Your network relies on reliable data transmission. Not only could troublesome connections yield negative results for customers, but connectivity issues could also indicate deeper problems within your network. However, if you monitor your bandwidth consistently and carefully, you can maintain your network’s health and solve issues as they arise.
It’s hard to monitor bandwidth by yourself, so I suggest investing in a network bandwidth monitor. Network bandwidth monitoring software can analyze each devices’ bandwidth consumption while saving you energy, resources, and brainpower. My two top picks for bandwidth monitoring are from SolarWinds—SolarWinds® NetFlow Traffic Analyzer (NTA) and the network bandwidth analyzer pack (BAP) offer extensive bandwidth monitoring capabilities designed to help ensure your network’s speed is maintained and managed properly.
- What Is Network Bandwidth Monitoring?
- Benefits of Network Bandwidth Monitoring
- Best Bandwidth Monitoring Tools
- Summing Up Bandwidth Monitoring
What Is Network Bandwidth Monitoring?
Network bandwidth monitoring observes your network’s bandwidth usage through tracking patterns and discovering details to help you better understand your bandwidth’s status and determine your network needs.
Bandwidth is a network’s capacity to transmit data between devices. It’s an amount of time, usually measured in bits per second (bps), although larger multiples can also be used. Higher bandwidth yields faster rates of data transfers, which allows your network to support more connected devices. If networks are roads, bandwidths determine the size—the more bandwidth, the more space for information to travel.
Even the best bandwidth network is susceptible to issues like latency, jitters, packet drops, and congestion. Bandwidth monitoring determines if your network’s bandwidth is working fast and reliably and devices are using a fair and healthy amount of bandwidth.
Benefits of Network Bandwidth Monitoring
Bandwidth monitors enable you to easily keep track of your network’s bandwidth usage, customize bandwidth distribution, and discover potential bottlenecks and outages. Here are some actions you can achieve with help from a bandwidth monitoring tool:
Dive Into Detail
A bandwidth monitor could gather bandwidth statistics on specific devices plus your entire network, helping paint a complete picture of your network’s bandwidth use. Some bandwidth monitoring software even enables the creation of visual graphics, like charts and top lists, allowing you to compare device bandwidth data.
Prep for the Future
Network bandwidth monitors are designed to constantly look out for bandwidth hogs, traffic congestion, and other potential threats, so you’re never scrambling to solve problems. Many bandwidth monitors can identify trends indicating a greater bandwidth need and will notify you when you’re due for an upgrade in bandwidth capacity.
Display Data in Real Time
Many bandwidth monitors automatically update their information, keeping your statistics live and everyone on the same page. Real-time data graphics enable you to clearly understand your network’s bandwidth information, helping make better decisions about bandwidth utilization and spot issues.
Boost Network Performance
By analyzing traffic patterns, response times, and up/down time of devices, bandwidth monitoring tools allow you to better know how your network is performing. Also, excessive bandwidth can sometimes be an indicator of deeper problems—by detecting troublesome devices, network bandwidth monitors may help you discover other critical issues.
Save Money and Time
Deciding to expand your bandwidth can be a difficult decision, and bandwidth monitoring tools can help you determine the best time to grow your network’s bandwidth threshold. Bandwidth monitoring software is designed to help you discover solutions to bandwidth shortages, traffic congestion, and other bandwidth performance issues before purchasing unneeded bandwidth capacity.
Best Bandwidth Monitoring Tools
1. SolarWinds NetFlow Traffic Analyzer (Free Trial)
SolarWinds NetFlow Traffic Analyzer (NTA) is an enterprise-grade bandwidth monitoring software designed to collect and analyze network traffic data to discover bandwidth usage, malicious network traffic, and devices experiencing downtime. This information is then clearly presented, helping you proactively reduce network connectivity issues. NTA includes WLC network traffic analysis for your wireless network bandwidth and allows you to see traffic routed through ISP connections.
NTA’s Traffic Analysis Dashboard is designed to automatically generate network bandwidth and traffic visualizations, letting you quickly notice and troubleshoot bandwidth issues. You can also set up cross-stack network data correlation on the Traffic Analysis Dashboard, enabling you to compare bandwidth usage across your network’s devices. You can organize bandwidth data by IP addresses, applications, and other groups.
Get live alerts with NTA as it automatically monitors your network’s traffic, helping you address critical performance issues while remaining focused on your own tasks. NTA is designed to isolate devices as you investigate excessive bandwidth usage and other suspicious activity. NTA also alerts you when your bandwidth threshold is approaching, indicating an interface is close to exceeding its bandwidth utilization limits. Add SolarWinds NTA to Network Performance Monitor to boost your NetFlow monitoring capabilities – download a 30-day free trial.
