Paessler PRTG

Bandwidth monitoring made easy with PRTG


  • Visually analyze bandwidth using graphs and toplists
  • Customize alerts of bandwidth shortages & bottlenecks
  • Quickly detect root causes and prevent overloads
  • Maximize network performance and uptime

Monitor network traffic directly from your routers: SNMP, WMI, packet sniffing, NetFlow, sFlow, jFlow, IPFIX


Our users give top ratings for monitoring with Paessler PRTG



Bandwidth monitoring with PRTG: an all-in-one solution



PRTG makes bandwidth monitoring easy

Custom alerts and data visualization make it easy to monitor, identify, and prevent bandwidth issues.


Why choose PRTG for bandwidth monitoring?

Troubleshoot "bandwidth hogs" faster

Paessler PRTG helps you troubleshoot bandwidth issues faster with a comprehensive network bandwidth monitor. You can choose from around 20 preconfigured sensors for bandwidth monitoring that are set up with just a few clicks. This way, you can more quickly find out which devices or applications are hogging your bandwidth.

Measure all traffic in your network

Most bandwidth analysis solutions only check traffic on a single device. PRTG measures all network traffic by monitoring data directly on your routers using protocols like SNMP, WMI, flow (NetFlow, jFlow, sFlow, IPFIX), or packet sniffing. Monitor all ingoing and outgoing traffic and see which applications or servers are using the most bandwidth.

Monitor over a longer period

PRTG lets you keep an eye on your bandwidth over a longer period of time and recognizes when utilization spikes. This helps you plan for more bandwidth at key times, like when your website is in high demand, when users draw heavily upon applications, or when an update is pending.

Diagnose capacity & plan more efficiently

When your bandwidth is slowly reaching its limit, PRTG bandwidth monitor notifies you even before maximum capacity has been reached. This lets you plan for new resources in a timely manner.

Reduce costs & improve satisfaction

By removing bandwidth hogs, you'll increase the efficiency of your network. These savings quickly compensate for the cost of PRTG. You'll also boost the reliability of your network and enjoy greater control of your IT infrastructure. This way, you'll improve employee performance and boost customer satisfaction.



What is bandwidth monitoring?

Bandwidth monitoring is a method to measure the actual bandwidth that is available on a local system (LAN or WiFi). Bandwidth monitoring tools display real-time data such as download and upload speed and thus help prevent network strain.

Private individuals and professionals alike use bandwidth monitoring with PRTG to check for available bandwidth.


What bandwidth monitoring looks like in PRTG


With PRTG, it is easy to track and check bandwidth usage in your network. The bandwidth tool reads the traffic data directly from your routers and visualizes the results, for example, in so-called toplist graphs. This way, you will quickly and easily be able to check bandwidth usage and the amount of data transferred.

How PRTG defines sensors (FAQ)




IT experts agree: Paessler PRTG is a great solution for IT infrastructure monitoring


“All-around winning
network monitor”

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“The real beauty of PRTG is the endless possibilities it offers”


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PRTG is compatible with all major vendors & manufacturers


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Start bandwidth monitoring with PRTG and see how it can make your network more reliable and your job easier.


Your bandwidth monitoring at a glance – even on the go

Set up PRTG in minutes and use it on almost any mobile device.


PRTG comes with all the features you need, plus more your IT infrastructure won't want to live without.



PRTG monitors these vendors and applications in one view!


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Get a comprehensive overview of your bandwidth usage with PRTG

Monitoring bandwidth usage is key to better network management


Find the source of bottlenecks

PRTG reads the complete traffic data directly from your routers and provides detailed statistics about which services and applications use your bandwidth and where potential bottlenecks could be.

  • Monitor users
  • Monitor devices
  • Monitor services

Monitor bandwidth by any parameter

PRTG displays your bandwidth usage in graphs and toplists and shows net bandwidth consumption based on various parameters using, for example, packet sniffing or flow sensors (NetFlow, sFlow, jFlow, or IPFIX).

