A packet sniffer intercepts and logs network packets, allows a network user to analyze and review network data.
A packet analyzer, also known as packet sniffer, protocol analyzer, or network analyzer, is a computer program or computer hardware such as a packet capture appliance, that can intercept and log traffic that passes over a computer network or part of a network. Packet capture is the process of intercepting and logging traffic. As data streams flow across the network, the analyzer captures each packet and, if needed, decodes the packet's raw data, showing the values of various fields in the packet, and analyzes its content according to the appropriate RFC or other specifications.
A packet analyzer used for intercepting traffic on wireless networks is known as a wireless analyzer or WiFi analyzer. While a packet analyzer can also be referred to as a network analyzer or protocol analyzer these terms can also have other meanings. Protocol analyzer can technically be a broader, more general class that includes packet analyzers/sniffers. However, the terms are frequently used interchangeably.