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PCAP(3PCAP)                                                                                      PCAP(3PCAP)



NAME
       pcap - Packet Capture library

SYNOPSIS
       #include <pcap/pcap.h>


DESCRIPTION
       The  Packet Capture library provides a high level interface to packet capture systems. All packets on
       the network, even those destined for other hosts, are accessible through  this  mechanism.   It  also
       supports saving captured packets to a ``savefile'', and reading packets from a ``savefile''.

   Opening a capture handle for reading
       To  open  a  handle for a live capture, given the name of the network or other interface on which the
       capture should be done, call pcap_create(), set the appropriate options on the handle, and then acti-vate activate
       vate it with pcap_activate().

       To  obtain  a list of devices that can be opened for a live capture, call pcap_findalldevs(); to free
       the list returned by pcap_findalldevs(), call pcap_freealldevs().  pcap_lookupdev() will  return  the
       first device on that list that is not a ``loopback`` network interface.

       To  open  a  handle  for a ``savefile'' from which to read packets, given the pathname of the ``save-file'', ``savefile'',
       file'', call pcap_open_offline(); to set up a handle for a ``savefile'', given a FILE * referring  to
       a file already opened for reading, call pcap_fopen_offline().

       In  order  to get a ``fake'' pcap_t for use in routines that require a pcap_t as an argument, such as
       routines  to  open  a  ``savefile''  for  writing  and  to  compile   a   filter   expression,   call
       pcap_open_dead().

       pcap_create(),  pcap_open_offline(), pcap_fopen_offline(), and pcap_open_dead() return a pointer to a
       pcap_t, which is the handle used for reading packets from the capture stream or the ``savefile'', and
       for  finding  out  information  about  the  capture  stream  or ``savefile''.  To close a handle, use
       pcap_close().

       The options that can be set on a capture handle include

       snapshot length
              If, when capturing, you capture the entire contents of the packet, that requires more CPU time
              to  copy the packet to your application, more disk and possibly network bandwidth to write the
              packet data to a file, and more disk space to save the packet.  If you don't need  the  entire
              contents of the packet - for example, if you are only interested in the TCP headers of packets
              - you can set the "snapshot length" for the capture to an appropriate value.  If the  snapshot
              length is set to snaplen, and snaplen is less than the size of a packet that is captured, only
              the first snaplen bytes of that packet will be captured and provided as packet data.

              A snapshot length of 65535 should be sufficient, on most if not all networks, to  capture  all
              the data available from the packet.

              The snapshot length is set with pcap_set_snaplen().

       promiscuous mode
              On  broadcast  LANs such as Ethernet, if the network isn't switched, or if the adapter is con-nected connected
              nected to a "mirror port" on a switch to which all packets  passing  through  the  switch  are
              sent,  a network adapter receives all packets on the LAN, including unicast or multicast pack-ets packets
              ets not sent to a network address that the network adapter isn't configured to recognize.

              Normally, the adapter will discard those  packets;  however,  many  network  adapters  support
              "promiscuous  mode",  which  is  a  mode in which all packets, even if they are not sent to an
              address that the adapter recognizes, are provided to the host.  This is useful  for  passively
              capturing traffic between two or more other hosts for analysis.

              Note  that  even if an application does not set promiscuous mode, the adapter could well be in
              promiscuous mode for some other reason.

              For now, this doesn't work on the "any" device; if an argument of "any" or NULL  is  supplied,
              the setting of promiscuous mode is ignored.

              Promiscuous mode is set with pcap_set_promisc().

       monitor mode
              On IEEE 802.11 wireless LANs, even if an adapter is in promiscuous mode, it will supply to the
              host only frames for the network with which it's associated.  It might also supply  only  data
              frames,  not  management  or  control frames, and might not provide the 802.11 header or radio
              information pseudo-header for those frames.

              In "monitor mode", sometimes also called "rfmon mode" (for  "Radio  Frequency  MONitor"),  the
              adapter  will  supply  all  frames  that  it receives, with 802.11 headers, and might supply a
              pseudo-header with radio information about the frame as well.

