35. Reports » Tools » Packets

The Reports » Tools panel contains the Packets item only when there is at least one Packet Sensor or Packet Filter in use. The number of packet dumps active is displayed within the panel.

In this tab, you can capture packets and view the packet dumps captured manually by Console users or automatically via a Response. Console provides an integrated packet analyzer that resembles the popular Wireshark software.

35.1. Active Packet Captures

Administrators, operators, and guests with packet capturing privileges can generate packet dumps by clicking the [Capture Packets] button.


New Packet Capture parameters:

Description – An optional short description to help you identify the packet dump
Packet Sensor(s) – Select one or more Packet Sensors that will capture the packets. Guest accounts may have limited visibility
BPF Expression – Entering a BPF expression is mandatory. To capture every IP packet, enter “ip”. Click the star icon on the right to open a window that describes the BPF (Berkley Packet Filter) syntax. Frequently used BPF expressions can be saved there and reused at a later time
Max. Running Time – Maximum running time of the capturing thread
Stop Capture Time – When Max. Running Time is set to Unlimited, you can set the exact time when the capturing thread stops
Max. File Size (MB) – This option is used for splitting packet dumps into multiple files of <number> Mbytes. Before writing a raw packet to a file, Packet Sensor checks whether the file is currently larger than <number> and, if so, closes the current file and opens a new one
Max. Packets – The capture stops after receiving <number> packets
Max. Files Number – Setting this will limit the number of files created for the specified <number>, and begin overwriting files from the beginning, thus creating a “rotating” buffer. In addition, it will name the files with enough leading 0s to support the maximum number of files, allowing them to sort correctly
Time Rotation (s) – If specified, this rotates the file every <number> seconds
Sampling Type & Value – Select None when no packet sampling is required. Select 1 / Value to save just one packet every <value> packets. Select Value / 5s to save up to <value> packets every 5 seconds
Packet Payload – Select Full to capture the entire packet, Only Layer 3 to zero-out the packet’s payload except for the IP header, or Only Layer 4 to retain only the TCP, UDP, and ICMP headers
Snapshot Length – Sniff <number> bytes of data from each packet rather than the default of 65535 bytes. Taking larger snapshots increases the time it takes to process packets and effectively decreases packet buffering. This may cause packets to be lost. You should limit this <number> to the smallest number that will capture the protocol information you are interested in
Filename Prefix – Name of the packet dump file. If any file-rotation options are used, a number will be appended to the filename
Comments – This field may contain comments about the packet dump

When there is at least one packet dump active, the following table is displayed in the content area:

Status – Indicates the status of the capture process. It is green it’s running properly, and red if it’s not
Packet Logger – Shows the Packet Sensor or Packet Filter used for capturing the packets
Packets / Dropped – Number of packets captured and number of packets dropped
Files / Size – Number of dump files generated and the size of the latest dump file
Description [BPF] – Description and the BPF expression used for the dump
From – The time when the capture process started
Until – Time limit or other conditions that will cause the capturing process to stop
Sampling – Type of sampling used
Payload – The value of the Packet Payload parameter
Comments – The content of the Comments parameter
Actions – Click on the first icon to view the latest dump file in an integrated packet analyzer interface. Click on the second icon to download the latest dump file to your computer. If downloading does not work, but viewing does, increase the values of the max_execution_time and memory_limit from php.ini. Click the third icon to stop the capturing process

35.2. Packet Dump Archive

By default, the records are sorted by time in descending order. By clicking the down arrow of any column header, you can apply row filters, change sorting direction, and toggle columns’ visibility.

The [+] sign from the first column expands each row for additional information about the capture and provides access to the packet dump file(s).


If the packet dumps are not visible and the Packet Sensor / Packet Filter is running on a different server than the Console, follow the NFS shares configuration steps.