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How to the monitor the bandwidth and data usage of individual devices on your network

How to the monitor the bandwidth and data usage of individual devices on your network

One of the features included with most newer wireless routers is bandwidth usage monitoring. A bandwidth monitor lets you keep track of exactly how much data is uploaded and downloaded through your router, allowing businesses to know how much bandwidth they are using. If your wireless router has a bandwidth monitor, view its current status and set up bandwidth usage settings in its browser-based configuration utility.

Log into your wireless router’s configuration utility. Consult your router’s documentation (if necessary) to determine the address you to access it.

Open the “Advanced” section, then click the “Traffic Meter,” “Bandwidth Usage,” “Network Monitor” or other similarly named link. You will be brought to the bandwidth-monitoring page.

View your current bandwidth usage statistics in the “Statistics” section of the page — click the “Refresh” button to update the stats. This section will usually show the bandwidth used in the previous month, the current month, the previous week, the current week, the day before and the current day.

Set up bandwidth usage settings in the “Meter,” “Settings,” “Cap” or other similarly named section of the page by checking the “Enable” check box to enable a bandwidth usage cap and selecting the desired setting for the bandwidth cap below. Click the “Apply” or “Save” button at the bottom of the page when done.

Daniel Hatter began writing professionally in 2008. His writing focuses on topics in computers, Web design, software development and technology. He earned his Bachelor of Arts in media and game development and information technology at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater.

How to the monitor the bandwidth and data usage of individual devices on your network

Internet service providers are constantly trying to improve their network speeds to lure customers into faster data plans. But sometimes these faster plans come with restrictions — the dreaded metered internet connections, enforcing a limit on the amount of data you can send and receive.

If you find yourself in such an unfortunate situation, it will be critical for you to monitor your network data usage regularly. Thankfully, Windows 10 includes tools to monitor network usage to prevent you going over your data cap.

In Windows 10 there are two different ways to monitor the data that apps can send and receive in a given month, and in this Windows 10 guide, we’ll show you how you can monitor your network usage using the Settings app and Task Manager, and their pros and cons.

How to check network usage with Task Manager

    Right-click the taskbar, and click Task Manager.

If you see the smaller version of the Task Manager, click the More details button on the bottom left corner.

How to the monitor the bandwidth and data usage of individual devices on your network

Click the App history tab.

How to the monitor the bandwidth and data usage of individual devices on your network

In this section, you’ll see the date since Windows 10 began monitoring the data usage on your apps. You can also click the Delete usage history link to reset the data usage counter, but remember that it’ll also reset automatically every 30 days.

The data that is more usable to you is the Network column which tracks the data usage for your apps. You’ll also see the “Metered network” column, but this information is irrelevant unless you configure your Wi-Fi connection as metered.

Oddly enough, the problem with the App history tab is that it only tracks Universal Windows Platform (UWP) apps, you can’t view network usage for desktop applications, such as Chrome, the desktop version of Office apps, and others.

How to check network usage with Settings

  1. Use the Windows key + I keyboard shortcut to open the Settings app.
  2. Click Network & internet.

Click Data usage. Under Overview, you’ll see the total data usage from the last 30 days for Wi-Fi and Ethernet connections.

How to the monitor the bandwidth and data usage of individual devices on your network

Click the Usage details link to view network data usage for all your applications installed on your computer.

How to the monitor the bandwidth and data usage of individual devices on your network

The biggest advantage of the Settings app is that you can not only view Universal Windows Platform (UWP) apps, but you can also see data usage for traditional desktop applications.

However, the Usage details page shows only the total network data usage, and unlike the Task Manager, you can’t view metered network usage, tile updates, or CPU time information. In addition, this view won’t give you the option to reset the usage history or since the date when the data usage is being tracked.

As you can see, there are pros and cons with either tool, but you should consider using both to have a complete overview of which apps are using the most data and help you to manage your metered internet connection plan better. Of course, if these tools aren’t enough, you can always find different software solutions online, or in some cases, you can configure your router to monitor your data usage — just to name a few.

How do you monitor network data usage in your network? Tell us in the comments below.