              Note that in monitor mode the adapter might disassociate from  the  network  with  which  it's
              associated, so that you will not be able to use any wireless networks with that adapter.  This
              could prevent accessing files on  a  network  server,  or  resolving  host  names  or  network
              addresses,  if you are capturing in monitor mode and are not connected to another network with
              another adapter.

              Monitor mode is set with pcap_set_rfmon(), and pcap_can_set_rfmon() can be used  to  determine
              whether an adapter can be put into monitor mode.

       read timeout
              If,  when  capturing,  packets are delivered as soon as they arrive, the application capturing
              the packets will be woken up for each packet as it arrives, and might have to make one or more
              calls to the operating system to fetch each packet.

              If, instead, packets are not delivered as soon as they arrive, but are delivered after a short
              delay (called a "read timeout"), more than one packet can be accumulated  before  the  packets
              are  delivered,  so  that  a single wakeup would be done for multiple packets, and each set of
              calls made to the operating system would supply multiple packets, rather than a single packet.
              This  reduces  the  per-packet CPU overhead if packets are arriving at a high rate, increasing
              the number of packets per second that can be captured.

              The read timeout is required so that an application won't wait for the operating system's cap-ture capture
              ture buffer to fill up before packets are delivered; if packets are arriving slowly, that wait
              could take an arbitrarily long period of time.

              Not all platforms support a read timeout;  on  platforms  that  don't,  the  read  timeout  is
              ignored.  A zero value for the timeout, on platforms that support a read timeout, will cause a
              read to wait forever to allow enough packets to arrive, with no timeout.

              NOTE: the read timeout cannot be used to cause calls that read packets to return within a lim-ited limited
              ited  period  of  time,  because, on some platforms, the read timeout isn't supported, and, on
              other platforms, the timer doesn't start until at least one packet arrives.  This  means  that
              the  read  timeout should NOT be used, for example, in an interactive application to allow the
              packet capture loop to ``poll'' for user input periodically, as there's no  guarantee  that  a
              call reading packets will return after the timeout expires even if no packets have arrived.

              The read timeout is set with pcap_set_timeout().

       buffer size
              Packets  that arrive for a capture are stored in a buffer, so that they do not have to be read
              by the application as soon as they arrive.  On some platforms, the buffer's size can be set; a
              size that's too small could mean that, if too many packets are being captured and the snapshot
              length doesn't limit the amount of data that's buffered,  packets  could  be  dropped  if  the
              buffer fills up before the application can read packets from it, while a size that's too large
              could use more non-pageable operating system memory than is necessary to prevent packets  from
              being dropped.

              The buffer size is set with pcap_set_buffer_size().

       timestamp type
              On  some  platforms,  the time stamp given to packets on live captures can come from different
              sources that can have different resolutions or that can have different  relationships  to  the
              time  values  for  the  current time supplied by routines on the native operating system.  See
              pcap-tstamp(7) for a list of time stamp types.

              The time stamp type is set with pcap_set_tstamp_type().

       Reading packets from a network interface may require that you have special privileges:

       Under SunOS 3.x or 4.x with NIT or BPF:
              You must have read access to /dev/nit or /dev/bpf*.

       Under Solaris with DLPI:
              You must have read/write access to the network pseudo device, e.g.  /dev/le.  On at least some
              versions  of Solaris, however, this is not sufficient to allow tcpdump to capture in promiscu-ous promiscuous
              ous mode; on those versions of Solaris, you must be root, or the application capturing packets
              must be installed setuid to root, in order to capture in promiscuous mode.  Note that, on many
              (perhaps all) interfaces, if you don't capture in promiscuous mode, you will not see any  out-going outgoing
              going packets, so a capture not done in promiscuous mode may not be very useful.

              In  newer  versions  of Solaris, you must have been given the net_rawaccess privilege; this is
              both necessary and sufficient to give you access to the network pseudo-device -  there  is  no
              need  to  change  the  privileges  on that device.  A user can be given that privilege by, for
              example, adding that privilege to the user's defaultpriv key with the usermod (1M) command.

