Extract packet header using pcap library


In the pcap crate found at https://crates.io/crates/pcap/ there is a struct called Packet that is defined like this:

pub struct Packet<'a> {
    pub header: &'a PacketHeader,
    pub data: &'a [u8],

I am trying to extract information from the PacketHeader field such as the Age. I get an error when trying to access the PacketHeader field directly. Here is the code:

extern crate pcap;

use pcap::{Device,Capture};

fn main() {
    // get the default Device
    let main_device = Device::lookup().unwrap();
    let mut cap = Capture::from_device(main_device).unwrap()
    cap.filter("dst port 80").unwrap();

        // get a packet from this capture
        let mut packet = cap.next();
        println!("got a packet! {:?}", packet);
        let header = packet.header;
        println!("got a header! {:?}", header);

    // print some stats
    let stats = cap.stats().unwrap();
    println!("Received: {}, dropped: {}, if_dropped: {}", stats.received,
             stats.dropped, stats.if_dropped);


Here is the error message:

src/main.rs:18:22: 18:35 error: attempted access of field `header` on type `core::result::Result<pcap::Packet<'_>, pcap::Error>`, but no field with that name was found
src/main.rs:18         let header = packet.header;
error: aborting due to previous error

Thanks for any advice!


Always read error messages carefully. In this case, you can’t access a header because the packet is not a Packet. It appears that cap.next() can fail, and therefore returns a Result type, which contains either a packet or an error.

How to handle Result is part of all basic Rust introductions, so I won’t repeat that here in long form, but the alternatives are .unwrap() if errors should abort the process, several more methods on Result, e.g. for substituting a default, and most general, pattern matching on the Ok and Err enum variants.


Thanks! Using .unwrap() on cap.next() is working for now. I’ll eventually convert that to the pattern matching of Ok and Err enums once I better understand how to use them.