Saturday, October 10, 2009

How to monitor your Internet bandwidth usage

As an IT guy, I monitor bandwidth usage to make sure network connections are performing at their optimum level. Sometimes I encounter a rouge software application that eats up a lot of bandwidth. Malware is notorious for eating bandwidth causing my torrent connections to perform really slow.

This led me to find ways to monitor my bandwidth on demand using a third party tool called Bandwidth Monitor Pro (see;pick). What it does is really simple, it shows you your current download and upload speeds together with their running average and maximum values.

First let me tell you how I use it. I use it to monitor my daily Internet usage. By doing daily monitoring, I end up with a baseline of how much bandwidth I really consume and if I really need that expensive broadband package the pretty sales lady is offering me.

See, I don’t want to sign-up for that service because she is charming – I want to make an objective decision and this tool will let me do just that. When you run the tool it shows you a line chart of your download and upload utilization. Nothing fancy about this but it is better than the chart seen on the networking tab of the task manager, which probably shows only the download utilization data.

The tool lets you record transfer history if you let it run in the background for a couple of days. It records all of your network card’s upload and download usage, the total and displays it in daily, weekly, monthly and yearly summaries. Those streaming TV series really eat a lot of bandwidth!

For basic bandwidth monitoring, Bandwidth Monitor Pro is a simple solution. It has a low RAM footprint of 10MB when showing charts and only about 2MB when recording network traffic.

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