       Under HP-UX with DLPI:
              You must be root or the application capturing packets must be installed setuid to root.

       Under IRIX with snoop:
              You must be root or the application capturing packets must be installed setuid to root.

       Under Linux:
              You must be root or the application capturing packets must be installed setuid to root (unless
              your  distribution  has a kernel that supports capability bits such as CAP_NET_RAW and code to
              allow those capability bits to be given to particular accounts and to cause those bits  to  be
              set  on  a user's initial processes when they log in, in which case you  must have CAP_NET_RAW
              in order to capture and CAP_NET_ADMIN to enumerate network devices with, for example,  the  -D
              flag).

       Under ULTRIX and Digital UNIX/Tru64 UNIX:
              Any  user may capture network traffic.  However, no user (not even the super-user) can capture
              in promiscuous mode on an interface unless the super-user has enabled promiscuous-mode  opera-tion operation
              tion  on  that  interface using pfconfig(8), and no user (not even the super-user) can capture
              unicast traffic received by or sent by the machine on an interface unless the  super-user  has
              enabled  copy-all-mode operation on that interface using pfconfig, so useful packet capture on
              an interface probably requires that either promiscuous-mode  or  copy-all-mode  operation,  or
              both modes of operation, be enabled on that interface.

       Under BSD (this includes Mac OS X):
              You  must have read access to /dev/bpf* on systems that don't have a cloning BPF device, or to
              /dev/bpf on systems that do.  On BSDs with a devfs  (this  includes  Mac  OS  X),  this  might
              involve more than just having somebody with super-user access setting the ownership or permis-sions permissions
              sions on the BPF devices - it might involve configuring devfs to set the ownership or  permis-sions permissions
              sions every time the system is booted, if the system even supports that; if it doesn't support
              that, you might have to find some other way to make that happen at boot time.

       Reading a saved packet file doesn't require special privileges.

       The packets read from the handle may include a ``pseudo-header'' containing various forms  of  packet
       meta-data,  and probably includes a link-layer header whose contents can differ for different network
       interfaces.  To determine the format of the packets supplied by  the  handle,  call  pcap_datalink();
       http://www.tcpdump.org/linktypes.html  lists  the  values it returns and describes the packet formats
       that correspond to those values.

       To obtain the FILE * corresponding to a pcap_t opened for a ``savefile'', call pcap_file().

       Routines

              pcap_create(3PCAP)
                     get a pcap_t for live capture

              pcap_activate(3PCAP)
                     activate a pcap_t for live capture

              pcap_findalldevs(3PCAP)
                     get a list of devices that can be opened for a live capture

              pcap_freealldevs(3PCAP)
                     free list of devices

              pcap_lookupdev(3PCAP)
                     get first non-loopback device on that list

              pcap_open_offline(3PCAP)
                     open a pcap_t for a ``savefile'', given a pathname

              pcap_fopen_offline(3PCAP)
                     open a pcap_t for a ``savefile'', given a FILE *

              pcap_open_dead(3PCAP)
                     create a ``fake'' pcap_t

              pcap_close(3PCAP)
                     close a pcap_t

              pcap_set_snaplen(3PCAP)
                     set the snapshot length for a not-yet-activated pcap_t for live capture

              pcap_snapshot(3PCAP)
                     get the snapshot length for a pcap_t

              pcap_set_promisc(3PCAP)
                     set promiscuous mode for a not-yet-activated pcap_t for live capture

              pcap_set_rfmon(3PCAP)
                     set monitor mode for a not-yet-activated pcap_t for live capture

              pcap_can_set_rfmon(3PCAP)
                     determine whether monitor mode can be set for a pcap_t for live capture

              pcap_set_timeout(3PCAP)
                     set read timeout for a not-yet-activated pcap_t for live capture

              pcap_set_buffer_size(3PCAP)
                     set buffer size for a not-yet-activated pcap_t for live capture

              pcap_set_tstamp_type(3PCAP)
                     set time stamp type for a not-yet-activated pcap_t for live capture

