IP Packet Sniffer

Monitor Bandwidth Using the PRTG IP Packet Sniffer

Using a bandwidth monitor is key for effective network management: software such as Paessler's IP packet sniffer PRTG lets you determine how much bandwidth computers and applications in your network use. This way, the bandwidth controller makes it easy to detect and prevent bottlenecks and helps you to ensure quality of service.

What is Packet Sniffing?

Packet sniffing is a technology which captures and scans the data flows in your network. The IP packet sniffer looks at every single packet and analyzes its content based on predefined parameters. As a result, you get very detailed monitoring data, such as source and destination IP addresses, MAC addresses, port numbers, protocols, etc.  In addition, PRTG's packet sniffing functionality can be used to generate top lists, which enable administrators to recognize detailed usage trends, sources and destinations of individual communications via the network, as well as the details of the traffic flowing within the network.

Limitations to the IP Packet Sniffer

Packet sniffing puts quite a heavy load on the server running PRTG and on the router. For this reason, in some situations it might be worth considering one of the other bandwidth monitoring technologies offered by PRTG:

  • If you just need a simple router bandwidth monitor that shows you how much bandwidth your organization is using as a whole, SNMP bandwidth monitoring should be enough. This monitoring method only gives you aggregated data, but uses up very little resources.
  • If you are using NetFlow enabled Cisco devices, you can also use the NetFlow protocol to monitor network bandwidth. This technology gives you very detailed data, but keeps the load on your server quite low.

However, PRTG also offers a clever way to reduce the load caused by the IP packet sniffer: distributed monitoring using remote probes. This way, the CPU load is supported by different servers.

PRTG is a better alternative to Ethereal.

PRTG Network Monitor

PRTG is much more than a bandwidth meter. The Windows monitor checks the availability of network devices, can be used as performance test software, monitors the quality of VoIP connections, etc. Thus it gives you a complete overview of your network, makes network diagnostics and troubleshooting easy and makes efficient and trouble-free network management possible.

Free Download
  • Unlimited version of PRTG for 30 days
  • After 30 days, PRTG reverts to a free version
  • Or, you can upgrade to a paid license anytime


Network Monitoring Software - Version (May 24th, 2023)


Download for Windows and cloud-based version PRTG Hosted Monitor available


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Up to 100 sensors for free (Price List)

Unified Monitoring

Network devices, bandwidth, servers, applications, virtual environments, remote systems, IoT, and more

Supported Vendors & Applications

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Create innovative solutions with Paessler’s IT partners

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