Performance Testing: WinPcap versus Npcap

In this video, Tony Fortunato tests WinPcap versus Npcap. See which performs better.

Tony Fortunato

November 9, 2018

1 Min Read
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Wireshark for Windows users are probably familiar with WinPcap. WinPcap is basically the driver that Wireshark and other applications use to communicate with their network adapters.

WinPcap is automatically installed by Wireshark, but few people know that you also could use Npcap. Npcap has a few advantages over WinPcap including:

  • Support for Windows 10

  • Libpcap version 1.8.1 vs WinPcap (1.0.0)

  • You can create and inject loopback traffic

  • You can capture raw 802.11 frames from more adapters

Those who read my articles know it was just a matter of time before I put Npcap through its paces. Since WinPcap and Npcap are both drivers, I wanted to see if there were any performance differences.

I decided to set up my traffic generator and measured how many packets Wireshark can capture with either driver.

In my tests, I decided to use Windows 8.1 since WinPcap officially supports it and the GUI interface, rather than the CLI tools. Here is the video of my test:



In conclusion, Npcap outperformed WinPcap, but I always recommend using hardware-based analyzers on ‘busy’ links.


About the Author(s)

Tony Fortunato

Sr Network Performance Specialist

Tony Fortunato is a network performance expert who has been designing, implementing and troubleshooting networks since 1989. His company, The Technology Firm, provides clients of all sizes with services ranging from project management, network design, consulting, troubleshooting, designing custom-designed training courses, and assisting with equipment installation. Tony's experience in networking started with financial trading floor networks and ISPs, where he learned to integrate and support equipment from various vendors. Tony has taught and presented at numerous colleges and universities, public forums and private classes. He blogs frequently at NetworkDataPediaand has a popular YouTube channel.

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