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Ask Slashdot: How To Monitor Your Own Bandwidth Usage?

CmdrTaco posted more than 2 years ago | from the with-a-yardstick dept.

The Internet 319

Vrtigo1 writes "With many ISPs either already using bandwidth caps or talking about them, I was wondering how other Slashdot readers are keeping tabs on how much data is being transferred through their home Internet connections. None of the consumer routers I've used seem to make this information easily accessible. I'd like some way to see exactly how much data has been sent and received by the WAN port facing my ISP's modem so I can compare the numbers I get with the numbers they give me. I don't want to pay for their modem firmware updates and other network management traffic, so I'd like to see how the two numbers line up."

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again? (5, Informative)

demonbug (309515) | more than 2 years ago | (#36001634)

Tomato.

DD-WRT.

Re:again? (5, Informative)

capnkr (1153623) | more than 2 years ago | (#36001680)

Either of those, and a Linksys WRT54GL router [newegg.com], dirt simple to set up. More info here [lifehacker.com].

Re:again? (2, Informative)

Khyber (864651) | more than 2 years ago | (#36001778)

I have four WRT54GL routers running DD-wrt.

Not a damned one of them can remain stable and online for more than an hour, except when configured as a simple wireless bridge device.

Just install network traffic loggers on each machine. Do some simple math at the end of the month.

Re:again? (2)

demonbug (309515) | more than 2 years ago | (#36001910)

I have four WRT54GL routers running DD-wrt.

Not a damned one of them can remain stable and online for more than an hour, except when configured as a simple wireless bridge device.

Just install network traffic loggers on each machine. Do some simple math at the end of the month.

Interesting. I don't actually use the WRT54GL (any router with a Broadcom chip will work), I use an Asus something-or-other (whatever was cheap). I use Tomato (it offers printer support for the USB port on the router), and I've never had any stability issues - it has been up for a couple of months last time I checked.

Re:again? (1)

Moryath (553296) | more than 2 years ago | (#36002276)

I'd love to use DD-WRT.

Unfortunately, my setup is much more sane. My router is wired and I have a separate wireless router (that JUST does wireless) to handle the wireless portion.

Since DD-WRT isn't available for my wired-only router, no happiness there.

Re:again? (2)

jtownatpunk.net (245670) | more than 2 years ago | (#36001960)

I don't know what you're doing wrong.

"Time: 10:28:55 up 315 days, 4:49, load average: 0.07, 0.06, 0.00"

It's sitting in a garage with no heat or AC. I use just about every aspect of DD-WRT and have moved terabytes of data through it in the last few months. And that's hardly a record for my old Linksys routers.

Re:again? (1)

characterZer0 (138196) | more than 2 years ago | (#36002074)

Do you move terabytes of data via WiFi? I can use mine for months for general use, but if I start trying to transfer gigabytes of data over the wireless all at once, it will lock up.

Re:again? (2)

jtownatpunk.net (245670) | more than 2 years ago | (#36002314)

Yes. I used a wireless-G bridge to the router for years and the current setup was wireless-G direct to the router until I cleaned up the kludgy network "design" and ran wires about a month ago.

Re:again? (3, Informative)

capnkr (1153623) | more than 2 years ago | (#36002050)

That's a far different experience from what I have seen when using this combo. Without knowing more specifics, your issues could be the result of a number of different reasons: build version, incorrect installation process, overclocking, environment, etc... A search [lmgtfy.com] to determine what exactly is causing your issue(s) might help you figure out how to fix them - I don't think your experience is typical or common even. Good luck.

Re:again? (2)

tompaulco (629533) | more than 2 years ago | (#36002096)

I feel your pain. I have twice now had my WRT54GL router forget about my WPA settings and my site ID and go back to the plain vanilla open router with the site id of Linksys, For some reason, the administrative password is still in place, same with allowed ports, static ips and whatnot, but the site ID and security key is all gone.

WRT54GL not...stable (2)

ron_ivi (607351) | more than 2 years ago | (#36002148)

Is it overheating?