2. SolarWinds Bandwidth Analyzer Pack (Free Trial)
The SolarWinds network bandwidth analyzer pack (BAP) is a bundle of two incredibly useful SolarWinds tools, NTA and Network Performance Monitor (NPM). This powerful combination enables you to view network health and performance metrics to identify which devices consume the most bandwidth—while also offering plenty of other contextual and comprehensive network information. This helps you stay informed, allocate resources, and prevent potential connectivity problems.
BAP is designed to identify traffic patterns, inspect and isolate unwanted network traffic, and even display flow data analysis using UI access. All this can help you discover, address, and avoid network bandwidth performance issues. BAP organizes data from NetFLow, sFlow, J-FLow, IPFIX, and NetStream into clear charts and graphs, and with these insights, you can make QoS changes to optimize bandwidth. You can also collect flow data second-by-second or over long periods of time, and view traffic data through generated reports on your dashboard.
Another great feature of BAP is its alert system, which notifies you of changes in your network’s bandwidth or traffic, allowing you to quickly diagnose and remediate problems before they escalate. BAP is designed to dive deep into network traffic details, so you can observe network congestions from multiple viewpoints to identify their causes. Download a 30-day free trial to get started.
ManageEngine NetFlow Analyzer is an agentless bandwidth monitor designed to support real-time bandwidth analysis, data collection, and alert notifications. This tool offers the ability to generate long-term reports measuring your bandwidth’s growth over time, helping you better prepare for the future.
ManageEngine NetFlow Analyzer enables you to collect data on which devices are hogging bandwidth, so you can address usage issues with vital knowledge. Detecting bandwidth hogs could also lead to the discovery of external and internal threats, and ManageEngine NetFlow Analyzer uses steam mining engine technology to continuously search for unwanted visitors.
Along with bandwidth monitoring, ManageEngine NetFlow Analyzer could help you gain full visibility into your network’s performance metrics, devices and interfaces, and access points. ManageEngine NetFlow Analyzer supports Cisco technologies like CBQoS. There is a free edition of ManageEngine NetFlow Analyzer available for download, and you can download their mobile app as well.
4. BW Monitor
BW Monitor is a great bandwidth monitoring tool because it allows you to work with most network connections, including Ethernet cards, wireless, VPN and cable. Generate real-time bandwidth traffic graphs with average up/down times in line or column form with customizable features.
BW Monitor also logs data to provide daily, weekly, and monthly usage bandwidth reports, plus a summary of all-time bandwidth usage. BW Monitor includes a “speed stopwatch,” which enables you to test bandwidth, broadband, internet, and ADSL.
One key distinction between BW Monitor and other bandwidth monitoring software is that BW Monitor only tracks bandwidth usage on the device it’s installed to. However, there are some ways to manage multiple network connections simultaneously. There’s a free 30-day trial available for download.
PRTG Network Monitor can gather traffic data from your network’s sensors, providing details on which servers use the most bandwidth. This data can help you detect and diagnose disruptions to your bandwidth, then quickly address them in the right way. PRTG Network Monitor could display this vital information through graphs, top lists, or charts based on a wide template of parameters.
PRTG Network Monitor also has built-in tools like the Packet Sniffer, which monitors header traffic of data packets, so you can understand the information flowing through your network. This network bandwidth software also lets you monitor SNMP, NetFlow v5 and v9, and Cisco.
Enable custom alerts about bandwidth shortages via email, SMS, or push notifications using PRTG Network Monitor. PRTG observes sensors, not devices—one sensor usually monitors one device, so you’ll need five to 10 sensors per device or one sensor per switch port. Download a free trial, which will revert to the free version after 30 days.
NetWorx can enable you to measure your internet’s bandwidth usage alongside other metrics. It’s meant for viewing network devices on a local machine but can monitor traffic for smaller networks using SNMP protocols. A great feature of NetWorx is its ability to monitor and log traffic to create visualizations of daily, weekly, and monthly bandwidth usage trends. You can then export those reports to a multitude of formats for easy communication and problem resolution.
NetWorx is designed to perform network tests like ping, traceroute, and speed tests. The best feature of this network bandwidth monitor is its highly customizable alerts and interfaces, which allows you to pick your own visuals and sounds, notify you when unusual activity occurs, and automatically shut systems down if necessary. Download a 30-day free trial here.
Summing Up Bandwidth Monitoring
Bandwidth monitors are essential to ensuring your network’s speed, security, and success. Use bandwidth monitoring software to analyze your bandwidth’s traffic patterns and discover bandwidth hogs, bottlenecks, and available network storage. My top bandwidth monitoring tools are SolarWinds NetFlow Traffic Analyzer (NTA) and the bandwidth analyzer pack (BAP), both of which can organize important bandwidth statistics and cross-monitor your network’s data.