Configure custom alerts & notifications

Custom alerts notify you about bandwidth shortages. This ensures that you can react proactively to all bandwidth issues and troubleshoot problems before they become critical.

  • SMS alerts
  • Push notifications
  • Email alerts (and more)










Bandwidth monitoring for professionals


In professional business settings, it has severe consequences if only limited bandwidth is available. Disruptions lead to idleness on the part of employees and customers – and a corresponding loss of sales and revenue. This is why administrators must be able to immediately determine and eliminate bandwidth hogs.

PRTG solves bandwidth issues by helping you to...

  • Easily detect & measure heavy bandwidth overloads
  • Quickly recognize potential disruptions
  • Clearly see which user, service, or device is using the most bandwidth



PRTG makes bandwidth monitoring easy

Custom alerts and data visualization make it easy to monitor, identify, and prevent bandwidth issues.


3 use cases for PRTG bandwidth monitoring

One single network component that overloads can bring your network to its knees. PRTG quickly identifies potential bandwidth bottlenecks and pinpoints the root causes of crashes in likely scenarios.


Problems with large file transfers

Every company sends large files, which consumes a lot of bandwidth. PRTG helps you avoid the bottlencks lurking in your network that slow down or disrupt large file transfers and cost you dearly in time and money.

Slow applications and services

Your coworkers complain that internal programs are running slowly. Your customers complain that your website seems bogged down. PRTG solves this by showing you the cause of overloads and keeping your network at maximum efficiency.

Backup malfunctions and disruptions

No IT can do without backups. But database synchronizations and backups require a lot of bandwidth – one overload or bottleneck can disrupt everything. PRTG alerts you of bandwidth shortages so you can prevent overloads before they occur.


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“We can all work with greater peace of mind knowing
that our systems are constantly being monitored.”

Markus Puke, Network Administrator, Schüchtermann Klinik, Germany


Start bandwidth monitoring with PRTG and see how it can make your network more reliable and your job easier.



PRTG makes your job easier

Our monitoring software frees you to focus on other tasks by promptly notifying you of potential issues.


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Save effort

PRTG gives you one central monitoring tool for your servers and entire network. Enjoy a quick overview of your whole infrastructure via our dashboard and app.

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Save time

Getting started with PRTG is a breeze. Setting up or switching from another network monitoring tool is easy thanks to the auto-discovery and pre-configured device templates.

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Save money

80% of our customers report substantial cost savings with network monitoring. Your costs of licenses will likely pay for themselves within weeks.



Case study: Austria's rail traffic relies on PRTG



Due to business-critical applications, it is of the utmost importance that the ÖBB Infrastruktur AG data network runs flawlessly at all times. To make this a reality, the management installed PRTG Network Monitor. PRTG is used for monitoring the bandwidth of central routers and switches in the network so administrators can determine the most important key parameters for utilization and availability. In total, monitoring the ÖBB data network consists of several thousand PRTG sensors that query relevant metrics at regular intervals.

See case study


The challenge: How to test bandwidth

Would you like to know if your Internet service provider actually provides the bandwidth they've promised? Like many administrators, you probably perform many SLA checks – but how do you test your bandwidth?


Two primary challenges of testing bandwidth


1. Paralyzing your network

To test the maximum throughput, you must use your line to maximum capacity. This means that there will be no more resources for other data during the network test. In other words, you'll paralyze your network.


2. Isolating the test track

For a 100% measurement, you'll essentially need two computers which are directly located on the ends of the line whose bandwidth you want to test. Otherwise, you will simultaneously test all network devices found on the "test track".

Test connection speed

For these reasons, you cannot measure the bandwidth directly during the entire test, but must test the speed of the connection by generating short load peaks. You can do this, for example, by downloading a small file (a few KB) every few minutes and measuring the time it takes for the download to finish.


The solution: PRTG makes it easier to test bandwidth



Create three HTTP Advanced sensors that access several files of about 500 KB each from various "fast servers" (for example, the static websites of your Internet service provider).


Let the sensors run for a few hours with a 5-minute scanning interval. The sensors have a channel that specifies the bandwidth achieved during the file download in Kbps.