When the sun shines directly on my old WRT54G it seems to hang. I moved it to an always shady spot and put a bit more space around it and it's been stable ever since.

Re:again? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36002270)

You're doing it very, very wrong.

Re:again? (3, Interesting)

nschubach (922175) | more than 2 years ago | (#36001922)

I really hope Cisco puts out an updated version of this router. This thing has to be their best seller (I'm going out on a limb and stating that the customization ability is key to that) and I can see why it's been around since 2002. I have two of them myself I continually mess around with. They still kick out newer revisions, but they haven't really changed much in the line of overall capability. Just sit down, draw up plans for a fully third party flashable update and make it awesome hardware wise. Let the guys at Tomato/DDWRT do their thing.

Re:again? (5, Insightful)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 2 years ago | (#36001982)

You know...these hardware suggestions are helpful.

But why not just address the root problem here...the capping.

Why not just pony up about $69/mo...and get a business connection for your home.

I have mine with Cox cable and it is great. I get roughly 10-14 down and 5-10 up...at times I've measured it. I have no caps. I can run all the servers I want to. I even get a low level SLA, and the few times I've needed help, they are on the phone with me almost any time I need it..and they have even sent people out to the poles around my places when I needed help in the middle of the night even.

So, why not get a connection like that? Its not that expensive, and you get the bandwidth you want plus a few perks.

Re:again? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36002160)

...and get a business connection for your home.

Am I the only one who thinks it's ridiculous that it's acceptable for companies to require a business-class service for your home?

Re:again? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36002260)

Money solves everything, right?

I'd like to mention Sweden for a bit. (pun unintended) Their telecommunication network (i.e the wires & fibers) were mostly built by a then state-owned corporation. As the market opened up, they allowed private competitors into the government net and now Swedes can pick and choose from a variety of ISPs, all offering varying degrees of services and prices.

My point is, the US is lagging behind. Sweden had 10/10 fiber connections cheaply available around the end of the last century. Nowadays, you get 100/100 cap-free connections for $40-50 in every major city.

Why aren't we making this happen in the US? Why is high-quality internet connections still a luxury instead of a commodity like roads, electricity and water?

Re:again? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36002384)

This is not always the case. Depending on how much of a monopoly your provider has in a particular market the price will very quite a bit. I have commercial Comcast, and my low end service of 12 down and 2 up (read 8-10 down and 1-2 up) runs me $109.99/month and that was just recently lowered by me calling and asking why I am paying $169.95 for the same service level they are currently offering for $99.95. (I pay a little extra because I have a couple of extra static IP addresses).

Re:again? (2)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#36001684)

And buy a new router for every friend or family member whose router is on the DD-WRT unsupported list, such as the WGR614 v6 (1 MB version).

Re:again? (3, Interesting)

TheCRAIGGERS (909877) | more than 2 years ago | (#36001768)

I'll throw my two cents in here too. DD-WRT has been rock-solid for me, and has some rather nice graphs for viewing bandwidth.

Re:again? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36001808)

Yup, both work great. Using DD-WRT now to monitor my own bandwidth usage, as the only broadband provider in our area caps us at 75 gigs per month. They give you a nice interactive graph so you can see exactly how much has come in/out and even a breakdown for each day of the month.

Re:again? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36001870)

Any ISP that has a bandwidth cap should also have a page where the customer can check on their usage. Even Comcast [comcast.net] does.

Note that the number given by Tomato seems to be somewhat different from that given by the Comcast page, but they are close (within a few percent). Certainly close enough to know when you are approaching the cap.

