It is becoming more common for internet providers to establish data caps. They would usually make claims like their data limits are great for “millions of emails.” The trouble is that emails are small, but HD videos like Netflix are very large.
Depending on what you do on the internet, you can exceed your limits pretty fast, so it might be a good idea to monitor your data usage. Here we have listed several ways that can help you accomplish this.
Use GlassWire to monitor your bandwidth
GlassWire is an excellent Windows firewall application, but it can do much more than just blocking incoming connections. It also has an excellent bandwidth usage monitoring tool. When you launch it, the default view will show you a real-time graph of the network activity which is pretty impressive.
Your incoming and/or outgoing bandwidth usage is categorized by connections of individual apps, and if you would like to know what hosts your applications connect to, you can see this as well.
Check the web interface of your ISP
If your internet service provider tracks your bandwidth usage and holds you to a data cap, they will likely provide you with a page on their website where you can see how much data you have used in the last month. Different providers call it different things. AT&T calls it “My AT&T Usage,” while Cox names this a “Data Usage Meter.”
The best way to stay up-to-date on the amount of data you use is using your ISP’s tool. Regardless of how carefully you monitor your own data, your ISP is going to use their data to decide how much you upload/download.
Track your bandwidth with Windows 8
Windows 8 has a feature included that will track the bandwidth you have used up. It was added to help with mobile data usage, but you can identify any connection as ‘metered’ to track traffic.
This feature can be very useful, however, it will only work on devices that are running Windows 8, and it will track only a single PC connection. You should be aware it won’t be the same as your ISP’s billing period, which won’t make it very useful for identifying over-usage. It’s far more helpful if you are monitoring a connection for a single device. For example, if you have a mobile data connection built into your Windows tablet, this feature could be beneficial.
Monitoring bandwidth across numerous Windows PCs with Networx
This free Windows app lets you monitor the bandwidth used by numerous PCs. The most helpful feature Networx offers is its ability to synchronize bandwidth reports across your entire network. That means if you have 6 different Windows computers on your home network, you will be able to sync them up to track your complete bandwidth usage across all of your PCs.
Unfortunately, this only works with Windows. Networx doesn’t work with Linux systems, Macs, Chromebooks, smartphones, non-Windows tablets, game consoles, or many other network-connected systems and devices you might own.
Monitoring data usage with your router
The alternative is to track the data usage directly from your home router. Every device, wired or wireless, will connect to the internet using this device.
However, the problem is that most home routers do not have this feature built-in. Still, you can easily install a third-party router firmware like OpenWrt and use bandwidth monitoring software to get a clear picture of your traffic patterns.
Whatever method you end up choosing, remember that the accuracy of the data should be your primary focus. When monitoring bandwidth, it’s important to get accurate numbers so you could always be up-to-date on you data and money spending.