Best free bandwidth monitoring software and tools to analyze network traffic usage

To keep an eye on the health of your network and diagnose problems that crop up, an essential activity is monitoring your bandwidth and knowing which traffic is consuming it.

Your ISP promises to provide you with a reliable pipe to the Internet of a certain volume; your chosen network hardware install is designed to provide a particular level of service within your facility. Are you getting your expected bandwidth and availability, or is something failing to deliver? Is there unexpected traffic consuming the bandwidth that you are getting?

Tools to monitor bandwidth can leverage various traffic-monitoring technologies. A host can observe all the packets passing by a particular network interface (that is, packet capture). Most managed network devices – and hosts – support SNMP, and so they can be queried to get performance statistics. If your network devices support a traffic monitoring protocol like NetFlow or sFlow, they can publish traffic data to your monitoring tool.

Which bandwidth monitoring tooling is right for you? There are several considerations. One factor is what monitoring technologies your installed hardware supports (eg, do they support SNMP? NetFlow? sFlow?). One is the size and complexity of your network; a simple tool that’s a great fit for a small office is completely inadequate for a large sophisticated network. Here we’ll look at the most popular and feature-rich free bandwidth monitoring tools.

Here’s a list of the best free bandwidth monitoring tools:

  • SolarWinds Real-Time Bandwidth Monitor
  • WhatsUpGold
  • SoftPerfect NetWorx
  • Manage Engine Bandwidth Monitor
  • PRTG
  • ntopng

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