How to Monitor Network Usage Per Computer

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Monitoring network activity can allow you to more accurately detect who in your home is using the most bandwidth, in addition to determining whether outside computers are leeching off your network resources. While there are tools built into Windows to accomplish this task for sophisticated users, a far easier method is to use the Internet to download free network monitoring software. These programs will work to help you make sense of your family's Internet activity.

Things You'll Need

  • Network monitoring program (linked below)
  • Download and install a network monitoring program such as TrafMeter, which is linked below. TrafMeter is a program that is designed to visually display the amount of activity on your network, in addition to providing you with methods of filtering the data depending on what you want to glean from your monitoring activities. Install TrafMeter on one computer in your home and you can see exactly which computers in your home are using the most bandwidth at any given time.

  • Open TrafMeter and select the "Action" option on the menu bar, then select the "Connect" option to connect the program to your home network.

  • Locate your computer's IP (which you will need to enter during the set-up phase) by going to the "Start" menu, then to the "Run" button. Type "cmd" in the text box then press "Enter," which will bring up a DOS prompt. Type "ipconfig" and press "Enter" to find your computer's IP, which will be listed near the top of the screen under the heading for "IPv4 Address."

  • Input the IP address of your computer then press "Enter" to begin using TrafMeter. Begin to capture network traffic by going to the "Capture" menu at the top of the menu bar then selecting the option to "Start." Your network activity will be displayed in the graph, with the option to cycle through the various viewing modes by using the different options under the "Statistics" heading at the left of the screen.

  • Leave the program running in the background at all times to more accurately monitor the flow of your network. You also will want to leave the program running overnight to detect any network traffic that might be occurring during that time.

  • Photo Credit Thinkstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images
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