Re:again? (1)

ezelkow1 (693205) | more than 2 years ago | (#36001964)

But comcast doesnt anymore. They let you use it for about a year and then it disappeared. In a recent call to them I also asked what had happened to the meter. After putting me on hold for a long time to ask around they finally came back and just said, its no longer available

Re:again? (2)

adam.dorsey (957024) | more than 2 years ago | (#36002188)

I have no problems viewing my usage. It's under the "Users and Settings" tab when I click "My Account" on comcast.net

Re:again? (1)

ezelkow1 (693205) | more than 2 years ago | (#36002278)

Just checked again in both chrome and FF, it still does not show up for me, hasnt for 6mo-year. Maybe it depends on area

Tomato (5, Informative)

Krellion (795134) | more than 2 years ago | (#36001646)

I use Tomato firmware [polarcloud.com] on a WRT54G v2 router. It has many ways of viewing used bandwidth.

Re:Tomato (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36001714)

Not an option with things like Verizon Fios and their wonderful actiontec router. And to preempt you, they won't provision ethernet on my residential account, but then again they don't charge me per MB.

Re:Tomato (1)

jeffmeden (135043) | more than 2 years ago | (#36001780)

They won't provision ethernet, meaning they wont let you plug whatever ethernet device into the router that you like? You are limited to one computer? What is this, 1998?

Re:Verizon Fios (3, Interesting)

Zinho (17895) | more than 2 years ago | (#36001880)

I'm on Verizon, too, and they have no problem with me daisy-chaining my own router (DD-WRT) onto theirs. I agree that it might be fun to hook straight into their fiber modem with CAT-5 and skip the business of having coax and a second router in the loop, but it's their network and their modem. I'll get more huffy about it if/when I transition to IPv6 and don't want two layers of NAT between me and the network. In the mean time, though, it's trivial to shut off the transmitter for the router they provided and set up one that I can manage competently.

Re:Tomato (1)

SighKoPath (956085) | more than 2 years ago | (#36001912)

So hook up a Tomato router to the ethernet port of the verizon router, set your router to spoof the MAC address of your PC, and tell the verizon router to treat it as a DMZ. Problem solved.

Re:Tomato (1)

rwa2 (4391) | more than 2 years ago | (#36001792)

Yep, I've been very happy with Tomato, which shows both real-time and aggregate data bandwidth use.

If you want even more detail into what's taking up all your bandwidth (port / protocol / IP / etc.), you could put up a box running ntop [ntop.org] (the web-based "ntop", not the console "ntop" similar to iftop that only gives instantaneous usage info).

You might also be able to forward traffic from your router to a sniffer on a real machine running these tools, if you search for "[router] SPAN port" or "port mirroring" or somesuch.

Get a router that does it for you (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36001662)

Many of the home routers now have this built into their firmware. My netgear does. Or for the Slashdot answer, build something. :)

vnstat (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36001694)

Install vnstat on your gateways and/or points where you want to monitor the traffic. It will monitor "per device" so it can be useful running it on a gateway so you can compare internal network traffic to external traffic.

Re:vnstat (2)

Compaqt (1758360) | more than 2 years ago | (#36001952)

I'll make a note of vnstat for cumulative usage.

For point-in-time bandwidth usage, I often use nethogs.

It breaks down current bandwidth usage by program, much handier than by host.

Click here to install [apt] (Debian/Ubuntu/Mint)

Re:vnstat (1)

Compaqt (1758360) | more than 2 years ago | (#36002120)

FYI for anybody trying this out:

The Ubuntu package (likely the same as the Debian package) doesn't create a database when you install.

So after installing, do this:

$ sudo vnstat -u -i eth0

Then start the service:
$ sudo service vnstat start

Check stats:
$ vnstat

MUM (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36001696)

Move to Australia.

Churn to Internode (http://www.internode.on.net/).

Download MUM (http://www.users.on.net/~johnson/internode/).

Custom script and cacti, of course (1)

jeffmeden (135043) | more than 2 years ago | (#36001698)

I am on Uverse and while they don't cap, I still like to know how much is coming and going from my connection. What can I say, I am addicted to information. Anyway, with a bit of wget and some perl, I pulled the up/down bytes from the web page of the Motorola 2-wire gateway/router/thingy (most any router will offer this in some form) and I pump that into Cacti for storage and graphing. Tada!