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For more help articles, coverage, and answers on Windows 10, you can visit the following resources:

How to the monitor the bandwidth and data usage of individual devices on your network

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How to the monitor the bandwidth and data usage of individual devices on your network

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How to the monitor the bandwidth and data usage of individual devices on your network

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How to the monitor the bandwidth and data usage of individual devices on your network

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For home users, monitoring bandwidth usage per device may seem like a pointless exercise but their business counterparts typically recognize the value of doing so. Bandwidth is not a limitless resource and total broadband bandwidth (as provided by your internet service provider or ISP) is shared between all the devices connected to the network. If one is taking more than its fair share, then the bandwidth available to the rest is reduced.

For example, your ISP may offer unlimited bandwidth but will apply additional conditions. You may have 20Mbs download speed for the first 20Gb of data and 3Mbs for the next 80Gb, after which the available bandwidth could be as low as 128kb. This practice is common on cell phone plans. Similar data caps or bandwidth throttling are also applied on business plans. One real-life example of this practice is the high-profile media story outlining how the Santa Clara fire department had their ‘unlimited’ data plan throttled to the extent that it interfered with the organization of emergency services during Californian wildfires.

An understanding of bandwidth is necessary to appreciate the relevance of isolating usage per device and you must appreciate that such knowledge is not just for techies or those involved in system administration. Traffic or bandwidth analysis can provide valuable information that could otherwise go unnoticed, whether it is identifying a user that is consistently streaming video or realizing that one of your devices is sending out more data than it should (due to a virus, security exploit or hardware failure).

What is Bandwidth?

The most commonly used analogy used for bandwidth is based on water pressure. You have a water pipe going to your home. If you turn on the shower, the pressure is fine. But, leaving the shower running, for every additional tap you turn on in your home, the shower pressure drops, as the total water capacity available (determined by the diameter of your water pipe) is shared with multiple ‘devices’.

Every device on your network uses bandwidth. Even IoT devices using the Message Queuing Telemetry Transport (MQTT) protocol (a protocol designed to work on networks with limited bandwidth) will contribute to the overall bandwidth usage.

Available bandwidth is also a consideration for your website and depends on your hosting plan. However, it is the hosting provider’s responsibility to provide and monitor the bandwidth you have paid for and your responsibility to ensure that your subscription allows for times of peak traffic.

Therefore, you must determine which devices use your bandwidth, take this information and decided on a plan of action, whether this involves assigning a max bandwidth per user, replacing hardware, cabling or leasing additional broadband connections.

Monitor by Device, User, or IP address

A primary part of the system or network administrator’s role is ensuring network uptime. This is achieved using available administrator tools that are designed to monitor network traffic. The tools selected will vary by organization but can include network monitoring tools, bandwidth monitoring tools, and network sniffers, all of which aid the admin in ensuring maximum available bandwidth for all users.

In times of yore (the old days) such monitoring was easier but nowadays, in addition to wired devices, there are other considerations. Wi-Fi routers are commonplace, and connected printers, tablets, laptops, and even smartphones must be monitored. Add IoT devices and sensors that use a variety of protocols, from the MQTT protocol to Bluetooth and indeed Wi-Fi and you begin to appreciate the problem.

It is certainly not possible to install monitoring software on each device and the ideal solution will monitor the entire network at a central point, the router or main server. Some routers offer total bandwidth usage tools but lack the per device solution that is needed.

Obviously, what is needed is a solution that can monitor everything, with options that allow monitoring by device, user or IP address.

Bandwidth Monitoring Software

Learn More About Bandwidth Monitoring

As mentioned previously, selection of bandwidth monitoring software and related add-ons will depend on your network infrastructure and the devices connected to it. There is no single best bandwidth monitoring tool, in the same way, there is no best screwdriver for disassembling a laptop. Your aim is to optimize network traffic by using the correct combination of network monitoring tools to reach your goal. The reduction of unnecessary bandwidth consumption is an additional goal. Your network administrator will also use performance monitoring tools to achieve maximum network performance, identifying problem areas as they arise.

Your chosen solution should have the ability to monitor the bandwidth of all the devices connecting to your network, regardless of type, platform or connection protocol used. It should verify that your total available bandwidth coincides with the speed agreed with your ISP. Other solutions track unauthorized use of the Dark Web, video streaming, gaming or detect backups that should take place after hours.

In conclusion, per device bandwidth monitoring is necessary. Even in a home environment, if several devices are connected to video streaming services, all other devices lose bandwidth, often making basic online browsing very slow or even unusable.