If you have a data line with a specified bandwidth of 4 Mbps, for example, the network test of downloading a 500 KB file should last 1 second: 4 Megabits per second = 0.5 MB per second = 500 KB per second


If your line is used by others during the network test, you will see jitter (unwanted fluctuations) on the curve because your test did not always run with the full amount of available bandwidth. If during the test there was no other traffic on the line, your curve should closely resemble a straight line.

Bandwidth checks with PRTG will allow you to monitor your network closely and detect potential bottlenecks before they can cause real harm.


If you download a 500 KB file every 60 seconds, you'll generate a data volume of
720 MB per day!
















Video tutorial: PRTG bandwidth monitoring methods

Watch a quick overview of the bandwidth monitoring methods PRTG offers and discover which method is best suited for your IT infrastructure.



We'll make you a monitoring expert

Gain practical knowledge on how to monitor your infrastructure with Paessler PRTG. Our training sessions are planned and provided by Paessler system engineers and are suitable for different experience levels.


Book a spot


PRTG the multi-tool

PRTG: The multi-tool for sysadmins

Adapt PRTG individually and dynamically to your needs and rely on a strong API:

  • HTTP API: Access monitoring data and manipulate monitoring objects via HTTP requests
  • Custom sensors: Create your own PRTG sensors for customized monitoring
  • Custom notifications: Create your own notifications and send action triggers to external systems
  • REST Custom sensor: Monitor almost everything that provides data in XML or JSON format


mathias hengl

Practical tip: “Hey Mathias, what would you tell administrators who wish to monitor their bandwidth?”

“Instead of trying to measure bandwidth by way of an extra, simulated load, you should have a look around for actions which do that anyway – and then monitor them. For example, when you perform backups, you often put great strain on the bandwidth and can thus easily recognize shortages or bottlenecks.”

Mathias Hengl, PRTG developer at Paessler AG


Create innovative solutions with Paessler’s partners

Partnering with innovative vendors, Paessler unleashes synergies to create
new and additional benefits for joined customers.


By integrating PRTG with Martello iQ, you can add a fast analytics layer to improve uptime, visualize your IT environment, and integrate all of your IT systems into a single pane of glass.

Read more


Paessler and Plixer provide a complete solution adding flow and metadata analysis to a powerful network monitoring tool.

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Siemon and Paessler bring together intelligent building technology and advanced monitoring and make your vision of intelligent buildings and data centers become reality.

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email course bandwidth monitoring

Free email course: You are still new to monitoring and
need a little support?

Paessler offers a free, multi-part email course that covers the 4 basic methods of bandwidth monitoring: SNMP, packet sniffing, flow, and WMI. Learn more about individual bandwidth monitoring processes and how they can help you improve bandwidth usage in your network.

Sign up here to our free email coaching and learn how you can put your resources to better use with the PRTG bandwidth meter.


FAQ: Bandwidth monitoring


1. What is bandwidth?

Bandwidth is measured as the amount of data that can be transferred from one point to another within a network in a specific amount of time. Typically, bandwidth is expressed as a bitrate and measured in bits per second (bps).

The term "bandwidth" refers to the transmission capacity of a connection and is an important factor when determining the quality and speed of a network or the internet connection

There are several different ways to measure bandwidth. Some measurements are used to calculate the current data flow while others measure the maximum flow, the typical flow, or what is considered to be good flow.

Bandwidth is also a key concept in several other technological fields. In signal processing, for example, it is used to describe the difference between the upper and lower frequencies in a transmission such as a radio signal. It is typically measured in hertz (Hz).

2. Which units do I use to express bandwidth?

Bandwidth was originally measured in bits per second and expressed as bps. However, today’s networks typically have much higher bandwidth than can be comfortably expressed by using such small units. Now it is common to see higher numbers that are denoted with metric prefixes, such as Mbps, (megabits per second), Gbps (gigabits per second), or Tbps (terabits per second).

