How to Track How Much Bandwidth Your Home Uses

Unlike the water company, Internet service providers don't routinely tell you how much of their service you use. Tracking bandwidth usages requires some technical expertise and a lot of monotonous number-crunching, which makes it impractical to perform manually. Instead, you can install an application designed to track your usage for you. Some Internet service providers offer their own metering programs, and there are also a wide variety of third-party software.

Things You'll Need

  • Bandwidth metering software

Instructions

    • 1

      Ask your Internet service provider, or ISP, if they have an online metering program that you can use to track your bandwidth usage. If they do, it should be as simple as logging in to the program and pulling up the numbers.

    • 2

      Download a third-party bandwidth metering program if your ISP does not provide its own. You may want to download a third-party program anyway to compare against your ISP's official statistics. There are many free, highly accurate programs on the Internet, such as NetWorx for Windows and SurplusMeter for the Mac (see Resources).

    • 3

      Follow the installation instructions of the bandwidth metering program to set up accurate tracking.

    • 4

      Synchronize all the computers in your house with the same program. The program provides instructions on how to do this. This way, you can access your household bandwidth usage from any computer at any time and identify how much bandwidth each individual computer is using.

    • 5

      Use the Internet normally and generate usage reports whenever you like.

    • 6

      Use these reports to adjust your bandwidth usage as needed to stay within your bandwidth cap without going over, or, if you're under-utilizing your bandwidth, to make the most of the service you're paying for.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you have a mobile computer, be sure to set up a filter so that the metering program won't count bandwidth usage outside your home network. All the reliable metering programs provide such a filter.
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Resources

  • Photo Credit Jason Reed/Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Getty Images

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