Often, it is important to know how much data the devices in your network are using, especially if your Internet service provider imposes caps, limits or penalties. Knowing the per-device usage history can be crucial in identifying traffic drain culprits and staying within your traffic allowances and budget.

Unfortunately, even in a common home network it can be difficult to get a comprehensive picture of your data usage, as it often consists of vastly different devices (computers, phones, TVs, gaming consoles, set-top streaming boxes, home appliances, etc), while the router firmware offers only very limited, if any, tools for traffic monitoring.

Monitoring your data with the router

Your router should have the most accurate information about the Internet data usage. Since all devices in your network are connected to the Internet through the router, it is the single point where all data transfers can be monitored and logged.

However, most home routers offer a very limited set of data-monitoring features, or none at all. They also usually have no history or logs for the user to see how much data their devices consumed in the past day, week or month. Some advanced routers have the monitoring and logging functionality, but they rarely offer any per-device data usage history.

To improve the situation, the users have to utilise third-party router firmware, which may require above-average knowledge and experience.

Monitoring your data on the individual devices in your network

If your router doesn’t offer any user-friendly tools for capturing and logging your data usage, you can instead do this on each individual device by using a monitoring application like NetWorx or NetGenius, which offers a user-friendly interface together with extensive and flexible logs, reports, usage history and statistics.

However, this option also has limitations: you can only monitor data on those devices where such application can be installed. For example, if you have a Windows PC, Mac laptop, Android phone, iPad, smart TV and some home appliance connected to the Internet, they will all be running different operating systems, which means no one universal app can be installed on all of them.

Using NetWorx for data monitoring and logging

NetWorx can only monitor traffic on the computer where it is installed. If you want to monitor traffic on multiple computers, you basically have two options:

  • Install NetWorx on every computer in your network. This can only be done if all your computers are running Windows or macOS (note: the macOS version of NetWorx has fewer features compared to the Windows version).
  • If your router supports so-called SNMP or UPnP protocol, you can monitor all traffic via your router. This however will not give you a per-device usage breakdown and the monitoring computer must be continuously on to poll the router and collect usage data. See the Router Monitoring page for more details.

Using NetGenius for data monitoring and logging

Similarly, NetGenius can only monitor traffic on the computers where it is installed. However, unlike NetWorx, NetGenius is only available for Windows and consists of two components: the system service that does all the monitoring work and must be installed on every computer you wish to monitor, and the management console that enables you to interact with the service and must be installed on at least one computer.

Related articles:

/>NetWorx shows inaccurate traffic usage
/>NetGenius or NetWorx: what to choose?
tirreus

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I would like to know how much data individual devices connected to router are downloading, at any given moment and in long term. I cannot find this statistics in my router D6200B.

In other words, how can I monitor bandwidth and data usage of individual devices on my network?

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michaelkenward

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Most routers aren’t that clever.

People ask for that all the time, but per user monitoring, and control, aren’t possible on most hardware.

Just another user.

My network DM200 -> R7800 -> GS316 -> PL1000 -> Orbi RBR40 -> Orbi RBS50Y -> RBS40V

tirreus

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If people ask this question all the time, maybe this should be clear message to manufacturers. I hope NETGEAR is carefully listening.

Anyway, at least I found “QoS Setup” tab in my Genie SW so I will be able to give some priorities to devices. This does not answer my original question though. I would like to see immediate download rate per device plus long-term statistics.

Is it really so hard to add this monitoring ability to Genie, dear NETGEAR? I think this is really basic feature. I really do not understand what can be so difficult to implement it. I am sure many development engineers had this basic idea too, so where is it for us, customers?

Thanks for other posts / advices / opinions.

michaelkenward

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I am not a software engineer, so I make no judgement on the ease or otherwise of maintaining a detailed record of traffic on a network. My guess is that if it were really easy to cram all that tracking of traffic and users in the limited space on a modem/router’s chips they’d have done it already. Maybe they have, but they keep these high-end features for more expensive products. The D6200B is a pretty basic, low cost device.

People who want an all singing all dancing network usually buy separate modems and routers. Me, I have the D6400, just slightly fancier than the D6200B. Not sure what anyone gets for the extra £25, but the D6400 doesn’t do what you want. I was amazed to discover that you can spend more than £400 for a modem!

