Looking for a simple network bandwidth monitor tool.

everway9

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Hi everyone.

Hope y'all doing good today. :)


I have a small home network. I do not have a server. My network includes 2 x Windows PC's, and a NAS unit all of which are connected by cable to my router which is a TP-Link Archer C2 V3.

As you will know there are lots of different software/utilities available which monitor network traffic in very high detail. For me, most of these utilities are very complicated and offer way more info than I really need. For example I downloaded a trial of PRTG from Paessler.com but it looks very complicated. :)

I am trying to find a program which will give me a simple overview of how much data is being sent and received on a few of my devices. The devices which I would like to monitor the bandwidth consumption for are both Laptops and my NAS unit.

I'd like to be able to monitor all my devices from my main computer. Something similar to Net Limiter Pro would be ideal but I think that Net Limiter only monitors the PC on which it is installed.


If anyone knows of a simple program which can do this I'd be very grateful if you could spare a moment of your time to give me some advice.

Many thanks in advance.

Andrew :)
 

USAFRet

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The problem here is twofold.

1. Tools like this generally only capture transfers on 'this system'.

2. They also count LAN traffic (between you and the NAS, for instance) as 'transferred data'.
Like my low end HTPC box. It serves as the intermediary between the NAS and the TV. Watch 3 movies that live on the NAS...that would read 15 or 20GB data transferred. But that box never talked to the outside world in that time.

This really needs to be done at the border device. On the router, or a dedicated PC based firewall box. pfSense, for instance).
 

everway9

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Hi USAFRet.

Thanks for the quick reply.

So will one of those applications which are really complicated not even be able to monitor bandwidth for each separate computer on my network?

And am I correct in assuming that there is no bandwidth monitoring options built into my Archer C2 V3 router?

Thanks again. :)

 

USAFRet

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Right. And even if they do, it would log ALL data in and out of that LAN or WiFi port. Both internal and external traffic.
Which is not what you're looking for.

Flash your router (if compatible) with something like OpenWRT or dd-wrt would do it.
But that is pretty involved, and only if your router is a supported device.

Does your ISP provide any tools?
Are you looking for just total bandwidth consumed, or actual logging of what system gets what traffic?
 

everway9

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I am looking for real time bandwidth usage for each computer. So yes... logging of which system gets what overall traffic. I'm not really bothered about every IP address of all the individual connections.

Do you know of a reasonably priced router which could do this for me? But.. i mean... it's not massively important that I need to see overall bandwidth usage of every computer. It's just that when I have a slow connection I'd like to be able to see what the other computers on my network are using. Then if my connection was slow I'd know if the reason was because another computer on my network was using bandwidth or if my actual broadband connection was slow.

I hope I have explained ok. I'm not very good at explaining things in writing. ;/

I really appreciate you taking the time to help. Very grateful indeed. :)
 

USAFRet

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"realtime external bandwidth usage"

If some other system is transferring big data to and from the NAS, this does not affect your speed to the outside world.

As said, at the border device.
Look in the openWRT and ddwrt sites for compatible routers.
https://openwrt.org/
http://www.dd-wrt.com/site/index

Or, a cheap PC running untangle or pfSense.
In the past, I've used a $50 box from craigslist for this.
 

everway9

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Yes.. sorry.. I know the NAS unit won't affect the broadband connection speed. When I was referring to a slow connection I was meaning if one of my other computers was using up bandwidth.
 

USAFRet

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Right. That's why this needs to be monitored at a border device.
 

nigelivey

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Second above, pfsense can do this. I would need to check if it can do per IP address i only use it for bandwidth per network/vlan or wan connection.
 

everway9

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Thanks Nigelivey. :)
 

nigelivey

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To monitor per IP in Pfsense you need to install either ntopng or BandwidthD packages but ntopng is not persistent after a reboots.
 

everway9

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This all seems like way too much for my simple mind. :)

However... I really do appreciate the advice you have all given. ;)

I found out yesterday that My TP-Link Archer C2 V3 router has a 'Traffic Statistics' tool built in.

It is found in Advanced Settings>System Tools. It displays the IP and Mac Address of each device connected to the router and basic bytes and packet data.

This is all I really need. I suppose the only real disadvantage is that I have to login to the routers web configuration page to monitor. But it's not a big disadvantage.


BTW... could any of you experts tell me how to setup a mirrored port on my router?

Thanks again. :)
 

nigelivey

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You can't. Its feature of commercial routers. You could place an old fashioned hub on the port you wish to mirror, they broadcast all packets out of all ports.
 

everway9

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An old fashioned hub? Like an old managed switch?

That gives me another idea. Would a cheap managed network switch monitor traffic?

Thanks again :)
 

nigelivey

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It may it may not but some will allow port mirror. No there is a difference between a hub and a switch (its in the name) a hub doesnt switch anything, when a packet or frame is broadcast its sent out of all ports so you could monitor on one of the ports all traffic on the rest. A switch only sends to all ports to build its cam table and then knows which port to switch the packet/frame down.
 

everway9

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OK. Interesting stuff. That's very helpful. I will do some more research and take it from there.

Thanks so much for all your help.

:)
 

Tina_Jiang

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You'd better check "WFilter internet content filter", a passive internet monitoring and filtering program working on the mirroring port. You can monitor live bandwidth and connections in great details.
 

everway9

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Hello Tina_Jiang.

Thank you for your reply.

I have been advised that I cannot setup a mirrored port on the model of router I have. But thanks for your suggestion.
 

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