Paessler PRTG

Professional all-in-one
packet sniffing tool


  • icon check white 2
    PRTG monitors
    traffic and data packets
  • icon check white 2
    PRTG filters
    by IP address
  • icon check white 2
    PRTG filters
    by protocol
  • icon check white 2
    PRTG filters
    by data type






Packet sniffing with PRTG

PRTG's packet sniffing gives you valuable insights about your infrastructure and network performance. PRTG is a packet sniffer tool for Windows that offers a number of possibilities for monitoring everything like bandwidth and traffic. When monitoring data packets, PRTG uses different technologies like SNMP, Netflow, WMI, REST APIs and network sniffing.

The PRTG Dashboard shows clearly which applications use most bandwidth and how much traffic flows through your network. Thus you are able to stop bandwidth hogs and put your resources to better use.

What is packet sniffing?

Packet sniffing is the process of capturing each packet that is transmitted over the network and analyzing its content. Most of the time, packet sniffing is used to troubleshoot network problems or to gather network statistics. The software or device used for capturing packet data is called packet sniffer, packet analyzer, network sniffer or simply network analyzer.

The Packet Sniffing Tool PRTG offers a quick graphical overview as well as detailed statistics about different parameters such as CPU usage or network bandwidth.


The Packet Sniffer Sensor monitors, among other things:

  • Total traffic

  • Port sniffer
  • Web traffic (HTTP, HTTPS)

  • Mail traffic (IMAP, POP3, SMTP)

  • File transfer traffic (FTP, P2P)

  • Infrastructure traffic (DHCP, DNS, ICMP, SNMP)

  • Remote control (RDP, SSH, VNC)

  • Other UDP and TCP traffic


Desktop, smartphone, tablet... you can use the packet analyzer of PRTG on all your devices. And that means you'll always know if everything is alright with your network.


 iWhat is packet sniffing?

Packet sniffing is the practice of gathering, collecting, and logging some or all packets that pass through a computer network, regardless of how the packet is addressed.
Read more


Network sniffing: Why PRTG is the tool for you


Constant and comprehensive overview

PRTG toplists provide for easy-to-read charts of protocols, connections, and the IP addresses of devices. Our software also comes with a network sniffer that lets you immediately see what is going on at a glance. The PRTG Packet Sniffer Sensor is configured to keep data volumes as low as possible. At the same time, it provides comprehensive data and displays this data in "Top 100” lists.


Multiple network sniffing options

Along with packet sniffing, PRTG uses other monitoring protocols such as SNMPWMI for Windows, and Flow technologies including NetFlowsFlow, and jFlow. You can therefore decide on a case-by-case basis which protocol works best for you. For example, you may decide to use NetFlow for your Cisco hardware or resource-conserving SNMP for an overview of your overall traffic. PRTG is the perfect network sniffer for all your hardware.


More than just a network sniffer

PRTG is more than just a network sniffing tool – it is also comprehensive monitoring software. It lets you monitor all your vital hardware parameters, including CPU and memory. In the trial edition of PRTG, all sensors are available free of charge. This edition also comes with a customizable alarm and reports feature. PRTG is an all-in-one network monitoring tool!


An introduction to monitoring with PRTG


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“For us, PRTG Network Monitor is the most effective tool for monitoring our IT infrastructure in the long run.”

Oliver Jähn, IT Manager at the University of Bonn


Your Packet Sniffing software at a glance – even on the go

Set up PRTG in minutes and use it on almost any mobile device.


PRTG comes with all the features you need, plus more your IT infrastructure won't want to live without.



PRTG monitors these vendors and applications in one view!


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Packet analysis: Tips and information

Packet analysis at a glance

Many administrators are interested in running targeted packet analyses, packet loss, or network diagnoses. These analyses and diagnoses often dig deeper than regular packet sniffing processes.

Packet analysis tools

Software and tools such as Wireshark are designed for analyzing packets. You can use these tools to look inside individual packets and analyze their content. However, you'll need to know exactly which packets you want to analyze, otherwise data volumes can quickly get out of control.

