Helping people with computers... one answer at a time.

It's possible, even easy, to monitor the amount of bandwidth a computer is using. It's much more difficult to control.

I have 3 kids, each has his own computer, I have a laptop, and we are all sharing an ADSL connection. Sometimes one of the kids hogs the network and everybody else does not get any bandwidth. And I sometimes want to lockout one of the kids from the internet so he will turn to other activities ... such as his homework.

There's good news and there's bad news.

Bandwidth is a lot like having kids: monitoring is easier than controlling.

Let's start out with the good news. The ability to monitor your network and a lot of other items is built in to Windows XP, Windows 2000, and Windows NT in something called "Performance Monitor".

Run performance monitor by pressing Start, selecting Run, typing "perfmon" and pressing OK. You should get something that looks somewhat like this:

Empty Perfmon

Right click in the empty chart area and select Add Counters... and you should see something like this:

Perfmon Counter Add Dialog

The Performance Object dropdown lists several objects on your computer whose performance can be measured. The Processor, for example, is one. In that list select Network Interface, and the result looks like this:

Perfmon Counter Add Network Interface

The first list at the bottom of the dialog allows you to select which counters relating to that object you want to monitor. The second list allows you to select which object if there are more than one. In this example we'll select my "Intel Pro" network card on the right, and "Bytes Total/Sec" on the left. Press Add and Close and you'll see perfmon start to report the total bytes traversing the network card over time. After a little while in my example, it looks like this:

Perfmon Counter Add Network Interface

Perfmon is an incredibly powerful monitoring tool. There are lots of things available to monitor, and many display options. I encourage you to play around with it some.

Of special note is the Select Counters from Computer option in the Add Counters dialog above. Perfmon allows you to monitor the performance of another Windows XP, 2000 or NT computer remotely, across your LAN. This means, for example, if someone on your network is hogging all the bandwidth then you can monitor each machine remotely in real time to see just who that might be.

Monitoring is fairly easy. In addition to Perfmon there are certainly many third party applications that will allow you to do the same with different display and even triggered actions.

Control, on the other hand, is the bad news. True control of something shared like a DSL connection can be done, but it gets costly. It's typically performed by high end routers that allow you to specify, often in great detail, how the bandwidth should be allocated or prioritized. Unfortunately that's usually out of reach of the most home LANs.

In all honesty if this were my situation I'd just make sure the router was in arms-reach of my desk, and the cables well labeled. Then I'd physically unplug the connection for any computers who's users I felt needed to spend more time in the "real world".

But that's just me.

Article C1950 - May 26, 2004 « »

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Leo Leo A. Notenboom has been playing with computers since he was required to take a programming class in 1976. An 18 year career as a programmer at Microsoft soon followed. After "retiring" in 2001, Leo started Ask Leo! in 2003 as a place for answers to common computer and technical questions. More about Leo.

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35 Comments
MarcM
October 15, 2004 5:30 PM

Bandwidth Controler Manager.

http://bandwidthcontroller.com/index.html

Try it. Works fine.

nishan
October 16, 2004 1:24 AM

Can you please tell me how to monitor howmuch internet, mail and so on... bandwidth rather than the lan bandwidth on individual PCs

Marcus
November 3, 2004 8:31 PM

I must say I am highly impressed. I happened on this site while looking for a monitoring tool, and this provided exactly what I was looking for. Informative and highly useful! My thanks!

Rez
February 19, 2005 10:26 AM

How can I use http://bandwidthcontroller.com/index.html
to monitor softwares such as Kazaa?

thc

Qrystal
October 5, 2005 6:42 AM

Instead of physically unplugging the router connection belonging to the person who you think needs to spend more time "in the real world", you might be able (depending on your router) to allow connections during a particular time period only.

gaetan
October 24, 2005 7:23 AM

Searching a whole day for this tool on internet!
And now it seems already been installed, perfect!!
But i have a bigger problem...
I'm a student and i share the internet connection with 40 other students..
One of them started downloading big files and we all where thrown on smalband.
I don't know who but this tool might be usefull to identified the student.


But that's only when he / she is in my workgroup, otherwise i can't monitor him / her
IS there any solution for this, without synchronizing everybody's computer on the same network...?

