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Npcap or WinPcap?

WinPcap has been the de facto standard library for packet capture and link-layer packet injection for over a decade. Many open source and commercial network tools use WinPcap for network access and filtering, but it has been unmaintained since 2013 and is no longer supported.

Npcap is the exciting and feature-packed update to the venerable WinPcap packet capture library. Building on the successful WinPcap legacy, Npcap brings increased speed, security, and Windows 10 support. All of WinPcap's packet capture and injection features are included, with a few great additions like raw 802.11 frame capture. Still wondering if Npcap is right for you? Check out this comparison of features:

Feature Npcap WinPcap
Actively maintained and supported Yes No (WinPcap development was terminated)
Last release date April 22, 2021 March 8, 2013
libpcap version 1.10.0 (2020) 1.0.0 (2008)
License Free for personal use BSD-style
Supported commercial/redistributable version Yes (Npcap OEM) No (WinPcap Professional product terminated)
EV SHA-256 code signing Yes No
Limit access to administrators (optional) Yes No
Basic features
Packet capture with the cross-platform libpcap API Yes Yes
Link-layer packet injection Yes Yes
Source code available Yes (Link) Yes (Link)
Advanced Features
Capture raw 802.11 frames Yes, with many widely-available adapters Yes, with specialized AirPcap hardware
Capture Loopback traffic Yes No
Inject Loopback traffic Yes No

Ready to give Npcap a try? Just download the latest installer. Npcap works great with Wireshark, Nmap, and more of your favorite tools already. For software that's written with WinPcap in mind, simply select "WinPcap API-compatible mode" at installation.

Want to develop software for Npcap? Check out the Npcap Developer's Guide and the Npcap SDK. For software that already uses WinPcap, you can test Npcap in WinPcap API-compatible mode. You can easily support both WinPcap and Npcap or simply use the SDK to use Npcap with all of its new features. If you want to distribute Npcap with your application, ask us about getting a Npcap OEM license and support contract.

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