Your cap starts today. (5, Informative)

custerfluck (888788) | more than 2 years ago | (#36001854)

Not quite today (1)

name_already_taken (540581) | more than 2 years ago | (#36002402)

I'm on Uverse too, and when I go to their bandwidth usage thing, it basically says that it's under construction and I don't have to worry about how much I'm using.

Presumably they're rolling it out slowly.

ho hum (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36001700)

None of the consumer routers I've used seem to make this information easily accessible.

You are on entirely the wrong website if you want to talk about stock firmware.

google? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36001704)

And why wouldn't you pay for their overhead and data they choose to send to you for updates, etc?

Does your contract really say you don't?

SchrÃdinger's Proxy (1)

conner_bw (120497) | more than 2 years ago | (#36001720)

Doesn't measuring bandwidth cause observer-induced collapse?

Google seems to be failing me at the moment, but I I read something about a cat and a large hadron proxy server was the best way.

Keep trying!

Slashdot UTF8 Fail (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36001794)

Way to suck at websites, website.

MRTG (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36001724)

http://oss.oetiker.ch/mrtg/

pfsense (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36001746)

http://www.pfsense.org

Set yourself up with a real Unix firewall, and get your info to the byte-level. Heck, you can even configure it to email you reports.

ClearOS easily does this. (1)

pr0f3550r (553601) | more than 2 years ago | (#36001756)

ClearOS reports this and will give you all the function you need. It is great for both seasoned and beginner Linux users. The alternative is to set it up yourself. It is free and will run on that old computer you have in your closet.

Re:ClearOS easily does this. (2)

schnikies79 (788746) | more than 2 years ago | (#36001850)

Not only that, but it will constantly pull 100w+ vs the ~10w that a router will use!

Re:ClearOS easily does this. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36001950)

Learn to buy mini-itx systems

Re:ClearOS easily does this. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36002130)

Depends. I use an old laptop with a broken screen. With no power going to the screen or cdrom, and running off a small flash drive rather than a hard drive, the draw isn't all that much. And I get all the benefits of a full *nix install (I run OpenBSD as the firewall/router).

Re:ClearOS easily does this. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36002200)

My intel Atom ClearOS router running from flash pulls around 20 watts idle, 25 watts under load.

And it hosts two vmware virtual guests as a DMZ.

Tomato offers some options (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36001760)

Tomato has WAN bandwidth usage built it so that should get you what you want. Beyond this I wrote an add-on to tomato (but should really work with almost any linux based firmware) to store bandwidth usage per IP or Mac Address on your local LAN to see who is using what. Detail are here:

http://soft-haus.com/wiki/index.php5?title=IPTables_Bandwidth_Monitor

some ISP count cable ARP or pppoe dsl over head (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36001772)

some ISP's count cable ARP or pppoe dsl over head.

And counting at the router will not get all that.

/proc/net/dev (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36001786)

Snapshot /proc/net/dev at various times, and look at the line for the interface in question. You can write easy little scripts to show it changing over the course of a few seconds, or over a month, or whatever.

FritzBox (1)

Arlet (29997) | more than 2 years ago | (#36001788)

The FritzBox ADSL modem/router has an menu where you can see your internet usage.

http://www.fritzbox.eu/en/index.php [fritzbox.eu]

Re:FritzBox (1)

La Gris (531858) | more than 2 years ago | (#36002234)

FritzBox Fon 7270 here. Latest 04.90 firmware even does IPv6. Provides nice stats per day, week, month. SIP->DECT->POTS->ISDN phone service, wireles with private and guest network, NAS over USB. The best modem I ever baught

Why would you think the numbers would match up? (4, Interesting)

cdrguru (88047) | more than 2 years ago | (#36001800)

Your ISP is likely not counting bytes that transfer through a connection to your modem. They are probably using a number of interesting tricks instead, probably mostly because whatever they bought into does something different. At a minimum counting packets and saying they are all MTU-sized would give different results and would eliminate the overhead of counting bytes.

