How To Monitor Your Internet Usage (bandwidth)

By | May 28, 2011
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There are a lot rumors that come and go about ISPs and their ideas for charging for customers’ for extra bandwidth usage. Some ISP’s are still toying with the idea of limiting bandwidth or charging customers for exceeding a predetermined monthly bandwidth allowance. Bandwidth limits may well be something some of us will have to deal with eventually. As more and more smartphones and iPads and other ultra-portable devices connect to the Internet and gobble up more and more bandwidth, ISPs are bound to have to increase the amount of bandwidth they offer; and that’s going to cost them more money. If they have to pay more, you can bet you will have to as well.

Companies are working hard to make packages containing less product look the same size – so they can sell a smaller amount of product for the same amount of money. For example: Skippy peanut butter: They’re putting bigger “dimples” in the bottom of their peanut butter jars so the jars look the same size but contain 2 ounces less peanut butter. They sell jars missing 2 ounces of product for the same price as the old jars with a smaller dimple in the bottom. They should have just left the quantity alone and raised the price rather than trying to fool the consumer. But it seems consumers like to think they’re saving money – or at least not spending more.

The same thing holds true for ISPs. If they want to make more money, just charge more money, instead of using overage fees (fines) to stick it to the customer. Right now, no U.S. ISP (we know of) is charging a bandwidth fee to those who exceed a certain amount of bandwidth. Comcast tried it, but soon abandoned it – probably because none of their competitors followed their lead.

Anyway, it’s interesting to see how much bandwidth you use. And there’s a free program you can download to help you track your bandwidth usage. It’s called NetMeter. NetMeter keeps your total bandwidth usage for each day of the month, shows you your current month totals and a lot more. NetMeter is something all of us using high-speed Internet connections may eventually need; for now, it’s fun to see how much bandwidth we use. Well, maybe it’s kind of geeky? Still it’s fun! NetMeter works with Windows XP, Windows Vista, and Windows 7 – 32 bit and 64bit.

You can read more about NetMeter and download it free from this page.

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8 thoughts on “How To Monitor Your Internet Usage (bandwidth)

  1. Janet

    thanks for netmeter, that will come in handy. So if my phone is only allowed 25mb this will give me an idea of what that is equal to right?

    1. infoave Post author

      Of course. You have the same internet there as we have here. Your water just goes down the drain in a different direction – and you have kangaroos πŸ™‚

  2. CJ Wells

    Usually really appreciate your recommendations but NetMeter is a bust. Downloaded it and all I get is a message that it has crashed and there is no solution available. Using windows 7 which it is suppose to be compatable with but guess it isn’t.

    1. infoave Post author

      We’ve tested it on Windows 7 home premium and it works great. Windows 7 isn’t a major new version of Windows – it’s basically what Vista might have been had Microsoft not rushed Vista to market. To assume a program is a “bust” because you can’t run it, is generalizing. Almost always, if you can’t run something on your computers others can, it’s a software conflict caused by something you have running on your computer. Since there are an infinite number of possible configuration and hundreds of thousands of software applications, we cannot possibly test software on more than a few computers and operating systems. If we say something runs on XP, Vista, and 7 (32bit and 64bit) that means we’ve tested it on those versions of Windows and found no problems with it.

      We cannot tell you why it does not run on your computer – we can tell you it runs well on Windows 7 – 32bit and 64bit.

      If you’re running a 3rd-party firewall or a security suite with a firewall – that’s the where I’d be pointing a finger.

  3. Joanne Striegler

    Verizon charges for any usage over what is in our contract. We can use 5Gb/month. I don’t know what yet cuz I wanted to send this to you as soon as I saw it.
    Soon as I know I will send it to you if you think it is important. So now you know of one ISP that charges for overage.

  4. Vicki

    Just recently (about a month ago) I received a letter from Comcast that said they are actually pursuing charging people foe using extra bandwedith, so it is still a possibility that this will happen. Very sad news since the economy is so bad and their bills are so high to begin with. Thought I would let cha know. Thanks

  5. Lilsey

    I have Rogers Canada. Used to have 2GB a month, never went over, enjoyed my computer a lot. I went up to 15GB a month and last August I was 11GB over my limit at $4 a GB and that was only half way through the month. I complained bitterly, got a refund, but I have been scared to use my computer. Now here I am 4days away from the end of the month and I still have 12 GB left so I am going to watch a movie. I pay about $35 a month.


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