K = kilo = 1,000 bits

M = mega = 1,000 kilo = 1,000,000 bits

G = giga = 1,000 mega = 1,000,000,000 bits

T = tera = 1,000 giga = 1,000,000,000,000 bits


After terabit, there are petabit, exabit, zettabit, and yottabit, each representing an additional power of 10.

Bandwidth can also be expressed as bytes per second. This is commonly denoted with a capital B. For example, 10 megabytes per second would be expressed as 10 MB/s or 10 MBps.

One byte is eight bits.

Thus, 10 MB/s = 80 Mb/s.

The same metric prefixes can be used with bytes as with bits. Thus, 1 TB/s is one terabyte per second.

3. How can I measure bandwidth?

You usually measure bandwidth using software or firmware and a network interface. Common bandwidth measuring tools are, for example:

  • Test TCP utility (TTCP). This tool measures throughput on an IP network between two hosts. One host is the receiver and the other host is the sender. Each side displays the number of bytes transmitted and the time that each packet needs to complete the one-way trip.
  • Paessler PRTG. This software provides a graphical interface and charts for measuring bandwidth trends over longer periods of time, and can measure traffic between different interfaces.

Typically, to measure bandwidth, the total amount of traffic sent and received over a specific period of time is counted. The resulting measurements are then expressed as a per-second number.

Another method of measuring bandwidth is to transfer a file or several files of known size and then count how long the transfer takes. The result is converted into bps by dividing the size of the files by the amount of time the transfer required. Most internet speed tests use this method to calculate the connection speed of a user’s computer to the internet.

4. How to define measured bandwidth

While there is no way to measure the total available bandwidth, there are many ways to define measured bandwidth, depending on the need.

Theoretical maximum

The highest transmission rate under ideal circumstances. The theoretical maximum transfer rate cannot be achieved in actual installations and is usually only used for comparison purposes, for example, to determine how well a connection is functioning compared to its theoretical maximum potential.

Effective bandwidth 

The highest reliable transmission rate. It is always lower than the theoretical maximum and sometimes considered the best usable bandwidth. The effective bandwidth is necessary for understanding the amount of traffic a connection can support.


The average rate of successful data transfer. It is useful for understanding the typical or usual speed of a connection. Throughput is the size of the transmitted data divided by the time it takes for the transmission to finish. Measured in bytes per second, throughput can be compared to the effective bandwidth and the theoretical maximum as a way of determining how well the connection is performing.


The amount of useful data that is transferred, excluding undesirable data such as packet retransmissions or protocol overhead. Goodput is calculated by dividing the size of the transmitted data by the amount of time the transmission took.

Total transfer method 

Counts all traffic over a set period of time, typically a month. This is most useful for billing based on how much bandwidth is used.

95th percentile method 

To avoid having bandwidth measurements skewed by spikes in usage, carriers often use the 95th percentile method. The idea is to continuously measure bandwidth usage over time and then remove the top 5 percent of use. This is useful for billing based on how much bandwidth is usually used in a set period.

In real-world networks, bandwidth varies over time depending on usage and network connections. As a result, a single bandwidth measurement says very little about the actual bandwidth usage. A series of measurements can be more useful when determining averages or trends.


5. Bandwidth vs. speed vs. throughput


There are many ways to think about the flow of data in a network. The speed of a network is defined as the bit rate of the circuit, determined by the physical signal speed of the medium.


Bandwidth is how much of the physical circuit’s capacity can be used to transmit data and is determined by how much of the network capacity is available based on the connection. While a Gigabit Ethernet network connection would allow for 1 Gbps, the bandwidth available to a computer connected by a Fast Ethernet card would only be 100 Mbps.


Throughput is the rate of successful transmission, while bandwidth is a calculation of the amount of data that passes the network interface, regardless of whether the data results in a successful transmission. As such, throughput is always lower than bandwidth.


6. Why should I measure bandwidth?

There are several reasons to measure bandwidth. Low usable bandwidth compared to the theoretical maximum bandwidth may be indicative of network problems, particularly if there are widely different usable bandwidths from different parts of a network that are designed to operate the same.

