North American Network Operators Group

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Re: using sniffer on high-bandwidth pipes

  • From: Steve Francis
  • Date: Fri Dec 03 11:10:24 2004

It probably depends more on pps than bandwidth.
At a prior job, I used FreeBSD 4.x machines to capture over 400,000 pps, I think, on gigabit links.
You need a nic that is supported with one of the device polling drivers to keep CPU manageable. (Intel, not yet broadcom.)

FreeBSD far surpassed Solaris in packet capture performance.

Linux 2.6 machines may do OK, using NAPI - but I've no experience with that.

todd romero wrote:

does anyone have expirience using a sniffer on a hi-capacity network
segment, that might know if there are limitations I need to worry about?

example: customers doing EMC database replication across a mpls link, and
when the capacity reaches aprox. 250 Mbp/s packets are arriving out of
sequence etc. So we need to put sniffers on both sides to capture some
data to see whats happeneing when the capacity reaches 250mbps.

what kind of system requirements would be needed to be able to be able to
capture that amount of data. For some reason, I dont think that the Dolch
Pac 65 sniffers we have (running nt4 and sniffer pro2) would be able to
handle that kind of data? If they cant, we can probbaly use a sun box.
what kind of specs would the box need?