Quick tip: Capture Linux network packets to a file

by on September 24, 2007 · 5 comments· LAST UPDATED September 24, 2007

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tcpdump command dump traffic on a network in real time. It prints out a description of the contents of packets on a network interface.

How do I capture network packets to a file?

By default traffic is dumped on a screen. To capture these packets to a file, enter the following command as the root user:
# tcpdump -i eth0 -w traffic.eth0

How do I read packets from a file?

The -w flag causes it to save the packet data to a file called traffic.eth0 for later analysis, and/or with the -r flag, which causes it to read from a saved packet file rather than to read packets from a network interface:
# tcpdump -r traffic.eth0

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Artem Nosulchik September 25, 2007 at 7:56 am

Nice tip, Vivek! Also it would be useful to send these captured packets with tool Bit-twist.
An example of it’s usage is available here.


2 nixCraft September 25, 2007 at 11:50 am


Thanks for sharing Bit-Twist. I will check it out :)


3 raisa January 7, 2010 at 4:46 am

does tcpdump support tcp packet reassembly?? if not how can reassembly be implemented?


4 assfou March 28, 2012 at 3:34 pm

Many Tks.

also the captured can also be viwed in wireshark. :):)


5 desperado0804 June 10, 2012 at 5:24 am

Thx for the tip! Well we can also use AthTek NetWalk to help capture Linux network packets


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