How do I manage *all* bandwidth between computers and the Internet?

By chrisbedford ·
I'm sure with all the experience and intelligence represented here *someone* must be able to give me some suggestions.

I need to be able to monitor bandwidth usage on a per-user basis, but haven't been able to find a single package that can do that. For instance, WebMarshal has excellent reporting, as long as all the traffic you are interested in is web based, but it is unable to tell me how much data has been transmitted using POP3 / SMTP. If I add MailMarsahl to the equation I have to configure it to maildrop users' mail, but that would not be acceptable as several of them are mobile.

Isn't there some way of simply tracking "total bytes between PC 'x' and the Internet"? The emphasis is on "simply" here, since the whole reason for wanting to monitor Internet usage is because this is a small business, and we pay per GB for DSL bandwidth in this part of the world - no way around it - it's quite expensive and adds up fast when you have a data "cap" of 20 GB for the month and regularly go through that limit before the 15th! Last month's total usage was 54 GB, in an office where there are only 11 users.

We are running a Linux based firewall / router and a Microsoft SBS domain, so regulating which machines have access to the outside world would not be an issue and I at first thought some form of proxy server would be the answer, but the whole email thing seems to torpedo that concept.

Any ideas anyone?


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by Enforcer Drive In reply to How do I manage *all* ban ...

We use Cisco's Netflow Analyser. We can trace usage down to the machine's IP. It shows http,msds,citrix and all other types of traffic. I usually use the freeware lanspy to resolve the IP to the logged on user. Alternatively you can use Group Policy simulator to resolve the user name. It is very good at showing source and destination IP's. This is very good for determining a website that somebosy is downloading from. The only drawback is that you need a cisco switch, although I know it also works on HP Procurve switches.

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Thanx Enforcer

by chrisbedford In reply to Netflow

...all the solutions I have come across seem to require spending an inordinate amount of $$$, or time, or both, before you get any useful data out of them. ProCurve switch is out of range I'm afraid, Cisco *way* out of range.

I found "WebSpy" here on TR and that looks promising, it will read a wide variety of proxy server log files, including squid - or you can install an optional extra logging component on a PC on the network. But it too requires a managed switch with a monitoring (mirror) port... always a "gotcha". At least this can work with a "cheap" switch like Netgear.

Thanks for the input!

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by TobiF In reply to How do I manage *all* ban ...

I tried googling "linux internet traffic counter" and think I spotted several possible ways forward.

By the way, you may want to roll out things like "Opera Turbo", which can limit the amount of data received. (There are similar add-ons available for other browsers, I believe)

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Cheers Tobi

by chrisbedford In reply to Google

I realised just after posting my question that I should have mentioned that I did do some searches, but I onviously had been using the wrong search criteria.

On TR under Software I have now (now that I am being more intelligent about searching) found some stuff with potential (see prev post) and a 'Net-wide google search also - so many choices it's impossible to look into all of them, in fact!

Seems like the holidays will be spent doing research. Oh well who wants to celebrate Christmas anyway!

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by Churdoo In reply to How do I manage *all* ban ...

Their version 8.0 just released with Bandwidth Control functionality in their Premium package. The rest of their tools are great! Add untangle ( to your research list, it may be what you're looking for.

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Lowering bandwidth usage.

by seanferd In reply to How do I manage *all* ban ...

Since you seem to have found your tracking options. :)

Check the browsers in use in your network and make sure that any prefetching is turned off. Firefox is one that has prefetching enabled by default, but you need to go to about:config to change this, possibly adding the preference entry to turn it off.

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by Enforcer Drive In reply to How do I manage *all* ban ...

Cyfin can connect to squid proxy. I have only seen a trial version and I know it can track internet usage very thoroughly down to the end user. I believe you can test a 30 day trial. It may also suit your situation as you pay by the amount of users in your network.

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