Book Review: Practical Packet Analysis: Using Wireshark to Solve Real-World Network Problems

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Credit: No Starch Press

The overall equation is pretty simple: If you want to understand network traffic, you really should install Wireshark. And, if you really want to use Wireshark effectively, you should consider this book. Already in its third edition, Practical Packet Analysis both explains how Wireshark works and provides expert guidance on how you can use the tool to solve real-world network problems.

Yes, there are other packet analyzers, but Wireshark is one of the best, works on Windows, Mac, and Linux, and is free and open source. And, yes, there are other books, but this one focuses both on understanding the tool and using it to address the kind of problems that you're likely to encounter.

Practical Packet Analysis will help you to fully understand packet analysis. It will show you how to:

  • capture packets
  • work with captured packets
  • follow packet streams
  • make use of Wireshark's graphical interface
  • understand both transport and upper-layer protocols
  • address the kind of problems you're likely to encounter
  • and use Wireshark to do packet analysis and track down security issues

The book provides clear, understandable explanations and a good focus on the things you need to understand and will walk you through the process with enough examples to prepare you to work on your own.

Here's the Table of Contents:

Introduction
Chapter 1: Packet Analysis and Network Basics
Chapter 2: Tapping into the Wire
Chapter 3: Introduction to Wireshark
Chapter 4: Working with Captured Packets
Chapter 5: Advanced Wireshark Features
Chapter 6: Packet Analysis on the Command Line
Chapter 7: Network Layer Protocols
Chapter 8: Transport Layer Protocols
Chapter 9: Common Upper-Layer Protocols
Chapter 10: Basic Real-World Scenarios
Chapter 11: Fighting a Slow Network
Chapter 12: Packet Analysis for Security
Chapter 13: Wireless Packet Analysis
Appendix A: Further Reading
Appendix B: Navigating Packets

A detailed Table of Contents can be downloaded from the No Starch Press site.

If you've ever had to drill down to the packet level of network traffic, fully grasp the seven layers of the OSI model, or solve difficult network problems, you are likely to enjoy the clear explanations and walk-throughs provided. With lots of step-by-step instructions, you won't have to be a Wireshark pro to get value out of this book and you're likely to get some valuable insights even if you've been analyzing network traffic for a while. Anyone totally new to packet analysis and Wireshark can learn what they need to become a packet analysis professional.

Well written, insightful, thorough, and practical, this book will be valuable to anyone wanting to understand and analyze network traffic. Even if you're starting from scratch, you're likely to love this book.

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