5 Tools To Monitor Your Bandwidth Consumption
With Comcast announcing a 250 GB cap on its broadband service and Time Warner trialling a tiered service with limits that range from 5 GB to 40 GB, we’ve decided to challenge people to break those caps. Obviously we can’t verify if someone actually downloads everything they claim to, but we’re looking for real examples of how a heavy bandwidth user could breach either the 40 GB or 250 GB limit. Leave your attempts in the comments.
I’ve come up with a list of free bandwidth monitoring software for Windows and Mac that should tide you over until Verizon brings some Fios action to your hood.
In October, Comcast broadband users will be restricted to 250GB worth of downloads per month. When asked whether the cable company was planning on offering a bandwidth meter to customers, a Comcast representative stated that it hopes to, eventually, but until then Google would be a nice place to find one.
Unless you have a large family that consists of early adopters (and teenagers), or you want to step up your seeding for BitTorrent files, most people should try for the more easily attainable Time Warner caps. And since you’re going to need some software to measure your current consumption, below is a list of free and cheap programs.
- BitMeter 2 is a bandwidth meter, it allows you to visually monitor your internet connection by displaying a scrolling graph that shows your upload and download speed over time. BitMeter is freeware – ie. it is given away completely free of charge, there is no trial period, no time-limited features, no spyware, and no adware, guaranteed.
This is what BitMeter looks like. The different colours on the graph represent your upload and download speeds, the display updates every second, and the current speeds are also displayed numerically in the lower part of the window.
- Bandwidth Monitor Lite is a simple network monitor to keep track of your upload and download bandwidth statistics. It also displays a real-time graph of your current bandwidth usage and maintains a long-term log of daily statistics. The monitoring features are very basic and limited to a graph display and basic log, however if that is all you need, you may want to give it a try. The interface is modern and fully customizable. Bandwidth Monitor Lite offer a graphical design mode that allows you to completely alter the looks and choose the data to be displayed in the monitor.
- Axence NetTools is a comprehensive set of host monitoring, network scanning, security and administration tools, all with a highly intuitive user interface.Axence was the more advanced one by far, with a well-organized and professional-looking layout, but neither has bandwidth-monitoring capabilities that Comcast users will be looking for. Axence does have a “bandwidth monitor,” but it can only check on user-specified connections, not overall up/down traffic.
- FreeMeter is a utility that monitors system performance.It was designed and programmed with the idea that a utility that monitors system performance should not impact system performance.
- SurplusMeter is freeware. It’s open-source, released under the GNU General Public Licence.
If you have a broadband internet service with a monthly download limit, you may find SurplusMeter comes in handy. It measures the download and upload traffic on your Internet connection and keeps a record of your traffic volume. It gives you all kinds of useful output statistics, like daily allowance, average daily usage, accumulated surplus, and more.
Statistics are presented in three ways: simple bytes in/out; summaries of megabytes used and remaining, and graphic meters which display at a glance when you’re getting close to exceeding your limit.
Privacy Note: SurplusMeter measures only the volume of traffic on your connection. It does not look at the content of data in/out or record where it comes from. Also, SurplusMeter is completely passive; it does not send any information to anyone.