If you are really, really nice about it, they might tell you what they are really measuring. But they probably will not. Even if you have a bandwidth cap in place, they probably aren't going give you detailed information about what they are measuring and how they are measuring it. Mostly, this would be for fear that you will use that information to figure out some way to circumvent it. In this case information certainly equals power - they have it and do not want you to have it.

So, while your router can count bytes with the right software, it probably isn't going to match up with what they say you are using, assuming they report it to you. My guess is your number will be lower, but it could go either way. In any event, the only number that means anything in your relationship with your ISP is their number. You will not be able to convince them that your number is "right" or "more correct" than their number.

Unless you need a number for your own management purposes - like finding out your neighbor creating 45% of the traffic on your connection - I'd say this is a pointless exercise.

Re:Why would you think the numbers would match up? (1)

hodet (620484) | more than 2 years ago | (#36002006)

Who needs 100% accuracy? Ballpark number will be fine thank you.

Re:Why would you think the numbers would match up? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36002014)

In any event, the only number that means anything in your relationship with your ISP is their number. You will not be able to convince them that your number is "right" or "more correct" than their number.

Too which I'll add: your ISP should already have a page showing you their numbers.

Re:Why would you think the numbers would match up? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36002082)

Not pointless; it gives you a constant readout and a log of your usage, so you can figure out what on your network is using up how much bandwidth. That way you can figure out how to control your usage, or even discover a malware infection you didn't know about.

Re:Why would you think the numbers would match up? (1)

jtownatpunk.net (245670) | more than 2 years ago | (#36002088)

You make a good point about their accounting tricks and bullshit. I have a couple of Clear 4G adapters and was impressed that I'd managed to pull over 100 gigs through one of them for two months straight. I just went back last week to see what my most recent month had been and saw that I'd somehow gone back in time and moved over 500 gigs in both of those first couple months. And I just looked now and see I'm down to 400something and 200 gigs for those months. And last month's usage went from 128 to 131 gigs while I was poking around.

Re:Why would you think the numbers would match up? (1)

BarryJacobsen (526926) | more than 2 years ago | (#36002098)

I'm not a lawyer, but in order for a contract to be enforceable, doesn't it have to be clear? Meaning if there is a cap on X, don't they need to define what X is and how it is measured?

Re:Why would you think the numbers would match up? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36002238)

All depends on how much money you have for litigation.

My only analogy (no, not a car analogy):
i used to get a water bill every three months. And every three months I used EXACTLY 9000 gallons of water. This went on for about a year and a half.

This year they switched to every two months billing, and suddenly I'm using EXACTLY 10000 gallons of water. In two months.

something is fishy here.

Re:Why would you think the numbers would match up? (4, Informative)

Archangel Michael (180766) | more than 2 years ago | (#36002194)

If that is the case, (and I would assume the asshats would do this) then they are opening up themselves to a huge lawsuit. If you're going to measure "bandwidth" and put limits based on usage in terms of bytes (giga/tera) then you best be measuring bytes, and not the packets * MTU, which is a gross over simplification of the measure. There is no way that packets * MTU can be said to equate to anything in "bytes" except for pointy headed managers.

There are too many programs using low level states that need keep alive packets going, that don't measure in MTU size units. MTU is ~1400 bytes, and ping uses 32 bytes ... yeah that will work.

Netgear N600 (4, Informative)

jayhawk88 (160512) | more than 2 years ago | (#36001806)

If you're not comfortable/willing to install a custom firmware, the Netgear N600 has a meter built in.

Querying the router (1)

denyingbelial (2014450) | more than 2 years ago | (#36001826)

I'd be particularily interested in knowing how one could query that information from the router without browsing to the router.

I'd love to have a utility that sits in a small corner of my desktop, just showing me how much bandwidth has gone through the router.

Does DD-WRT offer a way to do that?

Re:Querying the router (1)

Abstrackt (609015) | more than 2 years ago | (#36002022)

This [ubuntuforums.org] appears to work.