              pcap_list_tstamp_types(3PCAP)
                     get list of available time stamp types for a not-yet-activated pcap_t for live capture

              pcap_free_tstamp_types(3PCAP)
                     free list of available time stamp types

              pcap_tstamp_type_val_to_name(3PCAP)
                     get name for a time stamp type

              pcap_tstamp_type_val_to_description(3PCAP)
                     get description for a time stamp type

              pcap_tstamp_name_to_val(3PCAP)
                     get time stamp type corresponding to a name

              pcap_datalink(3PCAP)
                     get link-layer header type for a pcap_t

              pcap_file(3PCAP)
                     get the FILE * for a pcap_t opened for a ``savefile''

              pcap_is_swapped(3PCAP)
                     determine whether a ``savefile'' being read came from a machine with the opposite  byte
                     order

              pcap_major_version(3PCAP)
              pcap_minor_version(3PCAP)
                     get the major and minor version of the file format version for a ``savefile''

   Selecting a link-layer header type for a live capture
       Some  devices  may  provide more than one link-layer header type.  To obtain a list of all link-layer
       header types provided by a device, call pcap_list_datalinks() on an activated pcap_t for the  device.
       To  free a list of link-layer header types, call pcap_free_datalinks().  To set the link-layer header
       type for a device, call pcap_set_datalink().  This should be done after the device has been activated
       but before any packets are read and before any filters are compiled or installed.

       Routines

              pcap_list_datalinks(3PCAP)
                     get a list of link-layer header types for a device

              pcap_free_datalinks(3PCAP)
                     free list of link-layer header types

              pcap_set_datalink(3PCAP)
                     set link-layer header type for a device

              pcap_datalink_val_to_name(3PCAP)
                     get name for a link-layer header type

              pcap_datalink_val_to_description(3PCAP)
                     get description for a link-layer header type

              pcap_datalink_name_to_val(3PCAP)
                     get link-layer header type corresponding to a name

   Reading packets
       Packets  are  read  with pcap_dispatch() or pcap_loop(), which process one or more packets, calling a
       callback routine for each packet, or with  pcap_next()  or  pcap_next_ex(),  which  return  the  next
       packet.   The  callback  for  pcap_dispatch()  and  pcap_loop()  is  supplied  a  pointer to a struct
       pcap_pkthdr, which includes the following members:

              ts     a struct timeval containing the time when the packet was captured

              caplen a bpf_u_int32 giving the number of bytes of the packet that are available from the cap-ture capture
                     ture

              len    a  bpf_u_int32  giving the length of the packet, in bytes (which might be more than the
                     number of bytes available from the capture, if the length of the packet is larger  than
                     the maximum number of bytes to capture).

       pcap_next_ex()  supplies  that pointer through a pointer argument.  pcap_next() is passed an argument
       that points to a struct pcap_pkthdr structure, and fills it in.

       The callback is also supplied a const u_char pointer to the first caplen  (as  given  in  the  struct
       pcap_pkthdr  a  pointer  to  which  is passed to the callback routine) bytes of data from the packet.
       This won't necessarily be the entire packet; to capture the entire packet, you will have to provide a
       value  for  snaplen  in  your call to pcap_set_snaplen() that is sufficiently large to get all of the
       packet's data - a value of 65535 should be sufficient on most if not  all  networks).   When  reading
       from  a  ``savefile'',  the  snapshot  length specified when the capture was performed will limit the
       amount of packet data available.  pcap_next() returns  that  pointer;  pcap_next_ex()  supplies  that
       pointer through a pointer argument.

       To force the loop in pcap_dispatch() or pcap_loop() to terminate, call pcap_breakloop().

       By  default,  when  reading  packets  from  an  interface opened for a live capture, pcap_dispatch(),
       pcap_next(), and pcap_next_ex() will, if no packets are currently available to be read, block waiting
       for  packets  to become available.  On some, but not all, platforms, if a read timeout was specified,
       the wait will terminate after the read timeout expires; applications should be prepared for this,  as
       it happens on some platforms, but should not rely on it, as it does not happen on other platforms.