Additionally, measuring bandwidth is necessary to ensure that any paid connections are living up to their promise. Home users may run an online bandwidth test such as the DSLReports speed test. Corporate connections might be better served by measuring throughput between offices connected by a carrier-leased line connection.

Bandwidth management

To implement proper bandwidth management or QoS controls, one must first understand what bandwidth is used. Once determined, a continuous measurement will ensure that all users get the necessary bandwidth.

Bandwidth throttling

Once you understand bandwidth usage patterns and if specific users or applications degrade network performance for others, you can use tools to limit the amount of bandwidth they use.

Bandwidth maximums

Some types of connections have a maximum defined bandwidth. Actual bandwidth depends on many factors including environment, cabling, and usage, and is usually less than the theoretical maximum.

7. How do I purchase bandwidth?

Bandwidth is most often purchased from telecommunications companies. Most consumer bandwidth is sold as "up to" meaning that the customer may get up to 40 MB/s, but not always have that speed while using the connection.

Speeds may be higher or lower at different times of the day or under different circumstances. Corporate bandwidth is also typically purchased from telecommunications companies. However, many corporate agreements come with contractual performance measures that must be met, including a minimum usable bandwidth, minimum uptime, and other metrics.

Additionally, bandwidth metering may be used to charge for specific usage rather than a full connection. For example, a website owner may pay the website host only for the amount of bandwidth used by that specific website over a period of time, such as a monthly billing period.

8. What bandwidth issues are there?

Too little bandwidth

While modern protocols are pretty good in not losing any packets, limited bandwidth can still cause some issues:

  • operations take too long to complete, resulting in timeouts or process failures like application or database errors or backup malfunctions
  • users can notice long lag times between when they do something, like clicking a button, and the response to that action
  • for users attempting to make phone calls over a network, such as VoIP, having too little bandwidth results in low-quality calls
  • video calls made without the necessary bandwidth will not only result in bad sound quality, but also low quality or jittery video

For internet users, the United States Federal Communications Commission (FCC) recommends a minimum bandwidth of 4 Mbps for adequate performance when streaming a video in HD quality. Many video players can work with less bandwidth by “buffering”, that is, downloading data ahead of when it is actually displayed.

Gamers are often frustrated by limited bandwidth as well. While playing against other players online, players with faster connections see what is happening quicker, and the data about their reactions is transmitted and received faster. The FCC recommends a minimum download speed of 4 Mbps for Online Multiplayer Gaming in HD.

Too much bandwidth

There a few technical issues caused by too much bandwidth. Higher capacity bandwidth, however, typically costs more. Thus, too much bandwidth may not be cost effective.


Network design and infrastructure can create bandwidth issues as well. Latency measures the delays on a network that may be causing lower throughput or goodput. A low-latency network has short delays, while a high-latency network has longer delays. High latency prevents data from fully using the network’s capabilities, therefore decreasing the bandwidth.

9. How can I troubleshoot bandwidth issues?

Finding and troubleshooting bandwidth issues helps improve network performance without costly upgrades.

Ping and traceroute

Tools such as Ping and traceroute can help troubleshoot basic issues.

  • Pinging a test server, for example, will return information on how quickly data can be sent and received, as well as average round-trip times. High ping times indicate higher latency in the network.
  • A traceroute tool can help determine if there are too many individual network connections, or hops, along the connection path. In addition, traceroute returns the time taken by each hop. A longer time on a single hop may point to the source of an issue.


TTCP measures the time it takes for data to travel from one network interface to another with a receiver on the other end. This eliminates the return trip from the calculation and may help pinpoint issues quickly. If the measured bandwidth is less than expected, further measurements can isolate the issue.

Bandwidth monitoring software

The bandwidth monitoring tool PRTG can also help troubleshoot bandwidth problems that are not related to design. By measuring bandwidth usage over time, for example, you can detect if specific users or applications sometimes use higher amounts of bandwidth and cause network congestions.

