Bandwidth Monitoring Using PRTG Network Monitor

Wondering why your network, application, or website is slow? There are many potential culprits:

  • Is the router responsible?
  • Is the server blocking on IO due to an overloaded hard disk?
  • Are the leased lines the culprit? Do we just need more bandwidth?
  • Are we losing bandwidth to file-sharing applications, video streaming, and other things we don't expect to be running on our corporate network?

Bandwidth monitoring software helps pinpoint your actual problem so that you can stop guessing and start resolving it.

Bandwidth monitoring basically entails tracking the bandwidth usage of leased lines, network connections, network devices (routers, switches, etc.) and the like. This way, bandwidth monitoring software such as PRTG Network Monitor helps you to

  • measure the actual amount of bandwidth being used (e.g. for billing purposes)
  • proactively trace usage trends, bottlenecks, and connectivity errors
  • make informed decisions on how to balance and route network traffic and decide what purchases are necessary to improve the flow of data within the network.

Furthermore, a bandwidth monitoring software can also be used to alert administrators whether there are network load issues or breached bandwidth thresholds, etc.

Benefits of a Bandwidth Monitoring Software

Understanding bandwidth and resource consumption is the key to better network management:

  • Avoid bandwidth and server performance bottlenecks
  • Find out what applications or what servers are using up your bandwidth
  • Deliver better quality of service to your users by being proactive
  • Reduce costs by buying bandwidth and hardware according to actual load
  • Identify Shadow IT in your company

For a quick and accurate analysis you need a bandwidth meter and router monitor such as PRTG Network Monitor.

PRTG Network Monitor monitors bandwidth and the traffic in your network and provides you with detailed results - tables and graphs - and allows administrators to discern actual bandwidth usage issues based on multiple parameters,  such as IP addresses, port numbers, protocols, etc., using either SNMP, packet sniffing or NetFlow monitoring.

Four Methods to Check Bandwidth Usage

Depending on your infrastructure you can choose between four different bandwidth data acquisition methods supported by PRTG:

  • SNMP: the Simple Network Management Protocol is used to check bandwidth usage of routers and switches port-by-port as well as device readings like memory, CPU load etc.
  • LAN Packet Sniffing: the Packet Sniffer inspects all network data packets passing the system's network card and is able to classify network traffic by IP address, protocol, and other parameters.
  • WLAN Packet Sniffing: PRTG is able to inspect all network data packets travelling in your WLAN network in order to classify network traffic by IP address, protocol and other parameters.
  • Netflow: The Netflow protocol is supported by most Cisco routers. It is the most powerful method available to check bandwidth usage and classify network traffic.PRTG also supports the sFlow and jFlow protocols, which are used by other vendors.

Bandwidth Monitoring Using Packet Sniffing And NetFlow Sensors

Bandwidth monitoring on the basis of packet sniffer sensors generally uses the host machine's network card, but can be configured to use monitoring ports found on some networking devices using port mirroring / forwarding in order to monitor the overall network bandwidth utilization.

Bandwidth monitoring software that uses NetFlow receives preaggregated data forwarded by NetFlow-capable Cisco devices. PRTG supports packet sniffing as well as NetFlow, sFlow and jFlow for bandwidth monitoring.

Free Bandwidth Monitoring Software

You can test our network diagnostic tools with the 30-Day-Trial-Edition. The Freeware Edition is completely free for personal and commercial use, and may be downloaded at no cost. Need more sensors to monitor a larger IT infrastructure? See our commercial licenses here.

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