Exactly how much data and bandwidth are your network devices using? Monitoring data all the time and in all its volume could be pretty tough, so your best bet would be to have custom router firmware to do it for you. Still, there are a couple of alternatives available if you want to skip tweaking your router.
Data monitoring via your router
The best way to monitor your data would be to use the router. All of your devices will connect to the internet using it, so it is naturally the best place to log and monitor data transfers and bandwidth usage.
However, most routers don’t have the ability to see what device is using which amount of data and bandwidth. Some of the higher-end routers have that ability, but they don’t really offer a way to track the bandwidth for each device.
You will need to have a third-party router firmware installed for this. For example, DD-WRT will give you the chance to view bandwidth usage as well as even see which device is using the most. This will let you pinpoint all the devices that are hogging the bandwidth at that moment.
Monitoring single devices
Without the help of a router, complete data monitoring of your system won’t really be possible. You could rely on bandwidth monitoring tools that are built into the devices. However, most of the devices such as tablets, smartphones, and laptops, won’t just use the data that is on your network. As a result, you won’t be able to rely on a data usage meter completely.
Different operating systems will have various tools that can help. GlassWire happens to be free and will let you track your data usage on all versions of Windows. On Windows 8 and 10, the system itself allows you to monitor a single connection as well.
The bottom line
The only way that you can get the complete picture is to monitor the data usage from your router. If you aren’t able to do that, but you want to know which devices are using the most data, then install a tool to help you. However, there are some devices that won’t allow installations, for example, game consoles.
If data monitoring is really important for you, then your only option would be to set up a router that has custom firmware.