Basic packet sniffing with Wireshark

Do you ever wonder what is going across your home network? You can see most of what’s going on using Wireshark, a free packet sniffer.

    1. Download Wireshark at and install it.
    2. Start up the program and you will see a list of network interfaces (“points of interconnection between a computer and a private or public network” –Oracle). Double-click the one that says “Wi-Fi.” That’s the traffic from and to your wireless router.
    3. Open a web browser and visit some pages. After a few seconds, go back to Wireshark and press the red box in the menu bar to stop the capture.

4. You can also search for the type of traffic, if you wish, by entering HTTP or TCP (or other) in the “Apply a display filter” box at top left (highlighted)

For this traffic capture you can see at top right that I have highlighted an HTTP (website) packet. I used this one because the radio station website I am visiting in my browser is unencrypted (i.e. HTTP, not HTTPS, which is secure) and I can view the contents of the packet. The bottom highlighted section shows the request my browser made, i.e. you can see “liveplayer,” which is the radio player on that site.

5. Alternately, below you will see gibberish when the traffic is encrypted.


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