pcap_setnonblock(3PCAP) man page

Updated: 5 March 2022 • View in plain textReturn to Main Contents

This man page documents libpcap version 1.10.4 (see also: git master branch, 1.10.2, 1.10.1, 1.10.0, 1.9.1, 1.8.1, 1.7.4, 1.6.2, 1.5.3).

Your system may have a different version installed, possibly with some local modifications. To achieve the best results, please make sure this version of this man page suits your needs. If necessary, try to look for a different version on this web site or in the man pages available in your installation.


pcap_setnonblock, pcap_getnonblock - set or get the state of non-blocking mode on a capture device


#include <pcap/pcap.h>

char errbuf[PCAP_ERRBUF_SIZE];

int pcap_setnonblock(pcap_t *p, int nonblock, char *errbuf);
int pcap_getnonblock(pcap_t *p, char *errbuf);


pcap_setnonblock() puts a capture handle into ``non-blocking'' mode, or takes it out of ``non-blocking'' mode, depending on whether the nonblock argument is non-zero or zero. It has no effect on ``savefiles''. If there is an error, PCAP_ERROR is returned and errbuf is filled in with an appropriate error message; otherwise, 0 is returned.

In ``non-blocking'' mode, an attempt to read from the capture descriptor with pcap_dispatch(3PCAP) and pcap_next_ex(3PCAP) will, if no packets are currently available to be read, return 0 immediately rather than blocking waiting for packets to arrive.

pcap_loop(3PCAP) will loop forever, consuming CPU time when no packets are currently available; pcap_dispatch() should be used instead. pcap_next(3PCAP) will return NULL if there are no packets currently available to read; this is indistinguishable from an error, so pcap_next_ex() should be used instead.

When first activated with pcap_activate(3PCAP) or opened with pcap_open_live(3PCAP), a capture handle is not in ``non-blocking mode''; a call to pcap_setnonblock() is required in order to put it into ``non-blocking'' mode.


pcap_getnonblock() returns the current ``non-blocking'' state of the capture descriptor; it always returns 0 on ``savefiles''. If called on a capture handle that has been created but not activated, PCAP_ERROR_NOT_ACTIVATED is returned. If there is another error, PCAP_ERROR is returned and errbuf is filled in with an appropriate error message.

errbuf is assumed to be able to hold at least PCAP_ERRBUF_SIZE chars.


pcap(3PCAP), pcap_next_ex(3PCAP), pcap_geterr(3PCAP)


This HTML man page was generated at 21:18:22 GMT, April 07, 2023 from a source man page in "The Tcpdump Group" git repositories using man2html and other tools.