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Loopback capture setup

The following will explain capturing on loopback interfaces a bit.

If you are trying to capture traffic from a machine to itself, that traffic will not be sent over a network interface, even if it's being sent to an address on one of the machine's network adapters. This means that you will not see it if you are trying to capture on, for example, the interface device for the adapter to which the destination address is assigned. You will only see it if you capture on the "loopback interface", if there is such an interface and it is possible to capture on it; see the next section for information on the platforms on which you can capture on the "loopback interface".

Supported Platforms

See [ Ethereal: Supported Capture Media] page for Ethereal capturing support on various platforms. Summary: you can capture on the loopback interface on Linux, on various BSDs including Mac OS X, and on Digital/Tru64 UNIX, and you might be able to do it on Irix and AIX, but you definitely cannot do so on Solaris, HP-UX, or Windows.


There is a Microsoft Loopback Adapter available from Microsoft:

... which is quite different than the ones available for various UN*X systems. This adapter is a virtual network adapter you can add, but it will not work on the IP addresses; it will take its own IP address.

/!\ Beware: This network adapter has the same limitation that also apply to other network adapters on Windows as well: you won't see any network traffic directed to itself.

Let's suppose you have set the IP address of the loopback adapter to and are capturing on that interface. If you ping to this address the ping will get ping replies, but you won't see any of this traffic in Ethereal. If you ping on, you won't get ping replies as there is obviously no remote host, but you will see the corresponding ARP requests in Ethereal.

Having said all this, the whole thing is of limited use to work with Ethereal.