Or if you want to get really fancy, DD-WRT lets you control the LEDs on your router. It probably wouldn't be that hard to create a script that flashes your bandwidth usage in Morse code at a predefined interval.

Re:Querying the router (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36002110)

Looks like DD-WRT supports SNMP and has a helpful wiki article [dd-wrt.com]. You'll need to use another program to query over SNMP to get the data and display it on your desktop.

DDWRT works for me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36001856)

DDWRT on a Linksys WRT--54GL works just fine for me. I go to the router IP address, then click on status, then wan, and bingo, I know already that so far this month I've had May 2011 (Incoming: 1074 MB / Outgoing: 45 MB) ... and the information between the parenthesis is cut and pasted from the router information tab, currently open in the other chrome tab. The granularity isn't smaller than megabyte, but thats how my ISP measures caps and bandwidth anyway. A google search will point you to the DDWRT page, where you can download (for free) DDWRT. If you like DDWRT, you can donate money via paypal or moneybookers, or donate hardware (so they can create firmware for it).

ipac-ng (1)

nOw2 (1531357) | more than 2 years ago | (#36001882)

I used ipac-ng http://ipac-ng.sourceforge.net/ [sourceforge.net] for many years, until its lack of maintenance caused it drop significantly behind newer Linux kernels. sigh. Worked brilliantly when it did work though.

It means running all data through a linux box, but this is a given for me as I always have a firewall box for iptables, so I can split off my public IPs and home network. But all a bit much for a home ADSL connection really.

/. Troll Filter (-1, Offtopic)

webmistressrachel (903577) | more than 2 years ago | (#36001900)

I know I've used to much bandwidth when I see one of these:

Due to excessive bad posting from this IP or Subnet, anonymous comment posting has temporarily been disabled. You can still login to post. However, if bad posting continues from your IP or Subnet that privilege could be revoked as well. If it's you, consider this a chance to sit in the timeout corner or login and improve your posting. If it's someone else, this is a chance to hunt them down. If you think this is unfair, please email moderation@slashdot.org with your MD5'd IPID and SubnetID, which are "fe540dc672ef9ba48feb8f3d9d4f4ef6" and "27279a869184a642213d0a335fe3ce5c".

Re:/. Troll Filter (0)

webmistressrachel (903577) | more than 2 years ago | (#36002346)

Again, folks, please moderate properly!! The parent is a troll, and possibly flamebait, but it is certainly not offtopic - despite stretching the meaning of the word bandwidth it is nonetheless about the subject of the article, and therefore cannot be offtopic!

Use rfc1149 as an aide (3, Funny)

davidwr (791652) | more than 2 years ago | (#36001908)

I put a pair of RFC1149-to-Ethernet gateways between my border router and my cable modem.

I then estimate the number of packets by measuring the amount of poultry poop between the gateway devices.

I multiply this by an estimated average packet size and I have a pretty good estimate of the number of bytes transferred plus the number of bytes lost.

Unfortunately I'm still trying to figure out my packet-loss ratio. Once I've got that down I'll have a better handle on how much traffic is going in and out of the modem.

pfSense (1)

yakatz (1176317) | more than 2 years ago | (#36001920)

This may be overkill for many home networks, but we use pfSense [pfsense.org] running on an about-8-year-old computer.
Besides for firewall, NAT and bandwidth reporting (per-IP and aggregate), we are running Squid/SquidGuard and a VPN connector.

CPU: Intel(R) Pentium(R) 4 CPU 2.80GHz (2793.01-MHz 686-class CPU)
RAM: 512 MB

Dear Slashdot, (-1, Troll)

StikyPad (445176) | more than 2 years ago | (#36001938)

Can someone please explain how to turn off my computer? I suspect it's possible because I've seen other people turn theirs off, but I have no idea how to use technology and you guys seem smart. Thanks.

Addendum:
Why the #^( doesn't it clearly explain that the website doesn't remember what you type unless you hit Submit. It took me an hour of trial and error to figure that out.

