associated with its use.

Ease of Use

Wireshark's user interface can be complex for beginners due to its feature-rich nature. The onboarding process may require some effort, but experienced users will find it powerful and intuitive.

Customer Support

Wireshark's support primarily relies on its active community and extensive documentation. While the community is helpful, formal customer support channels such as live chat or dedicated support teams are not available, which can be a drawback for some users.

Wireshark review screenshot showing network analysis
This is what network analysis looks like in Wireshark.

Wireshark Use Case

Who Would Be A Good Fit For Wireshark?

In fact, Wireshark is an invaluable tool for network administrators, security professionals, and IT teams in a variety of environments. Moreover, it thrives in large enterprises where network complexity demands granular packet analysis.

So, loyal and avid customers often include cybersecurity experts and network gurus who require precise insights into network performance and security breaches.

Furthermore, Wireshark shines in industries like finance, healthcare, and e-commerce, where data security is paramount. It's well-suited for mid-sized to large companies with dedicated IT teams that can harness its powerful capabilities effectively.

Who Would Be A Bad Fit For Wireshark?

As a matter of fact, Wireshark may not be the best fit for beginners or small businesses with limited IT resources. Moreover, those looking for real-time network monitoring solutions might find it lacking in that department. Customers who require extensive customer support with formal channels, such as live chat or dedicated support teams, might be disappointed, as Wireshark primarily relies on its community and documentation.

Additionally, industries with strict compliance requirements that necessitate specialized network monitoring tools might not find Wireshark to be the ideal choice.

Wireshark Review FAQs

What platforms does Wireshark support?

Wireshark is available for several operating systems such as Windows, Mac (macOS), and Linux.

Is Wireshark open-source?

Yes, Wireshark is an open-source packet analyzer.

Does Wireshark offer real-time network monitoring?

No, Wireshark primarily focuses on post-capture packet analysis.

Can Wireshark decrypt SSL traffic?

No, Wireshark does not have built-in SSL decryption capabilities.

Does Wireshark provide customer support?

Wireshark relies on its community and documentation for support; formal customer support channels are limited.

Is Wireshark suitable for small businesses?

Wireshark is better suited for mid-sized to large companies with dedicated IT teams.

What industries benefit most from Wireshark?

Industries such as finance, healthcare, and e-commerce often find Wireshark invaluable for network security and performance analysis.

Can Wireshark be used for real-time intrusion detection?

While Wireshark provides insights into network traffic, it's not designed primarily for real-time intrusion detection.

Alternatives to Wireshark

  • SolarWinds Network Performance Monitor: Known for its robust real-time monitoring capabilities, ideal for proactive network management.
  • Tcpdump: A command-line packet analyzer for those comfortable with command-line tools, offering extensive flexibility.
  • PRTG Network Monitor: Provides a user-friendly interface and comprehensive network monitoring features suitable for SMBs and larger enterprises.

Wireshark Company Overview & History

In fact, Wireshark is developed by The Wireshark Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to maintaining and improving the Wireshark software. A wide range of companies, from Fortune 500 giants to small startups, use it.

Moreover, the foundation's mission is to provide a top-notch, open-source packet analyzer to the global community.

Wireshark was initially created by Gerald Combs in 1998 and has since become the de facto standard for network packet analysis. Furthermore, its headquarters are in San Jose, California, and notable contributors include Gerald Combs and various open-source enthusiasts.


Overall, what we can conclude from this Wireshark review is that Wireshark is a powerful, open-source packet analyzer that excels in providing deep insights into network traffic, making it an indispensable tool for network administrators and cybersecurity professionals in mid-sized to large enterprises. Its extensive protocol support and robust packet analysis capabilities set it apart.

However, beginners and small businesses may find it challenging to navigate, and those in need of real-time monitoring might need to supplement it with other tools. So, I invite you to share your experiences and insights in the comments below.

By Paulo Gardini Miguel

Paulo is the Director of Technology at the rapidly growing media tech company BWZ. Prior to that, he worked as a Software Engineering Manager and then Head Of Technology at Navegg, Latin America’s largest data marketplace, and as Full Stack Engineer at MapLink, which provides geolocation APIs as a service. Paulo draws insight from years of experience serving as an infrastructure architect, team leader, and product developer in rapidly scaling web environments. He’s driven to share his expertise with other technology leaders to help them build great teams, improve performance, optimize resources, and create foundations for scalability.