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The protocol analyzer and the loop back plug This lesson discusses the protocol analyzer and the loop back plug. The protocol analyzer is used to plug into the network and analyze the traffic. The protocol analyzer is a hardware device and it can be installed on a laptop or it can be a stand-alone device. It is like being able to look inside a wire and see what's going on. A loop back plug is a device that sends cables back and uses software to compare sent and received signals.