Internet access is becoming a necessity of the modern living. People in first-world countries are continually accessing the Internet. Consequently, Internet data plans are becoming expensive as well due to the demand. As such, it is essential to monitor your usage and bandwidth.
Why to Monitor Internet Usage & Bandwidth?
Internet data plans are expensive. Especially when, you are living in a large metropolitan area. You are paying your Internet Service Provider for a specific amount of bandwidth. Moreover, most plans also come with the dreaded data cap.
It is worth noting how much data and bandwidth you are using. You should have the information available whether you are on unlimited connection or limited data cap.
You do not have to be a network engineer to understand your computer's network activities. There are tools which can summarize the information for you.
Internet plans with at least 60 Mbps are almost $60 per month on average in the United States. In some areas, it is close to $100 such as in the United Arab Emirates. It does not include additional data for capped services. Therefore, it is important to budget your data allowance every month.
It is still necessary to monitor your network activities even if you are on unlimited data. Common issues such as buffering video streams lag in online gaming, and choppy VoIP connections may stem from mismanaged bandwidth.
It is possible that you are receiving lower bandwidth than you are paying. However, sometimes apps on your computer eat up connection without your knowledge. You may be receiving enough bandwidth, but some programs are hogging your bandwidth.
Top 5 Free Internet Traffic Monitoring Tools
Windows Network Monitor
Cucusoft Net Guard
PRTG Network Monitor
All Network Monitoring
First Time Users
Here, we list the best free Internet traffic monitoring tools. We'll start with the simplest tools to the most feature-rich.
5. Windows Network Monitor
Naturally, Windows 10 has a native network monitoring tool. It provides a basic look at your data usage. It is a perfect tool if you just need necessary usage information.
Click the Start. Then, click on the Setting cog icon.
Click Network & Internet in Windows Settings.
Choose Data usage under Network status.
You will see your total data usage from the last 30 days in the Data usage window.
Click View usage details to see how much data each program is using.
Take note that Windows Network Monitor only offers simple data use. Additionally, you can just see data usage on your computer. It will not take into account other devices connected to your network. You can easily access data usage in the future by pinning it on the Start menu.
4. BitMeter OS
BitMeter OS is an excellent tool if you need more network information without too many advanced features. It is a free, open-source bandwidth monitor that works on Windows, Linux, and Mac.
It offers both data usage reports and real-time data monitoring. Its interface is a bit different from other tools. You have to open your browser and go to http://localhost:2065. You also have the option to view results on the command line.
BitMeter OS gives you essential information in different tabs. Monitor, History, and Summary tabs offered real-time and collected information about your bandwidth and data usage. Its strengths lie in its Alert Editor. It lets you set-up notification when your Internet usage exceeds an absolute limit.
You can also export a detailed report of your network activities into a spreadsheet. The Query tab lets you specify a date range for more customization.
3. Cucusoft Net Guard
Cucusoft Net Guard is a freeware that lets you monitor your Internet usage and maximise your bandwidth. It can even identify and eliminate possible malicious apps that are using your connection. The tool includes an excellent bandwidth monitoring section for your overall network.
Net Guard also lets you set a global network limit. It will catch and notify you of any programs overusing the bandwidth. Similarly, you can examine how much data each application is using.
It also allows you to kills any application using your connection. It means you can stop any malware from connecting to a third-party server. You can also calculate bandwidth usage. It gives you forecasts on how much you'll use in a month. It makes data usage easy to manage.
2. PRTG Network Monitor
PRTG Network Monitor is a robust tool to analyze your entire network. It is free for smaller networks with 100 or fewer sensors. A sensor can be a router, modem, or any network interface. You can quickly select a sensor in your system and the tool will collect information.
It may look intimidating at first, but it presents information in charts and graphs. PRTG Network Monitor captures download and upload speeds. You can easily see which sensor is hogging network bandwidth.
Additionally, it is a useful tool for advanced users. It presents port numbers, IP addresses, protocols and other network data. The program can also alert you in case of bandwidth shortages. You can receive notifications through SMS, email, or push notifications.
NetBalancer is a complete, consumer Internet traffic control and monitor tool. It works in most versions of Windows operating system. You can monitor your whole network including adapters and processes. That means, it can track wired and wireless connections at the same time.
It also presents how much bandwidth and data your applications are using. You can quickly examine detailed network information in the window. Additionally, you can activate the tray icon and mini-window to see real-time network activity easily.
The monitoring functions are free, but NetBalancer also offers premium features. You can configure priorities and speed limits for processes. That means you can create rules on which apps receive priority connection. Moreover, you can set global traffic limits. It is useful when you want to manage data.
It can be expensive to overuse your data limit. You can use efficiently budget data cap as long as you have the proper tools to monitor it. Having the information right at your fingertips may save you valuable money in the future. It is also necessary to spot possible malware using your connection. It may even protect you from further infection.