Yes, Wireshark should be in every troubleshooter's back pocket. It is
free, and extremely valuable. However, to dig deep with Wireshark, you
will need to understand networking concepts, operating system nuances, and
how applications work. With that said, newbies can utilize Wireshark to
gain basic understanding of networks and applications.
I strongly recommend Wireshark, but understand this is not an implementation like a monitoring system. It is an incredibly powerful tool to take out and use. It requires familiarity to be most useful, yet even a novice can glean some information from it almost immediately.
Wireshark is a protocol analyzer. It shows the actual packets on the network and breaks them apart so the human analyst can make sense of them. It does a great job of this, but recognize you need to understand something of network communications and know what you are looking at, as well as what to look for.
I believe, as some of the best analysts do that every network professional should have some familiarity with packet decodes. The good news is that, unlike commercial products Wireshark is free and cross platform. You can install it on several machines, capture when and where needed, then save the capture to analyze anywhere. I have used this technique to assist people too distant to help in any other fashion.
There are great tutorials available on wireshark.org as well as books and links to training classes to further your education. Don't be afraid of the volume of information available. Consume what you want and have time for, and enjoy!
Yes, very useful tool.
Yes definitely. Wireshark and its sister applications on different platforms (Ethereal on *nix platforms) is robust, and thorough. As John Lasschuit points out, it is a key tool in any network tools chest.
Yes I would. It's a very usefull tool with a lot of analyzing possibilities. It's fast, has a lot of export possibilities, I couldn't do my work as troublehsooter without.