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Using Network Bandwidth Monitor for Estimating Company Effectiveness

How to Count Internet Usage

A good company's boss should be always aware of how many resources his company uses, how many funds are spent, what are the current expenses on electricity, telephony, and other resources. In the last 10 or 15 years, one more important expense item was added: a modern company's operation is impossible without a connection to the Internet. To know how much you have to pay for it, firstly you need to know, how much traffic is utilized on your network if your Internet connection is not unlimited. That is why the system administrator should monitor the network bandwidth and traffic usage on local network in order to use the enterprise resources efficiently.

Even, if the organization is provided with the unlimited traffic package, the bandwidth monitoring is still vital. For instance, the bandwidth can be lower than the necessary limit, and there are a lot of reasons for that: employees can use traffic for personal affairs and download movies or music from the Internet, network interfaces can go down, and so on. All these problems lead to your company operating non-effectively, losing your profits and increasing expenses.

There are a few ways of gathering the bandwidth and traffic usage data:

1. Using the SNMP protocol (Simple Network Management Protocol). This method does not require the installation of any additional programs on remote computers. And this is the main advantage of this method. The bandwidth monitoring program is to be installed on the system administrator's PC only. The only thing he has to do is to set up the SNMP protocol properly which does not usually take a lot of time. The SNMP protocol allows you to count the local network or Internet traffic volume not only on computers with Windows or Linux OS, but on switches, routers, network printers and other network devices as well. Thus, the system administrator is able to monitor the utilized network and Internet traffic volume and look after the normal operation of all the network hardware.

2. Alternatively, the system administrator can use WMI (Windows Management Instrumentation) for bandwidth monitoring. The advantage of this method lies in absence of necessity to deploy the additional software on remote network computers operating under Windows.

3. If it is not possible to use the SNMP protocol or WMI for some reason, the bandwidth monitoring can be performed over some remote agents, which are usually included into the bandwidth monitoring program's package and have to be installed on remote PCs for the traffic data gathering. The agent is usually released as a service, thus it is not visible to users (it operates in the background mode).

4. The bandwidth monitoring can also be performed over the NetFlow protocol developed by Cisco Systems for collecting the IP traffic information on local networks. The statistic on all transferred packets is collected in a special buffer and then processed. This method allows performing the traffic monitoring in large companies with complex networks. But hardware supporting the NetFlow protocol is rather expensive, and not any organization can afford using it.

5. Using a packet analyzer or sniffer. Using this bandwidth monitoring method, you can learn IP addresses of a packet's sender and receiver. This allows learning what the Internet traffic is spent on. This method requires processing each packet being sent over the network. That is why this procedure becomes rather recourse consuming and can hardly be used on the networks with high traffic.

Using at least two or three of these bandwidth monitoring methods in complex, allows obtaining the full picture of an organization's operation. The traffic monitoring via several protocols at the same time and building graphic charts based on the collected data help identifying guilty employees who use the company recourses for personal affairs, and find out what they do: watch video online, use messengers, hang on social networks, view photos, etc.

You can configure the monitoring program's response on particular events (for example, if a network interface goes down or critical limits of utilized traffic volume have been exceeded, etc.). This allows the system administrator or IT manager to respond on these events immediately and to repair the failures in time. Moreover, the bandwidth and traffic monitor helps the manager to be aware of current organizations expenses and make correct conclusions about the efficiency of the company's employees operation.

More Stories By Dmitriy Stepanov

Dmitriy Stepanov is a CEO at 10-Strike Software, Network Inventory, Network Monitoring, Bandwidth Monitoring Software developer. 10-Strike Software is a software developing company. They offer their high quality networking products since 1999. 10-Strike Software specializes in producing Windows network software for corporate users.

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