One bit of evidence that might nudge Netgear in the right direction is evidence that other modem makers do provide this feature. If you can point to one, that would be very helpful.

You mention QoS as a way of giving priority to traffic, you could also look into parental controls, to see if that is a way of limiting what other people do on your network.

Just another user.

My network DM200 -> R7800 -> GS316 -> PL1000 -> Orbi RBR40 -> Orbi RBS50Y -> RBS40V

Unlimited version of PRTG for 30 days. After 30 days, PRTG reverts to a free version.
Or, you can upgrade to a paid license anytime.

How to the monitor the bandwidth and data usage of individual devices on your network

Who is hogging your WiFi bandwidth

“Who is hogging my WiFi bandwidth?” – maybe you hear that frustrating question over and over again from your users. They are complaining about a slow network and you need to identify the root of the problem.

PRTG Network Monitor helps you determine how much bandwidth your devices and applications are using via WiFi. Depending on your network and hardware, you can use different protocols like SNMP, flow or packet sniffing.

How to check WiFi usage

Most bandwidth and traffic analysis solutions are only able to check WiFi traffic on a single device. For measuring all the traffic in your network, you need to monitor the data directly on your routers. By using the WiFi usage monitor PRTG you get informed about all ingoing and outgoing traffic and see what applications and devices using up your WiFi bandwidth.

Why a WiFi usage monitor is a good idea

These days, many businesses and organizations operate on the “bring your own device” principle. Tablets, smartphones and other mobile devices must however also be granted access to the WiFi network.

Furthermore, laptops are often used for presentations in conference rooms and likewise require an WiFi Internet connection. As a result, WiFi usage monitoring quickly becomes an very important issue for administrators.

There are quite a few tools available to the general public that can help you monitor your monthly internet usage limit. Seeing as unlimited plans are not considered the standard in the United States, these tools can be seen as almost necessary to avoid overspending.

Most users are unaware of how much data they’re using on a per month basis. With tools like Netguard and Bitmeter II, you can easily create customized access profiles, set limits on your internet usage, and monitor daily data consumption for both active and idle programs and applications.

Solar Winds’ answer to internet monitoring is their Real-Time Bandwidth Monitor. It comes with an incredibly easy to navigate UI and grants access to real-time information for free. Track both incoming and outgoing traffic in real-time via a line or easy-to-read graph chart. You can even do so on multiple interfaces simultaneously if necessary.

Willing to take the plunge and drop cash on such a powerful tool? Solarwinds offers a full list of additional features. Upon request, they will provide all recent history reports to pinpoint data spikes and adjust your internet usage to keep costs down.

You’ll be able to map out your entire network, receive a hop-by-hop analysis of the what and where your apps are being hosted, and set up network alert notifications to ensure that you stay on top of all data being used and when.

Final Thoughts

At this time, these are easily the best tools out there to help monitor your internet usage. Used appropriately, any of them will help you avoid overcharge fees or internet speed throttling, whichever the case may be with your current ISP.

Former US Army IT communications specialist who began his online blogging career in 2016. Joseph has over 10 years experience in the IT industry as both an analyst and communications expert. He’s a night owl and an avid Red Bull consumer who spends most of his downtime enthralled by online gaming and website building. Read Joseph’s Full Bio

klutch14u

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Greetings. I currently have a Netgear R6700v2 router that I’ve very happy with. I have a ton of devices in my house, with a decent mix of wired and wireless. My 6700 does a fine job as it is but I’ve very frustrated with bumping up on my cable providers data cap each month. I desperately need to get a comprable router that will show me how much data each device is using. The 6700 shows me a total for whatever date range I specifiy but I need a more granular view. I’ve read a lot of conflicting info on various routers that supposedly offer this. I just need it to have these features and as good of coverage as my 6700 has now.

IrvSp

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I’ll comment on this, but I have NO experience on this nor how good/bad it is.

On the R8000, and possibly the R7000 on the QoS page on the Browser Genie, at the bottom of the page is a LINK to “Click here to see device utilization by device and application”. Again, I’ve not used it, AND you must enable QoS. QoS may cause some side effects to your possible connection and Internet speed. This link might also be on your router’s QoS page.

michaelkenward

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I’m equally inexperienced at this, but from past discussions here it seems that the ability to monitor individual device data usage is not in the Netgear repertoire.

