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Monitoring a switched environment

How does one use network monitoring tools with Ethernet switches instead of hubs. I am trying to use tools like tcpdump and snort. If WorkStation A is your monitoring station then it won't pick up traffic between WS B and WS C. It can pick up broadcasts and communications with WS A. So how do you monitor a switched environment?

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Many switches have the option to allow port span. What is port span? The Switched Port Analyzer Feature (SPAN) feature was introduced because, as you stated, once a switch learns a MAC address is on a particular port traffic is forwarded directly to that individual port. This is unlike a hub where all the ports see all the traffic.

I would suggest checking out the documentation for your make and model of switches to learn more about its implememtation.

This was first published in December 2002

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