10. What is a sensor in PRTG?

In PRTG, “sensors” are the basic monitoring elements. One sensor usually monitors one measured value in your network, for example the traffic of a switch port, the CPU load of a server, or the free space on a disk drive.

On average, you need about 5-10 sensors per device or one sensor per switch port.


Discover our preconfigured PRTG bandwidth monitoring sensors

Here are some examples of sensors that can be used for bandwidth monitoring with PRTG:


Packet Sniffer

The Packet Sniffer sensor monitors the headers of data packets that pass a local network using a built-in packet sniffer. The sensor can show the following traffic types:

  • Chat (IRC, AIM)
  • Citrix
  • FTP/P2P
  • Mail, WWW
  • Remote control (RDP, SSH, Telnet, VNC)

Note: The sensor only analyzes header traffic.


SNMP General

The SNMP Traffic sensor monitors traffic on a device via SNMP.


The SNMP RMON sensor monitors traffic on a device using the RMON standard via SNMP and can show, for example:

  • Transmitted kbit/s
  • Packets, CRC errors, fragments, jabbers, and collisions per second

NetFlow v9

The NetFlow v9 sensor shows traffic for devices that support NetFlow v9. Traffic types include:

  • Chat (IRC, AIM)
  • Citrix
  • FTP/P2P
  • Mail, WWW
  • Remote control (RDP, SSH, Telnet, VNC)

NetFlow v5

The NetFlow v5 sensor shows traffic for devices that support NetFlow v5. Traffic types include:

  • Chat (IRC, AIM)
  • Citrix
  • FTP/P2P
  • Mail, WWW
  • Remote control (RDP, SSH, Telnet, VNC)


The IPFIX sensor shows traffic for devices that support IPFIX. Traffic types include:

  • Chat (IRC, AIM)
  • Citrix
  • FTP/P2P
  • Mail, WWW
  • Remote control (RDP, SSH, Telnet, VNC)


The jFlow v5 sensor shows traffic for devices that support jFlow v5. Traffic types include:

  • Chat (IRC, AIM)
  • Citrix
  • FTP/P2P
  • Mail, WWW
  • Remote control (RDP, SSH, Telnet, VNC)


The sFlow sensor shows traffic for devices that support sFlow. Traffic types include:

  • Chat (IRC, AIM)
  • Citrix
  • FTP/P2P
  • Mail, WWW
  • Remote control (RDP, SSH, Telnet, VNC)

SNMP Cisco ASA VPN Traffic

The SNMP Cisco ASA VPN Traffic sensor monitors the traffic of an IPsec VPN connection on a Cisco ASA via SNMP. It shows the incoming and outgoing traffic.

SNMP NetApp Network Interface

The SNMP NetApp Network Interface sensor monitors a network card of a NetApp storage system via SNMP and can show:

  • Traffic in and out
  • Number of errors per second (in and out)

Windows Network Card

The Windows Network Card sensor monitors bandwidth usage and traffic on a network interface using WMI or Windows Performance Counters and can show among others:

  • Total traffic on the network card
  • Number of received and sent packets
  • Number of discards, errors, unicast packets, and unknown protocols

And more...

Find more of our preconfigured PRTG bandwidth monitoring sensors, including custom sensors for monitoring bandwidth the way you need, here: List of available sensor types


Still not convinced?




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sysadmins love PRTG

Paessler PRTG is used by companies of all sizes. Sysadmins love PRTG because it makes their job a whole lot easier.


Monitor your entire IT infrastructure

Bandwidth, servers, virtual environments, websites, VoIP services – PRTG keeps an eye on your entire network.


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Everyone has different monitoring needs. That’s why we let you try PRTG for free.


Paessler PRTG

Start bandwidth monitoring with PRTG and see how it can make your network more reliable and your job easier.





Network Monitoring Software - Version (February 14th, 2024)


Download for Windows and cloud-based version PRTG Hosted Monitor available


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Up to 100 sensors for free (Price List)

Unified Monitoring

Network devices, bandwidth, servers, applications, virtual environments, remote systems, IoT, and more

Supported Vendors & Applications

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