How To Easily Monitor Your Home Bandwidth Usage

How To Easily Monitor Your Home Bandwidth Usage

Laura E. Hall
Jan 24, 2011

Earlier this month, we told you how much bandwidth is used by streaming Netflix Instant content. Now, we've found several ways to monitor your bandwidth usage, through your ISP or your wireless router.

Going over the bandwidth limits set by your ISP can have consequences like being charged a fee or even having your service shut off. Here is a list of the type of bandwidth behaviors of ISPs, including whether or not they limit bandwidth for high traffic accounts.

If you're a Comcast user, you can check your data usage by logging into their Customer Central site and finding the page titled "My Current Data Usage". Other providers like Charter require you to call up customer service to obtain the number. Check your ISP's website to see if they offer an online meter, or to locate the number, so you can call and obtain your monthly figures.

However, if you want an up-to-the-minute picture of your bandwidth usage, you can fix up many routers to do exactly that.

Tomato is a replacement firmware for Linksys' WRT54G/GL/GS, Buffalo WHR-G54S/WHR-HP-G54 and other Broadcom-based routers. In addition to the bandwidth usage monitor, it has Quality of Service and access restrictions, enables new wireless features and raises the limits on maximum connections for P2P.

Get Tomato here.

Like Tomato, DD-WRT is a free replacement firmware that works on a variety of routers. Their site has a database to check for your router and plenty of documentation to help you get set up. DD-WRT adds better authentication for more secure wifi, bandwidth allocation and wireless bridging/repeating protocol.

Get DD-WRT here.

Have you ever received a notice from your ISP for going over your bandwidth allotment? What do you do at home to ensure you haven't hit the uppermost limit? Let us know in the comments below.

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(Image: Flickr member Todd Barnard licensed for use under Creative Commons)

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