       A  handle  can  be put into ``non-blocking mode'', so that those routines will, rather than blocking,
       return an indication that no packets are available to read.  Call pcap_setnonblock() to put a  handle
       into  non-blocking  mode or to take it out of non-blocking mode; call pcap_getnonblock() to determine
       whether a handle is in non-blocking mode.  Note that non-blocking mode does not work correctly in Mac
       OS X 10.6.

       Non-blocking  mode  is  often combined with routines such as select(2) or poll(2) or other routines a
       platform offers to wait for the availability of data on any of a set of descriptors.  To obtain,  for
       a  handle,  a  descriptor that can be used in those routines, call pcap_get_selectable_fd().  Not all
       handles have such a descriptor available; pcap_get_selectable_fd() will return -1 if no such descrip-tor descriptor
       tor  exists.   In addition, for various reasons, one or more of those routines will not work properly
       with the descriptor; the documentation for pcap_get_selectable_fd() gives details.

       Routines

              pcap_dispatch(3PCAP)
                     read a bufferful of packets from a pcap_t open for a live capture or the  full  set  of
                     packets from a pcap_t open for a ``savefile''

              pcap_loop(3PCAP)
                     read packets from a pcap_t until an interrupt or error occurs

              pcap_next(3PCAP)
                     read the next packet from a pcap_t without an indication whether an error occurred

              pcap_next_ex(3PCAP)
                     read the next packet from a pcap_t with an error indication on an error

              pcap_breakloop(3PCAP)
                     prematurely terminate the loop in pcap_dispatch() or pcap_loop()

              pcap_setnonblock(3PCAP)
                     set or clear non-blocking mode on a pcap_t

              pcap_getnonblock(3PCAP)
                     get the state of non-blocking mode for a pcap_t

              pcap_get_selectable_fd(3PCAP)
                     attempt  to  get  a descriptor for a pcap_t that can be used in calls such as select(2)
                     and poll(2)

   Filters
       In order to cause only certain packets to be returned when reading packets, a filter can be set on  a
       handle.   For  a  live capture, the filtering will be performed in kernel mode, if possible, to avoid
       copying ``uninteresting'' packets from the kernel to user mode.

       A filter can be specified as a text string; the syntax and semantics of the string are  as  described
       by  pcap-filter(7).   A  filter  string  is  compiled  into a program in a pseudo-machine-language by
       pcap_compile() and the resulting program can be made a filter for  a  handle  with  pcap_setfilter().
       The result of pcap_compile() can be freed with a call to pcap_freecode().  pcap_compile() may require
       a network mask for certain expressions in the filter string; pcap_lookupnet() can be used to find the
       network address and network mask for a given capture device.

       A compiled filter can also be applied directly to a packet that has been read using pcap_offline_fil-ter(). pcap_offline_filter().
       ter().

       Routines

              pcap_compile(3PCAP)
                     compile filter expression to a pseudo-machine-language code program

              pcap_freecode(3PCAP)
                     free a filter program

              pcap_setfilter(3PCAP)
                     set filter for a pcap_t

              pcap_lookupnet(3PCAP)
                     get network address and network mask for a capture device

              pcap_offline_filter(3PCAP)
                     apply a filter program to a packet

   Incoming and outgoing packets
       By default, libpcap will attempt to capture both packets sent by the machine and packets received  by
       the  machine.   To  limit  it to capturing only packets received by the machine or, if possible, only
       packets sent by the machine, call pcap_setdirection().

       Routines

              pcap_setdirection(3PCAP)
                     specify whether to capture incoming packets, outgoing packets, or both

   Capture statistics
       To get statistics about packets received and dropped in a live capture, call pcap_stats().

