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Supposedly I need a network analyzer. What is it for?

Posted on 2010-11-30
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Last Modified: 2012-06-27
Hey guys,
So my parents have a small company (approx 8 employees) and my mother told me about some security check they got done on their network. That is about the extent of the detail she gave me. She said something about in order to pass it they had to promise to get a network analyzer. The company has a server that holds information on clients etc. Naturally, my parents came to me being the comp sci student to take care of it. I've never even heard of one until now. I'm not sure what I'm looking for and what the purpose is. I did a few searches and it seems like there are hardware and software network analyzers but they seem pretty different. Any help/suggestions would be appreciated. Just kind of lost atm.
Thanks
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Question by:Zimbawan
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Assisted Solution

by:Anglo
Anglo earned 333 total points
ID: 34238437
A network analyser is a device that monitors and captures each packet it sees.  With this capture you can then analyse who sent what to whom and what traffic.  It can be a useful tool for diagnosis once in a blue moon but I cannot see the purpose in such a small network.  Also in a switched environment you need a managed switch to be able to "miiror" traffic on the port that you want to monitor to the port the analyser is connected to or else all you are going to see is broadcast packets.
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Author Comment

by:Zimbawan
ID: 34241665
Okay I was able to probe my mom for some more info. She said it had to do with the security company they run credit cards through. Apparently she had to agree to get a wireless analyzer in order to keep running credit cards. So I guess we just need to get one even though it probably wont serve much of a purpose. Anyone have any suggestions on which wireless analyzer to get?
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by:Anglo
Anglo earned 333 total points
ID: 34246553
Take a look at this, it might give you a few pointers.  http://www.wardrive.net/security/tools
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Accepted Solution

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Rick_O_Shay earned 167 total points
ID: 34248105
Wireshark is a free network analyzer which can be run on the PC's wireless interface to capture packets there if that will satisfy their requirement.
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Author Closing Comment

by:Zimbawan
ID: 34248398
Thanks guys
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