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How do I monitor bandwidth usage on network?

Hello, everybody!

Sorry if this is the wrong forum, but it seems like the correct one. I would simply like to know how I can monitor internet usage by bandwidth on a wireless network address. My setup:
I am using the ZTE MF28B from Rogers to access the internet. The network can be accessed wirelessly from 3 different laptops, wirelessly from my PS3 and from a wired connection to my desktop computer. All laptops and my desktop computer operate on Windows 7 Home Premium.

Why do I want to do this?
My parents live me/I live with them, same thing. But they each have a laptop and access the internet through it. My monthly allowance is 30 GB, and was consistently around 24-25 for about 6-8 months, then my parents both recently found out that they can watch videos online and look at neighbouring properties on Google Earth so my usage for last month was about 44 GB. At a cost of $5 per extra GB, that adds up.

When I first approached my mom about this, she claimed, "I never download anything. I just watch horse auctions online." These horse auctions can go on for a good 6-8 hours. Essentially, I have explained to them that watching videos IS downloading and using bandwith, but they do not seem to understand the cost of it.

What I would like to do is monitor their usage as well as mine by each device so that I can show them just what they are using and how much it is costing each of us. I really do not care WHAT they are using the internet for, I just want to know the bandwidth. I suppose it would help to know if they are watching videos or how much Google Earth uses, but that is not a concern to me at this point. (Does anybody know how much Google Earth uses?)

1. To monitor their access, would I be correct to assume that I need to use a different router?
2. How exactly do I do this? I have found a few free programs online that work with XP, but nothing for Windows 7. Well, nothing free, that is.
3. Would it be accurate to assume I would be monitoring this by MAC address?

On a final note, I feel that I've mentioned this already, but I do not want to do this to monitor and restrict my parents. I want to do this so I can show them just how much they are using and then help them curb their internet habits rather than simply tell them to not watch videos or anything like that.
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More about monitor bandwidth usage network
  1. http://lifehacker.com/5917367/how-can-i-find-out-how-much-bandwidth-im-using-at-home

    Check this article out.

    *edit* also any of the "XP" apps you've found. Simply run them in Xp compatibility mode.
  2. http://www.howtogeek.com/howto/43561/ask-how-to-geek-how-can-i-monitor-my-bandwidth-usage/

    check out the app mentioned there, you can even have it all report to 1 pc, like yours and give you totals for all connected pcs that run the app.

    Short of that, unless it's an industrial router, most consumer ones don't allow that much detail. Even with hacked firmwares like dd-wrt, it's limited in what it can monitor and report.
  3. Though I'm surprised you get by with 30GB a month. My family uses with all the netflix, hulu, youtube, internet radio, skype ~470GB a month.
  4. Supermuncher85 said:
    Though I'm surprised you get by with 30GB a month. My family uses with all the netflix, hulu, youtube, internet radio, skype ~470GB a month.


    I have a business class net connection because it's the only way I can get true unlimited where I live. Average is 500-700gb a month and I think the record was about 1.7TB. 30GB would kill my house. l ol.
  5. Yeah I run two lines myself as well since one wan't enough.
  6. Thanks to unoriginal1 and getochkn for the helpful links. I'll try to figure something out tonight when I get home from work.

    As for the 30 GB limit, it sucks, but it's about all we can get in this area aside from dial-up. There are a few other cheaper options, but they are still too slow. 30 GB for $150...I really do not want to pay that, but cable is unavailable here as is the Bell Fibe internet, so I do not know of any other options.
  7. I manage IT for a local Fraternity and we're set up like this:

    Comcast Cable Modem -> Untangle Web Filter -> Network Switches/Access Points

    If you've got some spare hardware lying around and aren't averse to getting your hands dirty, you could try putting something like that together. With that box in the middle, I can go in and see the total bandwidth consumed per day/week/month. For instance I know one person consumed 51.9 MB of data on youtube on May 1st. There are other perks like being able to block ads to help reduce your bandwidth consumption, and locking out certain types of applications like torrents, and in-line spyware protection.

    Best part is that much of the software is free. I'm not a sales person, so you'll have to check it out for yourself:
    http://www.untangle.com/

    You'll be able to test out the whole google earth thing for yourself, even.
  8. you may want to look at these two also: Solarwinds http://www.solarwinds.com/netflow-traffic-analyzer.aspx
    and SparrowIQ https://www.sparrowiq.com/
    both run on Windows
  9. MattBrown said:
    you may want to look at these two also: Solarwinds http://www.solarwinds.com/netflow-traffic-analyzer.aspx
    and SparrowIQ https://www.sparrowiq.com/
    both run on Windows

    First this is very old thread so be careful what you post to.

    You need to read these question closely. Like most things you find on a forum like this the people asking the question are using consumer grade routers. Both products you recommend will not work with consumer grade equipment since they do no have the features required to give you access to the data.
    If you had actually taken the time to read the post you would have found the router he is using a LTE broadband device. These means it is impossible to insert anything between a wireless user and the broadband. It also means there is no option to load third party firmware so you can have the ability to pull data via snmp that most these commercial tools require.
  10. Closed for necro bumping.
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