PRTG - Bandwidth monitoring methods
Hello, and welcome to this video about the different methods PRTG offers for monitoring bandwidth. In this video, I'm going to briefly discuss what these methods are, and the main differences between them.
To see an overview of what I'm discussing today, please go to our website and search for the term "bandwidth comparison". This will bring you to this knowledge base article, which displays the most important characteristics of the four methods we offer.
PRTG has built-in sensors based on WMI and Performance Counters for windows machines, SNMP for anything that supports SNMP, packet sniffing, and flow sensors for network devices that support different versions of flow.
Very roughly speaking, you can draw a line down the middle of the table, and say that the first two methods, SNMP and WMI, give you a good indication of the total volume of traffic you have.
The SNMP and WMI sensors tell you how much traffic you have: was it 100 M, was it 6G? These sensors can also give you some layer 2 and 3 counters, like the number of broadcasts you had, the number of errors, and that kind of thing.
We recommend using SNMP rather than WMI whenever possible, because the SNMP protocol is much lighter for both PRTG and the target devices.
Moving now to the right hand side of the table, we have the flow and packet sniffer sensors. These let you look at the traffic at layer 4. So with these, you can see not only how much traffic you have, but what kind of traffic you have, at the TCP and UDP port level. So, with flow and packet sniffing, you see not only that you had 6 G of traffic, but that within that 6G, so much was web traffic, so much was email, so much was FTP and so on.
So that's the critical difference between the left and right-hand side of this table: how much traffic, versus what is in the traffic?
To see the bandwidth sensors that are built into PRTG, please go to our website and search for the "sensor list" and then click on the "Bandwidth Monitoring Sensors". At the bottom of this list, you see the SNMP and Windows sensors, near the top you see all the different flow sensors, and here is the packet sniffer sensor.
If you click on these, you'll find a description of exactly what information this sensor offers, and a screenshot of what it looks like in action.
And if you go to our video site, under Support / Videos and Webinars, you'll find two additional videos about monitoring bandwidth, one under Basics, that covers SNMP and WMI, and the other one under advanced, that covers flow and packet sniffing.