If you want to monitor your network traffic either because you have an account that gives you only a limited amount of bandwidth each month or because you simply want to analyze the traffic that is sent over your connection during a special period, then you need a network monitor for that.
One of the programs that you can use for that is the free Netmeter application. When you run Netmeter you will notice that it immediately starts to record outgoing and incoming traffic as well as other data such as peak upload and download speed.
You can adjust the transparency level of the output window or move Netmeter into the system tray. You can also adjust the colors of the graph if you like, the default colors have a nice contrast though.
The most important feature of Netmeter is however not information about the current network traffic but that it accumulates data over time that you can access whenever the need arises. In short, it displays totals for the day, week and month as well as projected figures for the same period.
It also displays the peak upload and download speed which is the maximum amount of bandwidth that your connection has been capable of since the start of the monitoring.
This can be used to analyze the download and upload limit of your connection. Helpful if your provider sold you a 16 Mbit connection but you never come close to that speed. Just make sure you use to download and upload data from a server that is capable of sending data in that speed to your computer. You could alternatively just keep it running in the background to check on the stats in regular intervals.
Netmeter has an alert function that warns you when you reach a defined amount of Gigabytes during a day, week or month. This is probably the best feature for users with limited bandwidth accounts as it helps them to not go over the limit that they have available. Some providers charge extra automatically when you cross the limit, others may reduce the speed of the connection or even block access completely.
Best of all it is free to use and does not use many resources. Available only for Microsoft Windows.
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