With more Internet providers discarding the notion of “unlimited” bandwidth, and putting monthly caps on the amount of data you can consume, it’s important that you become aware of the amount of data that you’re consuming. While there are tools (such as iStat Menus) that can show how much data an individual computer has consumed, you really need a different type of tool to get the big picture, and see how much data your router has exchanged with the outside world. Enter SNMP Status.
SNMP (Simple Network Management Protocol) is a standard for collecting statistics, such as bandwidth throughput and usage, from network devices. Fortunately, recent AirPort and Time Capsule devices support SNMP, though you may have to enable it. In AirPort Utility, click on
Logging & Statistics, and be sure to check the
Allow SNMP box.
SNMP Status Preferences
After starting SNMP Status, you’ll now see an additional item with “dn” and “up” labels; click on this in your menu bar and select Preferences. You’ll need to specify the host, also knows as the name or IP address of the router whose traffic you want to monitor. If you know the IP address, you can enter that, but clicking on the pulldown near the host field should display the Bonjour name of the device, such as “Time Capsule.local.”
Next is the tricky part, but with a little experimentation, you should get it right, and that’s which interface to select. On our setup, there were six to choose from (gec0, mv0, lo0, wlan0, vlan1 and bridge0). After trying all of them, it looks like vlan1 is the connection from your AirPort to the outside world, so would be the most appropriate for measuring bandwidth. The preference window shows a cumulative in and out count, which you can use to determine how much bandwidth has been used over time. Instantaneous throughput values, with “dn” and “up” labels, are shown in the menu bar.
So get an idea of how much bandwidth you are using, both now and over time, and check out SNMP Status today! Have any other Gadgets that let you measure bandwidth? Send an email to John and he’ll check it out.