This is a question that comes up in many of my Wireshark and network analysis classes. Most people are aware that laptops and server hardware have their limitations when capturing traffic, but they don't know what that limit is.
In this video, hosted by Fluke Networks/Netscout, we demonstrate how to benchmark capture hardware. We'll look at the break point where a laptop starts dropping traffic.
You will be surprised to see how low the bandwidth needs to be in order for the laptop to capture everything.