Packet analysis recommendations

Packet analysis software is sometimes iffy and not always suitable for all situations. PRTG, on the other hand, is ideal for both tests and sniffing. You can also use our tool to exclude a number of potential error sources in advance – and then perform a targeted packet analysis.


The essentials of traffic sniffing

Mail traffic sniffer

IT managers and system administrators need to be informed immediately if mail traffic suddenly goes through the roof. Spikes in traffic can be caused by a single email. On the other hand, maybe your mail server has been attacked. Traffic sniffing is therefore vital to the security of your network. More on email monitoring.

File transfer sniffing

You’ll also want to keep an eye on your FTP servers. Here, traffic sniffing means making sure uploads and downloads function properly. But that’s not all: it also lets you detect disruptions or unusual spikes in data.
More on FTP monitoring.


PRTG makes your job easier

Our monitoring software frees you to focus on other tasks by promptly notifying you of potential issues.


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Save effort

PRTG gives you one central monitoring tool for your servers and entire network. Enjoy a quick overview of your whole infrastructure via our dashboard and app.

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Save time

Getting started with PRTG is a breeze. Setting up or switching from another network monitoring tool is easy thanks to the auto-discovery and pre-configured device templates.

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Save money

80% of our customers report substantial cost savings with network monitoring. Your costs of licenses will likely pay for themselves within weeks.





Trusted by 500,000 users and recognized
by industry analysts as a leader


“Fantastic network and infrastructure monitoring solution that is easy to deploy and easier still to use. Simply the best available.”

Read more reviews

“Software is absolutely perfect, Support is superior. Meets all needs and requirements, this is a must have solution if you are needing any form of monitoring.”

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“The tool excels at its primary focus of being a unified infrastructure management and network monitoring service.”

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stephan linke

“Hey Stephan, do you have any tips for packet sniffing with PRTG?”

“The Packet Sniffer Sensor allows you to analyze traffic in your network in much the same way as deep packet inspection. You can see, for example, if mail traffic is alarmingly high, or if P2P file sharing is being used in your company network and thus posing a risk to network security.”

Stephan Linke, Paessler Technical Support


If we've struck a chord, then you should try PRTG!




 i How PRTG defines sensors

In PRTG, “sensors” are the basic monitoring elements. One sensor usually monitors one measured value in your network, e.g. the traffic of a switch port, the CPU load of a server, the free space of a disk drive. On average you need about 5-10 sensors per device or one sensor per switch port.

View video (3:26 min.)

consumption trends

Practical example #1:
Packet sniffing for promptly
identifying consumption trends

A server administrator at a medium-sized company with around 5,000 employees finds that for two days, bandwidth use has increased sharply. Using the PRTG Packet Sniffer Sensor, he determines that a new cloud app is using too much bandwidth, resulting in additional demands on the network infrastructure.

Packet Sniffing

Practical example #2:
Packet sniffing for monitoring bandwidth

An administrator at a company with around 15,000 employees would like to find out if it is possible to cut back on the amount of bandwidth that is ordered from his bandwidth service provider. Using the SNMP Sensor and Packet Sniffer Sensor, he determines that the company's total bandwidth consumption is significantly lower than the amount which has been purchased. By using the packet analyzer, costs can be reduced in the long term.


Practical example #3:
Packet sniffing for increasing security

An administrator at a medium-sized medical technology company filters traffic according to IP addresses and protocols. He uses a packet analyzer and finds that P2P data is circulating via a certain IP address outside business hours. He may therefore be dealing with a network security problem, which thanks to PRTG monitoring can quickly be fixed.


Definition: Packet sniffing, LAN sniffer

What is packet sniffing?

Sniffers let you check anomalies and monitor the overall status of your hardware and software. If changes occur, they notify you at once. There is a wide selection of packet sniffing tools and providers on the market. For the past 20 years, Paessler AG has been a leader in the field of network monitoring, and in particular, packet sniffing. The company’s standout product, PRTG, is a centralized network analysis tool used by more than 200,000 administrators worldwide.

What is a LAN sniffer?

