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Cisco IOS Embedded Packet Capture

The Cisco IOS Embedded Packet Capture (EPC) delivers a powerful troubleshooting and tracing tool. The feature allows for network administrators to capture data packets flowing through, to, and from, a Cisco router.

EPC is a software feature consisting of infrastructure to allow for packet data to be captured at various points in the packet-processing path. The network administrator may define the capture buffer size and type (circular, or linear) and the maximum number of bytes of each packet to capture. The packet capture rate can be throttled using further administrative controls. For example, options allow for filtering the packets to be captured using an Access Control List and, optionally, further defined by specifying a maximum packet capture rate or by specifying a sampling interval.

Features and Benefits

Cisco IOS Embedded Packet Capture provides an additional level of embedded systems management not previously seen in Cisco IOS Software. The feature provides enhanced capabilities beyond those previously enabled in the Router IP Traffic Export feature. EPC includes:

  • Ability to capture IPv4 and IPv6 packets in the Cisco Express Forwarding path
  • A flexible method for specifying the capture buffer size and type
  • EXEC-level commands to start and stop the capture
  • Show commands to display packet contents on the device
  • Facility to export the packet capture in PCAP format suitable for analysis using an external tool such as Wireshark

Cisco IOS Embedded Packet Capture extends the embedded management capabilities of Cisco IOS and provides another powerful tool to help resolve application and network problems. It can be particularly useful in situations where it is not practical or desirable to tap into the network using a stand-alone packet-sniffing tool or when the need arises to remotely debug or troubleshoot issues.

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