D.8. mergecap: Merging multiple capture files into one

Mergecap is a program that combines multiple saved capture files into a single output file specified by the -w argument. Mergecap can read libpcap capture files, including those of tcpdump. In addition, Mergecap can read capture files from snoop (including Shomiti) and atmsnoop, LanAlyzer, Sniffer (compressed or uncompressed), Microsoft Network Monitor, AIX’s iptrace, NetXray, Sniffer Pro, RADCOM’s WAN/LAN analyzer, Lucent/Ascend router debug output, HP-UX’s nettl, and the dump output from Toshiba’s ISDN routers. There is no need to tell Mergecap what type of file you are reading; it will determine the file type by itself. Mergecap is also capable of reading any of these file formats if they are compressed using gzip. Mergecap recognizes this directly from the file; the “.gz” extension is not required for this purpose.

By default, Mergecap writes all of the packets in the input capture files to a pcapng file. The -F flag can be used to specify the capture file’s output format ; it can write the file in libpcap format (standard libpcap format, a modified format used by some patched versions of libpcap, the format used by Red Hat Linux 6.1, or the format used by SuSE Linux 6.3), snoop format, uncompressed Sniffer format, Microsoft Network Monitor 1.x format, and the format used by Windows-based versions of the Sniffer software.

Packets from the input files are merged in chronological order based on each frame’s timestamp, unless the -a flag is specified. Mergecap assumes that frames within a single capture file are already stored in chronological order. When the -a flag is specified, packets are copied directly from each input file to the output file, independent of each frame’s timestamp.

If the -s flag is used to specify a snapshot length, frames in the input file with more captured data than the specified snapshot length will have only the amount of data specified by the snapshot length written to the output file. This may be useful if the program that is to read the output file cannot handle packets larger than a certain size (for example, the versions of snoop in Solaris 2.5.1 and Solaris 2.6 appear to reject Ethernet frames larger than the standard Ethernet MTU, making them incapable of handling gigabit Ethernet captures if jumbo frames were used).

If the -T flag is used to specify an encapsulation type, the encapsulation type of the output capture file will be forced to the specified type, rather than being the type appropriate to the encapsulation type of the input capture file. Note that this merely forces the encapsulation type of the output file to be the specified type; the packet headers of the packets will not be translated from the encapsulation type of the input capture file to the specified encapsulation type (for example, it will not translate an Ethernet capture to an FDDI capture if an Ethernet capture is read and -T fddi is specified).

For more information on mergecap consult your local manual page (man mergecap) or the online version.

Help information available from mergecap

Mergecap (Wireshark) 3.5.0 (v3.5.0rc0-461-g969c1c0271bf)
Merge two or more capture files into one.
See https://www.wireshark.org for more information.

Usage: mergecap [options] -w <outfile>|- <infile> [<infile> ...]

  -a                concatenate rather than merge files.
                    default is to merge based on frame timestamps.
  -s <snaplen>      truncate packets to <snaplen> bytes of data.
  -w <outfile>|-    set the output filename to <outfile> or '-' for stdout.
  -F <capture type> set the output file type; default is pcapng.
                    an empty "-F" option will list the file types.
  -I <IDB merge mode> set the merge mode for Interface Description Blocks; default is 'all'.
                    an empty "-I" option will list the merge modes.

  -h                display this help and exit.
  -v                verbose output.
  -V                print version information and exit.

A simple example merging dhcp-capture.pcapng and imap-1.pcapng into outfile.pcapng is shown below.

Simple example of using mergecap. 

$ mergecap -w outfile.pcapng dhcp-capture.pcapng imap-1.pcapng