Si
February 20, 2006 10:00 AM

Hi, this looks very helpful but ever time i try and add a computer for example \\max it say: Unable to connect to machine. anyidea on how to over come this?

Thanks Si

sKUrZ0
April 19, 2006 7:59 AM

GPL alternative for Linux and other POSIX oses:
http://skurz0.homelinux.net/go/projects/netload
source code available. It allows you to see who uses the bandwith in the local network.

bluehammer
April 21, 2006 2:33 AM

Hi, this looks very helpful but ever time i try and add a computer for example \\max it say: Unable to connect to machine. anyidea on how to over come this?

yea i face the same thing

Dan Schwartz
June 18, 2006 8:47 AM

I visited a web page that showed percent of bandwith used at the top. I would like to add something like that to my site, but have been looking for hours and now am posting here. Do I need to have a router that logs that info ? I don't.

SCHALK
May 28, 2007 6:51 AM

Of special note is the Select Counters from Computer option in the Add Counters dialog above. Perfmon allows you to monitor the performance of another Windows XP, 2000 or NT computer remotely, across your LAN. This means, for example, if someone on your network is hogging all the bandwidth then you can monitor each machine remotely in real time to see just who that might be HOW DO THIS WORK?

Christian
July 18, 2007 1:27 PM

Thanks, very descriptive and helpful information that you posted.

Leo Hartas
February 21, 2008 2:34 AM

I have found the perfect tool for controlling my kids time on the computer. It's called "Enuff". You can control exactly how much time on the computer and when and who, and even what, and it can all be controlled from your machine over a network. You pay for it once, but it really works well and is simple to use.

Emory Lehman
September 24, 2008 6:12 PM

If you use DD-WRT as the firmware on your router then you can set up QoS (Quality of Service). See: http://www.dd-wrt.com/wiki/index.php/Quality_of_Service

I was having a problem with my son "hogging" all of our bandwidth with World of Warcraft, and his Xbox 360 live account, so I used QoS to limit the amount of bandwidth his computer and Xbox can use when there is a large load on my router.

DD-WRT is easy to setup on a Linksys WRT54G, or a Netgear WGR614L.

Shane
October 13, 2008 11:58 PM

I followed the instructions but all i see is the network card (intel[R] Pro....) and the other option aswell. That network card is my one and i cannot see any other computers even though there are 2 other computers connected to the same router. Plz help

Prince
December 11, 2008 1:29 AM

I am using XP with SP3,on running perfmon...under PERFORMANCE OBJECT no drop down is available....why so?

Pratik A Shah
March 6, 2009 11:22 PM

please sent me how to manage bandwith size

WFilter
April 21, 2009 7:00 PM

You need a bandwidth monitoring software.
I recommend "WFilter", which can monitor email/web/bandwidth/ftp/messenger.

Jim
October 21, 2009 10:22 AM

You can also deploy a network appliance from eTelemetry called Metron SE on your home or office network...

http://www.etelemetry.com/products/metronse.aspx

Jon
December 17, 2009 6:51 AM

Hello, I was also having the issue that only the computer I was using perfmon on was available for monitoring despite multiple computers connected to the router. I was hoping for some advice on how to get the others to appear. Please, and thank you.

Jaskaran
February 1, 2010 4:17 PM

Well I have 5 computers on my home network and I would like to check how much bandwidth each computer is using how do I add them to the counter list so I can monitor their bandwidth usage

Zeeshan
February 25, 2010 1:40 AM

hi there Mr Leo i have a small home network and i want to monitor all the activities and i also want to remotely control the pcs in my network please give me a solution im using DSL and a TP LINK TL-sf 1005D 5 port fast ethernet switch please solve my problem i will be waiting for ur advice THANKS

monky_stud
April 16, 2010 9:51 PM

You would be pleased to use this software : CCProxy.

It allows you to :: monitor , control bandwidth , allow user control through password , watch logs and many more features

vergi
August 7, 2010 10:08 PM

Well I have 5 computers on my home network and I would like to check how much bandwidth each computer is using how do I add them to the counter list so I can monitor their bandwidth usage

SomeGuy
January 13, 2011 4:24 PM

You said: "In all honesty if this were my situation I'd just make sure the router was in arms-reach of my desk, and the cables well labeled. Then I'd physically unplug the connection for any computers who's users I felt needed to spend more time in the "real world"."