Many administrators are in search of LAN or WiFi sniffers. Why? Because spikes in LAN traffic can lead to malfunctions and disruptions, causing performance to plummet. LAN sniffing is also useful for getting an overall idea of the resources and data types that are generating the most traffic.

What is packet monitoring?

Sniffing and monitoring are quite similar. Sniffing is a concrete, isolated process. You sniff to get to the root of a problem. Packet monitoring, on the other hand, is continuous. It notifies you in the event of changes.


A comparison of traffic monitoring: WMI, SNMP, packet sniffing, NetFlow


How do you want to set up your bandwidth monitoring? PRTG comes with a variety of options, including WMI, SNMP monitoring, packet sniffing, and NetFlow monitoring. Each of these tools has its own pluses and minuses. A summary:





Packet Sniffer

Flow (IPFIX, NetFlow, sFlow, jFlow)




Easy to complex (depending on filter rules used)

Can be complex (e.g., the switch must be configured)

Traffic can be filtered





Differentiate bandwidth usage by protocol or IPs





PRTG can show Toplists (Top Talker, Top Connections, Top Protocols, custom)





Filter bandwidth usage by IP





Filter bandwidth usage by MAC address





Filter bandwidth usage by physical network port





Monitor network parameters other than bandwidth usage





CPU load on the machine running PRTG



Higher, depends on the amount of traffic

Higher, depends on the amount of traffic

Excess bandwidth usage of monitoring



None (except when monitoring switch ports are used)

Depends on the traffic









Reader tips from our Knowledge Base

With PRTG, you get free access to a vast amount of support! On business days, we usually answer your questions within 24 hours. We also offer an extensive user manual and numerous videos and tutorials. You'll find answers to many of your questions in our knowledge base. Here are two reader tips on packet sniffing to enable you to adapt PRTG individually and dynamically to meet your specific needs using an API:


Configuring the packet sniffer

You have two options for filtering data traffic via packet sniffing.


Option #1: Monitoring data traffic on one computer

If you wish to monitor just one single computer - such as your web server - then do the following:
Install a remote probe on the computer. Create the Packet Sniffer Sensor on the probe device and select the kind of traffic you would like to monitor. You can usually choose between the most important network protocols.

data traffic

Option #2: Monitor all your data traffic

If you wish to monitor your entire IT infrastructure, you must ensure that all your data traffic is captured. Set up a monitoring port on a central router or switch. Use a network cable to connect the router or switch to the network card of a computer that is running a PRTG probe. Copies of all data packets are now traveling via your probe system and you can create a packet sniffer on the corresponding probe device. Filter according to the information you wish you monitor.


Create innovative solutions with Paessler’s partners

Partnering with innovative vendors, Paessler unleashes synergies to create
new and additional benefits for joined customers.


By integrating PRTG with Martello iQ, you can add a fast analytics layer to improve uptime, visualize your IT environment, and integrate all of your IT systems into a single pane of glass.

Read more


Integrating monitoring results from PRTG into NetBrain maps makes the foundation for network automation.

Read more


Siemon and Paessler bring together intelligent building technology and advanced monitoring and make your vision of intelligent buildings and data centers become reality.

Read more


PRTG the multi-tool

PRTG: The multi-tool for sysadmins

Adapt PRTG individually and dynamically to your needs and rely on a strong API:

  • HTTP API: Access monitoring data and manipulate monitoring objects via HTTP requests
  • Custom sensors: Create your own PRTG sensors for customized monitoring
  • Custom notifications: Create your own notifications and send action triggers to external systems
  • REST Custom sensor: Monitor almost everything that provides data in XML or JSON format


Still not convinced?



More than 500,000 sysadmins love PRTG

Paessler PRTG is used by companies of all sizes. Sysadmins love PRTG because it makes their job a whole lot easier.

Still not convinced?


Monitor your entire IT infrastructure

Bandwidth, servers, virtual environments, websites, VoIP services – PRTG keeps an eye on your entire network.



Try Paessler PRTG for free

Everyone has different monitoring needs. That’s why we let you try PRTG for free. Start now with your trial.




Network Monitoring Software - Version (June 13th, 2024)


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


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Supported Vendors & Applications

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