Network Traffic Monitor

Network Traffic Monitor is a network analytic tool that examines local area network usage and provides a display of upload and download statistics. The main purpose of the application is monitoring (and counting) the IP traffic between your local area network (LAN) and Internet.

Network Traffic Monitor

A Network Traffic Monitor provides real-time traffic accounting and monitoring. It is very dynamic, every new (dial-up) connection is registered and monitored, you can use it to count useful download and upload traffic of a computer or extend it to build the traffic accounting system for all computers in your company’s LAN.

As company intranets continue to grow it is increasingly important that network administrators are aware of and have a handle on the different types of traffic that is traversing their networks. Traffic monitoring and analysis is essential in order to more effectively troubleshoot and resolve issues when they occur, so as to not bring network services to a stand still for extended periods of time. Numerous tools are available to help administrators with the monitoring and analysis of network traffic. This paper discusses router based monitoring techniques and non-router based monitoring techniques (passive versus active). It gives an overview of the three most widely used router based network monitoring tools available (SNMP, RMON, and Cisco Netflow), and provides information about two newer monitoring methods that use a combination of passive and active monitoring techniques (WREN and SCNM).

Network analysis is the process of capturing network traffic and inspecting it closely to determine what is happening on the network.” -Orebaugh, Angela. Two Monitoring Techniques are discussed in the following sections: Router Based and Non-Router Based. Monitoring functionalities that are built-into the routers themselves and do not require additional installation of hardware or software are referred to as Router Based techniques. Non-Router based techniques require additional hardware and software to be installed and provide greater flexibility. Both techniques are further discussed in the following paragraphs

Network Traffic Monitoring

From hundreds to thousands of computers, hubs to switched networks, and Ethernet to either ATM or 10Gbps Ethernet, administrators need more sophisticated network traffic monitoring and analysis tools in order to deal with the increase. These tools are needed, not only to fix network problems on time, but also to prevent network failure, to  detect inside and outside threats, and make good decisions for network planning. This paper surveys all possible  network traffic monitoring and analysis tools in non-profit and commercial areas. The tools are categorized in three  categories based on data acquisition methods: network traffic flow from NetFlow-like network devices and SNMP,  and local traffic flow by packet sniffer. The popular tools for each category and their main features and operating  system capabilities are discussed. The feature comparisons on each category are also made.

Traditional Network traffic monitor tools analyze using hardware probes or packet analyzers to offer granular and detailed information on network traffic. However, hardware probes require complex deployment procedures, and typically do not account for IPsec traffic. And packet analyzers flood you with results that do not offer direct insight into application-specific traffic in the network. As a result, IT department is faced with an increased troubleshooting cycle, and an extended time to make critical decisions affecting the network.

Most Network Traffic Monitors makes use of the Filter-Hook Driver technology that is part of Windows XP. Unfortunately Windows XP allows only a single filter-hook driver to be installed, so if you run another software application that makes use of this technology, starting Network Traffic Monitor‘s filtering will fail. If you want to use Network Traffic Monitor you will first have to stop that other application. Known applications to use the same Filter-Hook Driver technology: PeerGuardian, Outpost Firewall Pro. Some users reported that starting Network Traffic Monitor before the other application solved the problem. Most Network Traffic Monitor’s support SNMP, Packet Sniffing and NetFlow, usually a bandwidth tool displays data in easy-to-read graphs and tables that can be exported as reports, or accessed via a browser wherever you are: analyzing and managing network traffic is easy with the PRTG network traffic monitors.

Network Traffic Monitor: Benefits of Network Traffic Monitoring

By monitoring network traffic with PRTG, you can:

  • Avoid bandwidth and server performance bottlenecks
  • Discover which applications use up your bandwidth
  • Be proactive and deliver better quality of service to your users
  • Reduce costs by buying bandwidth and hardware according to actual load
  • Easily troubleshoot network problems
  • Identifying Top Talkers and Conversations in the network: Determine which users and what applications are using maximum bandwidth, and drill down for conversational details.
  • Monitoring and projecting Traffic Trends and Usage Patterns: View trends in network traffic, and determine top applications and peak usage times.
  • Defining Applications to Monitor Specific Traffic: Use a combination of ports and protocols to define unlimited applications, and recognize this traffic exclusively in traffic reports. You can also mention a particular IP address to map an application.
  • Managing Devices Exclusively: Categorize devices and group them data into logical groups, and monitor traffic reports exclusively, for the groups.
  • Increased accounting: Improve resource utilization accounting with real-time bandwidth and network usage statistics.