What if the other computers use a wireless connection?

Dave
February 2, 2011 3:58 PM

@SomeGuy- There are some options to view wireless bandwidth. Check into options for your router if you are tech savy enough to install the software. You typically need a Linksys WRT-54G (or variant of) router for the most compatibility for the software thats out there and free. Look up Tomato Firmware or DD-WRT for more information. Both of those software companies will inform you which router they are compatible with. The Tomato software has the capability to set specific computers to levels of priority, including bandwidth allocation. Hope this helps.

Jit
February 25, 2011 6:51 AM

Hi Mr Leo...

i have a Netcomm NB6plus W modem and is shared with my 3 housemates who have their own laptop,, they all watching movies online and comsuming all bandwidth and whenever i need to connect to internet, it takes a time...

can yu please help me how can i control their bandwidth so everyone can use the internet connection withoout distrubing.,,

cheers

Rugare
May 19, 2011 7:34 AM

Hi. i have a Zyxel wireless access point. I have about 5 computers sharing one internet connection. Is there a way I can monitor the bandwidth usage of all 5 computers without buying a server or installing a 3rd apart software apart from what the AP offers?

manoj
June 1, 2011 9:23 PM

Hi,
How to check data speed bw two IP's in diffrent gatways in wan.
like 10.30.65.24 and 10.2.70.60.

any help is appreciated.

anwar
June 20, 2011 8:01 AM

"Perfmon allows you to monitor the performance of another Windows XP, 2000 or NT computer remotely, across your LAN. This means, for example, if someone on your network is hogging all the bandwidth then you can monitor each machine remotely in real time to see just who that might be."

U did not elaborate how, my neigbhor requested to share my internet connection, (though i tried my best to convince him to buy one himself) anyhow now i really want to know how much of the bandwidth or rather percentage he is using....coz sometimes the speed sucks

Jim de Graff
July 5, 2011 10:21 AM

In my case, the monitoring needs were somewhat simpler. I use Rogers wireless (Rocket Hub) at the cottage. You pay for what you use in steps - 3 gig cap, then 5 gig, then 10 gig. After that it's $$ per extra gig. I wanted to know my total usage (daily up/down as well as monthly). I found a free tool, NetWorx, at http://www.softperfect.com/products/networx/

It is configurable and shows usage (and other stats) in a clear format (actually several clear formats). I can track my daily usage and it will alert me when I get to 80% of whatever monthly cap I specify. Did I mention it's free?

iqbal
July 20, 2011 4:44 AM

i have a gigaset modem with antina and netgear router there have upto 30 pc at my workgroup now i want to manage the bandwidth properly bcoz somebody always use facebook and youtube 4 this reason we suffering problem to our mail.pls help

kimani
September 5, 2011 1:20 PM

A cheap and great way monitor and control bandwidth usage of computers connected to your SOHO is with the use of a linksys wrt router running dd-wrt firmware. You can set the speed on each port on the device. The upload and download graphs are realtime and easy to read for those who want to monitor. Remember also that QoS can be used on most home routers to prioritize applications that needs bandwidth. Hope these tips help.

André
January 27, 2012 4:47 AM

Hello! Thanks for the tip!

Is it possible to monitor other users if I'm not the server PC? I would like to monitor other users bandwidth usage and they are connected to the same network I am, can that be done with Perfmon? I try to do it following your steps but it keeps saying that its unable to connect to machine...

Just so you know....
October 18, 2012 9:03 AM

I'm 15, alright?
I have a laptop just like nearly everyone in my school. My are complete freaks, to be honest, i hate them. They allowed me to have a internet connection for a week, then they disabled it entirely. Four months later, i still spend all my time on the laptop. I have installed tons of movies, music, games, animes. If i need something, I can use my USB and get what i want.

My point is that you shouldn't underestimate us. My parents blocked me from the router so i get bored of my laptop and go on it less, i now go on it more than ever knowing it really, really pisses them off.

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