Using QoS, as @IrvSp suggests, is probably the nearest you will get to it.

Just another user.

My network DM200 -> R7800 -> GS316 -> PL1000 -> Orbi RBR40 -> Orbi RBS50Y -> RBS40V

schumaku

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Unless I’m wrong, there is some current or very recent throughput shown (e.g. in Kbps), not the data consumption by device for a certain time period. This feature does not exist in Netgear’s Rxxxx or Nighthawk router portfolio.

IrvSp

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OK, I turned on QoS just to see. Only been on a very short time. It does have the capability of device down/up throughput. This is on the R8000 and it is on the R7000 as well. Minimum shown appears to be 0.01Mbps. Not all devices connected to the router are shown, only appear when they actually ‘do something’. See screen capture on right.

One ‘annoying’ part. You have to have Genie on in the browser. But it can’t time out it seems. That might do a ‘reset’? Can also get to this page via the BASIC, HOME, ATTACHED DEVICE that is there. It also might do a reset, at least I’m seeing that happen often?

schumaku

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They need the total amounnt of data Mb/h, GB/day, TB/month, not the current througput @IrvSp

IrvSp

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@schumaku, I agree. I was just putting up what ‘I’ can get. I’m not too sure what is retained? The REFRESH clearly resets it. If it doesn’t get reset one could at least see what device is the big user.

I did test my Internet Speed. Dropped about 5% with that enabled. Basically only my PC was being used. With many devices active that speed drop could be larger I’d assume.

Wonder if 3rd party s/w does it better?

myersw

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To do what you are really asking for you might have to go up a notch from consumer grade. My Ubiquiti Unifi setup allows me to view usage by client and what every application on that client has used and no hit on throughput like enabling QoS on most Netgear routers. Also get total usage and total usage by app. Shows currently 36.7GB of Netflix traffic, with 27.9GB of the Netflix traffic being used by Samsung TV for example.

This setup, being judical purchases of both new and Ebay, only cost about $425. Not that much more then high end netgear router and this is giving me 2 APs that light up my house unlike one Netgear router. Netgear r9000 $449 list.

There seem to be ways to achieve a way to monitor/limit bandwidth for individual devices at the router using DD-WRT firmware. I have not tried this myself, but was intrigued by the challenge, and found the following through, what else, Google:

My reading of that web page is that it would take possibly significant technical abilities to accomplish this. The author does give detailed instructions on what exactly to do to accomplish his recommendation.

One of the reasons this intrigues me is because a close relative of mine has a student boarder who uses the Internet connection provided as part of the room and board.

I can see the potential there for problems given that to the boarder the Internet connection is essentially free. Meanwhile the provider of room and board needs to deal with the data volume charges that result from the boarder’s Internet usage. As the family resident “tech guy” I will inevitably get the question of how to deal with this issue/problem

By the way, the URL referenced above also gives recommendations on which router the author recommends, and for what reason, to use DD-WRT firmware.

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Gdkitty

‎12-16-2013 08:18 AM

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Defaultly with most current retail hardware? No.

Using something like a custom firmware, that works on specific routers. something like DD-WRT, would more likely allow something like that.

What are you trying to do? from your other thread about passwords.. are you more trying to restrict someones usage, etc?
There are some options.. with mac filtering, using time of day settings, etc.. that possibly could help.

‎12-16-2013 09:24 PM

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Yes, I want to be able to monitor a student’s usage in my home as well as cap the data when it reaches a certain point per day. Is that possible?

Gdkitty

‎12-16-2013 10:35 PM

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With the default gateways from rogers.. while they provide wireless, etc.. are still very basic in the terms of ADVANCED functions (which it what this would be considered).

Some other routers (like the linksys i have) have time of day usage.. where you can only have it ON for specific devices.. but doesnt limit amount of usage, etc.

There is TONS of software for limiting stuff that way on a computer. But that requires them to be loging into a GUEST level account on it (no install, etc rights) so they cant turn it off, etc.

Also does not help with any devices like phones, tablets, etc which can access internet.

The only thing that DOES come close.. is some of the DD-WRT/open router software. which it IS doable with.. but takes ALOT of manual setup/scripting as well as technical knoledge to set up properly

You are FAR from the first sort of person to ever ask about something like this.. just seems like something that the router makers dont seem to implement