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#242 in Network programming

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A pure-Rust library for reading pcapng files.

  • Correct: Agrees with tshark across a broad test suite.
  • Fast: Performance is similar to libpcap.
  • Flexible: Wraps anything which implements Read.
  • Ergonomic: It's an iterator of Packets - no lifetimes.
  • Resilient: Handles malformed pcaps as gracefully as possible.


libpcap is full of features; pcarp just reads packets out of pcapng files. Limitations compared to libpcap:

  • No support for legacy pcap; pcarp is pcapng-only.
  • No support for writing; pcarp is read-only.
  • No dissection of any kind. pcarp gives you the raw packet data.
  • No filtering. This one follows from "no dissection".

If you want to parse ethernet/IP/TCP/whatever protocol, you need another library. We use etherparse and it works well. There's also pnet or rshark, although I haven't tried them.

Error handling

pcarp is designed to be very resilient to errors, even given malformed or malicious input.

  • If pcarp sees unexpected flags or options, it will log a warning using the tracing crate and carry on.
  • If a packet is mangled beyond recognition, pcarp will return an error instead, but subsequent packets will still be readable.
  • If pcarp encounters corruption in the framing, then the error is not containable, and no more packets can be read.

pcarp should never panic. It's fuzzed to help ensure that this is the case, but fuzzing isn't perfect. If you experience a crash, please report it!


The software itself is in the public domain.

Some of the documentation is copied from the pcap spec, so the copyright is owned by the IETF; these places are cleary marked. The pcaps used by the integration tests are distributed by the Wireshark Foundation under the terms of the GNU GPL.


~29K SLoC