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I have a huge pcap file (generated by tcpdump). When I try to open it in wireshark, the program just gets unresponsive. Is there a way to split a file in set of smaller ones to open them one by one? The traffic captured in a file is generated by two programs on two servers, so I can't split the file using tcpdump 'host' or 'port' filters. I've also tried linux 'split' command :-) but with no luck. Wireshark wouldn't recognize the format.

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How large is huge? Is it much larger than availible RAM? – pehrs Apr 13 '10 at 11:46
A little late, but the reason Wireshark won't read files which are the output of split is because split will divide on exact byte boundaries. This is highly likely to split a packet which invalidates some of the file content. – Burhan Ali Nov 14 '12 at 17:01
up vote 43 down vote accepted

You can use tcpdump itself with the -C, -r and -w options

tcpdump -r old_file -w new_files -C 10

The "-C" option specifies the size of the file to split into. Eg: In the above case new files size will be 10 million bytes each.

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thanks a lot. works great – facha Apr 13 '10 at 11:24
Works great! Thanks! – Jinghao Shi Apr 16 '14 at 16:19
Awesome. Great help. Thanks. – Brijesh Valera May 29 '14 at 9:09

Use the editcap utility which is distributed with Wireshark.

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editpcap -c 1000 input.pcap output.pcap will split input.pcap up into captures with a maximum of 1000 packets per capture. The output will be multiple capture files formatted like output_{index}_{timestamp}.pcap – blachniet Feb 28 '14 at 18:56

The best and fastest way to go is to use SplitCap, which can split large packet dump files based on sessions for example. This way you'd get each TCP session in a separate PCAP file. SplitCap can also separate packets into pcap files based on IP addresses.

You can read more about SplitCap on the Netresec blog:

Download SplitCap from here:

Good luck!

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Are there any linux versions ? – ychaouche Dec 29 '14 at 9:13
This is a nice program, put it lacks the capability to work with pcapng files. – Guntram Blohm Sep 22 '15 at 8:30

I know this answer is a little late, but it may serve other people as well. I found a great tool for splitting pcap files: PcapSplitter. It's part of the PcapPlusPlus library which means it's cross-platform (Win32, Linux and Mac OS), and it can split pcap files based on different criteria such as file size (what you seem to need) but also by connection, client/server IP, server port (similar to protocol), packet count, etc. I found it very useful. The link above is for the source code, but if you don't want/know how to compile, I created compiled binaries for several platforms I've been using this tool with. I recommend this tool very much

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