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Activité reseau II

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Yesterday we showed you how to monitor and track your total bandwidth usage, today we’re back to show you how to keep tabs on individual applications and how much bandwidth they’re gobbling up.

We’ve received several reader requests, both by email and in the aforementioned post about bandwidth tracking, for a good way to track the data consumption of individual applications. How-To Geek reader Oaken noted that he used NetWorx to track his total bandwidth usage but another application, NetBalancer, to keep tabs on individual applications. We took NetBalancer for a spin and it’s a great solution for monitoring bandwidth at the application level. Let’s take it for a spin and start monitoring our applications.

Installing and Configuring NetBalancer


Download a copy of NetBalancer here, grab the free version as it is more than satisfactory for our purpose here (you can upgrade easily enough if you want the extra features).

Make sure you don’t have anything important downloading at the time you install NetBalancer, it resets your network connection and will dump all your active downloads. Also, during the later part of the installation process (right around the time you see the box in the screenshot above) you’ll likely get two driver errors to the effect of “Windows cannot verify the digital signature for the drivers…”, go ahead and manually override both errors (we promise nobody’s head will explode and no puppies will be harmed). You’ll need to reboot either now (or after you’ve finished configuring the settings) in order for NetBalancer to accurately report bandwidth usage. Without the reboot it lumps nearly all traffic into the nebulous category “Unidentified or Service Traffic” which isn’t very helpful.

After NetBalancer finishes installing it will run for the first time, polling all the processes on your machine and compiling a list of them. After a few seconds of grinding and compiling you’ll see a screen like this:


Don’t worry about squinting at the fine details, we’ll be taking a close up look in a moment. For a general overview though, what you should be seeing at this point is all the processes on your computer, their PID, and other identifying information about them like the path to the process executable and the data currently being transmitted.

Depending on the number of network interfaces and virtual machines you have, you may want to take a moment to visit File –> Edit –> Network Adapters and uncheck all the adapters but the one you wish to monitor (or leave them checked if you do heavy work in your VMs).


Another tweak we need to make right out of the gate is to toggle the reporting size units and the processes show. Navigate to Edit –> Settings and then change the Traffic Unit to MB in order to make the graphic display more useful. The second thing you want to do is, while still in the Settings menu, is check Show only online processes. Your computer likely has hundreds of processes, most of which are never going to get online, there’s no sense cluttering up the display with all of them. We want to see which apps are connecting to the network and what they are doing.


Once you’ve done all this configuration (make sure to reboot if you haven’t yet) click on the incoming column to sort the processes by incoming data.

Taking a Peek at the Bandwidth Data


Here we see which application is currently downloading data and it reveals a peculiar quirk about the way anti-virus software works. The real download is a copy of a Linux ISO we’re downloading in Chrome. The download, however, was kicked over from Chrome to the Avast anti-virus scanner. If we didn’t have Avast installed then the data would appear under the Chrome.exe directly.

If you’re in a similar situation with an anti-virus application don’t worry, there’s a way to peek into the process list and get a good idea where the data is coming from if it is being filtered through an anti-virus scanner. You can sort the list by connections and see that Chrome (or whatever application is sending the data) ranks very close to the connection count of the anti-virus scanner. You can also click on the process that is doing the data filtering (in this case, the Avast scanner) and look at the connection data for the application. The mirror server at the University of Oregon narrows it down immediately to the large Linux distro we’re downloading.


We highlighted a most-difficult-to-decipher scenario here, but most of the time reading the output from NetBalancer is dead simple. Barring any anti-virus scanner hijinks seeing which application is sucking down data is as easy as sorting the columns.

Going Beyond Merely Monitoring


NetBalancer is quite handy for peeking in at what applications are using your bandwidth but the original purpose of the application wasn’t to merely watch. NetBalancer was designed to help you balance the load on your connection. You can allocate bandwidth based on process priority, increase and decrease bandwidth limits for individual applications, and otherwise ensure that your BitTorrent client or other bandwidth-hungry application won’t wreck your Skype session.


The free version of NetBalancer only allows for up to 5 application restrictions. For most people this should be adequate (once you lock down your file sharing apps and give apps like Skype priority, you quickly run out of apps you need to tinker with). If you do need more to tweak more than five applications, you can grab a copy of the professional application for $25.

Activité réseau

From HowToGeek :


That said we fully understand your desire to not be fingered as the guy that caused the bill to double. Let’s take a look at how you can monitor your internet access from your windows machines. You can find a multitude of bandwidth monitoring applications online but many of them are just simple little counters that give you a raw number and a thumbnail graph of your bandwidth use. We’re going to use something a little more powerful to help track your usage and present a more compelling case to your roommates.

First you’ll need a free copy of NetWorx. It’s free, it’s powerful, and it can generate usage reports in a variety of formats (and even across the network for different users). We’d recommend the portable copy, it’ll be easiest to throw on a flash drive and clone to your different Windows machines. Note: the only reason you would want to go with the installed version is if you transfer large volumes of data within your local network (such as streaming media to a media center or sharing files with your roommates). NetWorx must be formally installed in order to use a small driver necessary to separate local traffic from internet-based traffic.

Run NetWorx for the first time to complete the basic setup. You’ll choose your language and then the network connection you want to monitor. It is very important you take the time to select the network connection you actually use to connect to the internet. If you choose to select all connections then NetWorx will count all the data transfer on your computer (including bluetooth file transfer, infrared and miniport transfers, etc.). You want this to be as accurate as possible so select the Wi-Fi or Ethernet connection that is your primary data pipe.


Once you’ve selected the appropriate data connection, finish the setup. NetWorx will minimize to your system tray. Mousing over the icon will (by default) show you the current transfer rate. You can change this in Settings –> Main – > Tray Icon Information to display your daily, weekly, or monthly traffic. Changing it to monthly traffic would be the most useful for your purposes.


If you are setting up NetWorx on a laptop or other computer that is frequently outside of your house (and thus downloading data through other connections like coffee shop or university Wi-Fi nodes) you’ll want to add a filter so that NetWorx only counts the data transfer when you’re on the network with the data cap.

Navigate to Settings –> Main –> Networks… in order to select the network you want it to monitor. Check it and toggle the setting to “only networks selected below”.


At this point you have everything in place you need to monitor how much of the data pie you’re eating. If you can get the rest of your roommates to use NetWorx you can take an extra step and synchronize your NetWorx installations across the network so you don’t have to manually tally the data from separate machines at the end—this would be more than ideal since it will allow all users on the network to see all the data usage and immediately show who the hog is. Head over to Settings –> Advanced and check “Synchronize usage data…” in the Synchronization section at the bottom of the settings box.


Finally, you’ll need to generate a report at the end of the month to prove that you’re not the bandwidth hog. Right click on the NetWorx icon, select Usage Statistics, and then click on the Monthly Report tab. There you can see your totals for the month and export them. Click the Export button and you can export the data as an HTML, Word, or Excel document as well as plain text and a CVS file.


With your bandwidth use records in hand you can clear your good name and perhaps get your roommates to also monitor their bandwidth so that you can see where all the data is going. There is a good chance that, barring one of your roommates downloading movies hand over fist, they simply don’t realize how much modern web browsing can really suck up. Keep us updated, we hope this helps!