Updated Tool For Network Tinkerers

If you want to understand computer networking, you need something called a protocol analyzer.  It lets you spy on data as it travels through a network.  The IT industry's most widely used protocol analyzer is called Wireshark and, as luck would have it, it's completely free to download and use.
Last week, a new update was released.  So if you don't already have version 2.0.1, it's worth getting for the latest bug fixes.
The download is around 45 MB from https://www.wireshark.org and it's available in 32 and 64 bit versions, as well as a portable 32-bit version too.  It's malware-free according to VirusTotal and Web of Trust.
Note that, if you're hoping to install Wireshark on a PC and then be able to instantly view all the confidential data passing between all of the other machines on your LAN, it's sadly not that quite simple.  You'll probably need to use a laptop with a special wifi interface that's capable of capturing all such data.  Google for topics such as Promiscuous Mode, Monitor Mode and Air Pcap to find out more.  But there's still a lot to explore, and it's fun to use too. 

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Thank you Rob. You put in a great amount time and effort on articles here and what do you get, some tool like me pointing out what few minor blips end up in your content. I'm thankful for what you do, especially since no one else, (myself included) is stepping up.

Rob said,
The IT industry's most widely used protocol is called Wireshark and, as luck ...

I'm sure he meant "The IT Industry's most widely used protocol is Wireshark" since Wireshark is not a protocol.

Now corrected.
Thanks all. And now corrected again, to spell analyzer properly. :)