BitMeter OS (1)

The_only_matty_x (831330) | more than 2 years ago | (#36001940)

I use BitMeter OS. http://codebox.org.uk/pages/bitmeterOs [codebox.org.uk] It's a nice piece of software that has a number of useful features, such as a stopwatch that measures the amount of bandwidth you are using over a short period of time. You can also query a database that has information on your bandwidth usage over time. You can export these data as a CSV. The only drawback is that, by default, the software writes to your drive every 1 second when it is in use. You can change this using command line options. I have it write once a minute personally.

pppd logs it (1)

rrayst (857205) | more than 2 years ago | (#36002004)

in the form of "localhost pppd[15600]: Sent 136276607 bytes, received 1262955416 bytes." into the syslog, for example, when the connection closes - therefore it might not be what you are looking for.

Tomato... (1)

Fallen Kell (165468) | more than 2 years ago | (#36002016)

You do it at your router. Easiest way is with a router that supports linux and use tomato as they have a whole bandwidth monitoring built in with good statistics.

FritzBox (1)

Stephan Schulz (948) | more than 2 years ago | (#36002026)

My 5 year old FRITZ!Box [www.avm.de] keeps traffic statistics for the current day, last day, last week, and current and previous months, with the stock firmware. It did so when it ran as a DSL modem, and it does so now it's configured as a WLAN router connected to the cable modem. I kinda assumed that level of features was standard...

nfsen (1)

xdroop (4039) | more than 2 years ago | (#36002038)

I use a Linux router running nfsen on the internal interface. From there I can set filters that count flows, bytes, and packets in and out of the router. (I can also go back in later and look at who was doing what if the resulting graphs look funny.)

I don't expect the numbers that I get to match what my provider's say; I just expect that if they claim I am over, I will be able to confirm that (within certain loose percentages) and then figure out why I am over.

No caps here (1)

mikael_j (106439) | more than 2 years ago | (#36002062)

I'm swedish so caps aren't really of any concern to me. I do however monitor my bandwidth usage using SNMP + rrdtool with a small web page that shows bandwidth usage and some other statistics (including room temperature, system load and uptime for my home server).

I used to just use "rrdtool graph" to create images but I recently switched to using a jQuery-based client-side plotting library called flot [google.com] since it produces my cleaner graphs and it also allows me to use AJAX to update only the data rather than push a whole new image on every update...

You could easily modify a solution such as this to also monitor total data transferred over a specified period of time (such as the current calendar month or the last 30 days).

Good Question, Lame Obiter Dicta (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36002084)

I don't want to pay for their modem firmware updates and other network management traffic

How is that relevant? You think you have some say in the matter?

Cacti & RRDTool (1)

ParkaMark (2100724) | more than 2 years ago | (#36002102)

I have Cacti polling the byte counters on my Linux router interfaces, which then puts all that into an RRD file. I can then see usage by graph definitions created in Cacti.

But one very useful feature of Cacti is the '|sum:auto:current:2:auto|' feature (google this for further info), which does exactly what it says. Add this into any graph definition, and it will sum the entire data set values across the time frame that has been specified for the graph (obtained from the RRD file) and print you the sum of the values.

In other words, I can take my mouse, select the last 30 minutes of my bandwidth graph within Cacti, and it will tell me how much bandwidth I have used within this 30 minutes. Similarly, I can also select the last 30 days, and see my usage for the last month. In short, I can select -any- time period I want from my graph, and it will tell me how much data I have downloaded/uploaded during the selected time period. Very useful feature indeed (and one I don't think many know about).