       Routines

              pcap_stats(3PCAP)
                     get capture statistics

   Opening a handle for writing captured packets
       To open a ``savefile`` to which to write packets, given the pathname the  ``savefile''  should  have,
       call  pcap_dump_open().   To  open  a  ``savefile`` to which to write packets, given the pathname the
       ``savefile'' should have, call pcap_dump_open(); to set up a  handle  for  a  ``savefile'',  given  a
       FILE *  referring  to  a  file  already opened for writing, call pcap_dump_fopen().  They each return
       pointers to a pcap_dumper_t, which is the handle used for writing packets to the ``savefile''.  If it
       succeeds,  it will have created the file if it doesn't exist and truncated the file if it does exist.
       To close a pcap_dumper_t, call pcap_dump_close().

       Routines

              pcap_dump_open(3PCAP)
                     open a pcap_dumper_t for a ``savefile``, given a pathname

              pcap_dump_fopen(3PCAP)
                     open a pcap_dumper_t for a ``savefile``, given a FILE *

              pcap_dump_close(3PCAP)
                     close a pcap_dumper_t

              pcap_dump_file(3PCAP)
                     get the FILE * for a pcap_dumper_t opened for a ``savefile''

   Writing packets
       To write a packet to a pcap_dumper_t, call pcap_dump().  Packets  written  with  pcap_dump()  may  be
       buffered,  rather than being immediately written to the ``savefile''.  Closing the pcap_dumper_t will
       cause all buffered-but-not-yet-written packets to be written to the ``savefile''.  To force all pack-ets packets
       ets written to the pcap_dumper_t, and not yet written to the ``savefile'' because they're buffered by
       the pcap_dumper_t, to be written  to  the  ``savefile'',  without  closing  the  pcap_dumper_t,  call
       pcap_dump_flush().

       Routines

              pcap_dump(3PCAP)
                     write packet to a pcap_dumper_t

              pcap_dump_flush(3PCAP)
                     flush buffered packets written to a pcap_dumper_t to the ``savefile''

              pcap_dump_ftell(3PCAP)
                     get current file position for a pcap_dumper_t

   Injecting packets
       If  you  have the required privileges, you can inject packets onto a network with a pcap_t for a live
       capture, using pcap_inject() or pcap_sendpacket().  (The two routines exist  for  compatibility  with
       both OpenBSD and WinPcap; they perform the same function, but have different return values.)

       Routines

              pcap_inject(3PCAP)
              pcap_sendpacket(3PCAP)
                     transmit a packet

   Reporting errors
       Some  routines  return  error  or warning status codes; to convert them to a string, use pcap_status-tostr(). pcap_statustostr().
       tostr().

       Routines

              pcap_statustostr(3PCAP)
                     get a string for an error or warning status code

   Getting library version information
       To get a string giving version information about libpcap, call pcap_library_version().

       Routines

              pcap_library_version(3PCAP)
                     get library version string

BACKWARDS COMPATIBILITY
       In versions of libpcap prior to 1.0, the pcap.h header file was not in a pcap directory on most plat-forms; platforms;
       forms;  if you are writing an application that must work on versions of libpcap prior to 1.0, include
       <pcap.h>, which will include <pcap/pcap.h> for you, rather than including <pcap/pcap.h>.

       pcap_create() and pcap_activate() were not available in versions of libpcap prior to 1.0; if you  are
       writing   an   application  that  must  work  on  versions  of  libpcap  prior  to  1.0,  either  use
       pcap_open_live() to get a handle for a live capture or, if you want to be able to use the  additional
       capabilities  offered  by  using pcap_create() and pcap_activate(), use an autoconf(1) script or some
       other configuration script to check whether the libpcap 1.0 APIs are available and use them  only  if
       they are.

SEE ALSO
       autoconf(1), tcpdump(1), tcpslice(1), pcap-filter(7), pfconfig(8), usermod(1M)

AUTHORS
       The original authors of libpcap are:

       Van  Jacobson, Craig Leres and Steven McCanne, all of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Uni-versity University
       versity of California, Berkeley, CA.

       The current version is available from "The Tcpdump Group"'s Web site at

              http://www.tcpdump.org/

BUGS
       Please send problems, bugs, questions, desirable enhancements, etc. to:

              tcpdump-workers@lists.tcpdump.org



                                                4 April 2008                                     PCAP(3PCAP)

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