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Network protocol analyzer

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I'm a network admin intern for a school district in Iowa, and today I got to use an AMAZING network sniffer from Network Instruments called Observer. Are there any programs like that (but not as powerful obviously) out there for free or at least not 1,000 bucks like observer? I've tried looking but can't seem to come across any. Ethereal is alright, but does not give near the info that observer does. Just wondering, because a free program like observer would be VERY useful to what I will be doing with the rest of my forseeable future. Thanks!

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You might take a look at the tools in NST.
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