PFSense (1)

jonxor (1841382) | more than 2 years ago | (#36002146)

If you are willing to replace your router, I highly reccomend the FreeBSD-based router software "PFSense". It runs on any X86 hardware, and combines the ease of use of a commercial router, with the highly advanced networking features of expensive routers, while running on any hardware you have (so if it breaks, you can just move your config files to another machine, boot it up, and begin running again). I am so confident in it, I deployed it at my workplace, a multi-million dollar business with about 75 users, and several WAN Connections. Recommending it because it includes a bandwidth meter, is like recommending an airplane because it has a reading light; That is only one of its many features and uses. http://www.pfsense.org/ [pfsense.org]

Try asking. (2)

Bieeanda (961632) | more than 2 years ago | (#36002150)

I use a Windows desktop gadget to keep an eye on current activity and a rough tally of accumulated usage, since my roommate doesn't do much besides watch Youtube videos and chat with her boyfriend.

For specific details, like how much my ISP thinks I've been using, and plans to charge me for, I go to their web page and bring up my account.

I run OpenBSD as my firewall... (1)

QuietLagoon (813062) | more than 2 years ago | (#36002284)

... and I run a cron job hourly that takes a snapshot of the network traffic (in and out) for that hour and then uses syslog to write the data to a log file. I know my hourly traffic for the past couple of years.

opennms, bandwidthd, darkstat (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36002300)

opennms - great does more than just bandwidth usage - maybe overkill
darkstat - works well for usage tracking though I wish the reporting was more human readable
bandwidthd - worked for me but seem to loose historical data

If you want a more full featured firewall.... (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 2 years ago | (#36002304)

I used to use DD-WRT or Tomato, but I wanted a faster router/firewall with more features. so I built a Mini ITX router with the following.....

http://www.ipcop.org/ [ipcop.org] - a great high end firewall package.

http://m0n0.ch/wall/ [m0n0.ch] --BSD based and solid as a rock.

http://www.pfsense.org/ [pfsense.org] if you want gobs and gobs of plugins and features. it's a fork of Monowall with more plugin support.

NOTE: some people consider plugins to be evil for a firewall. I find having to run 3 servers for a home network to be silly. So I run pfsense with a gajillion plugins for the features I want and a fileserver/app server on the inside.

ifconfig (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#36002326)

Reboot your router on the 1st of every month (so you remember how, etc). Better to find out it doesn't boot when you're ready to fix it, rather than 2am some random day. That would imply the 1st is an excellent day to upgrade to the latest everything, just in case you missed a security advisory, etc.

Then, anytime, log in and "ifconfig" and look at the second to last line of the external interface (last line is a blank). Probably, you initially set up the firewall with eth0 plugged into the LAN and got it all set up, then plugged eth1 into the cablemodem or DSL modem or wireless gadget or whatever while reconfiguring eth0 to the old firewall's inside ethernet config. So probably "ifconfig eth1 | tail -2 | head -1" is all you really need. Assuming your email is working, have a cron job run that nightly or whatever and get an email. Or put it in a nice little script, or have the MOTD updated to contain that hourly, or whatever.

I do VLANs on the inside for the phones vs everything else (yeah for linux support of dot1q), and some traffic routes from the inside webservers to the phone web interfaces, so its much simpler to watch the "outside" than the "inside".

NetLimiter (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36002362)

Don't know if this has been mentioned, but there is a program called NetLimiter which records how much a computer is downloading, and even keeps track of what programs are downloading and how much they are downloading. This isn't really ideal for tracking how much is getting downloaded in total over your internet connection, especially if you have multiple computers, but it will allow you see how much each computer it is installed on is doing, if you want to see why you are downloading so much if that happens.

Cacti (1)

stazeii (1148459) | more than 2 years ago | (#36002372)

My home server is running Cacti querying my Airport Extreme basestation/router. It might be a bit much for the average user, so another option would be to find a Linksys or other type router that you can run Tomato on. It'll do this type of thing.

SNMP (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36002374)

If your router supports SNMP (most do) you can use this script to keep track of the total traffic passing through an interface. It can be used as a stand alone script, or in conjunction with Nagios for alerting. I have been using this in a large scale production environment for a few months now, and its simple, but very effective. I also use it at home with great success!

http://code.google.com/p/checksnmptraffic/

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