I need a tool software or otherwise (preferably software) that will allow me to test Bit Error Rates on an Ethernet Network.

I am using a software tool that I did not write and do not have access to the source of to introduce Bit Errors into an Ethernet Network. I am currently trying to test to see whether this software does what it actually is supposed to do, so that it can be used in some network simulations.

I know there are hardware testers like the FireBERD but it would be great if someone had some software that could do it. Although based on what I'm reading here http://www.wireshark.org/faq.html#q7.9 I don't have much hope.

  • If you have a Mac handy, it might be worth trying Wireshark on that. I've never seen Wireshark capture CRC data on any Windows machines.
    – sblair
    Aug 19 '11 at 18:21

Ethernet frames are checksummed by a CRC, which is computed frame by frame. So you can't detect individual bit errors, you only know that a frame has a bad CRC.


If you're running *NIX you can check /proc/net/dev to see stats about errors. It's vague about what errors, but according to this post on Stackoverflow it does record CRC errors.

  • This is interesting and potentially useful, however, the errors are at a packet level and I need something that will give me errors on the bit level. In our initial testing we were using Wireshark and looking at packets that we knew were incorrect and trying to count bits. Obviously this is not going to work for a lot of packets so we need software that can detect errors on the bit level and give us statistics based on them. Aug 22 '11 at 16:32

You need to use a hardware tester for this, standard PC and Laptop NICs don't have the kind of low level hardware access and control you need (like down to the individual pins on the NIC port). I think the best you can do is test an Ethernet circuit using software and then check for interface error stats, drop/ooo packet counters and so on.

You can test Ethernet on the CLI with a Linux box using https://github.com/jwbensley/Etherate


I'm not certain it will give you what you need, but the free version of Colasoft's Capsa provides all the network diagnostic information I need. The diagnosis tab organizes issues by layer (Application, Transport, Network, etc.)

  • How is this different from Wireshark? Looking at the link it just seems like an alternative. Aug 22 '11 at 16:29
  • Mainly it's easier to use. Wireshark will give you the same information, but you typically have to work harder to get it. Don't get me wrong: I love Wireshark and use both it and Capsa. Just trying to save you some time.
    – boot13
    Aug 22 '11 at 19:19
  • Okay, I'll take a look at it. Do you know of an easy way to get the bit error rate using Capsa? Aug 23 '11 at 1:30

When I was working for a game quality assurance company, we were using LANforce to test the games resilience to network turbulence. This was used to create turbulence(errors), not to analyse it though.

Wish this leads you to a good path.

  • 1
    Do you have a link to the actual piece of software? Doing a Google search brings me to lanforce.com and various sites about that same consulting company. Aug 22 '11 at 16:30

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