Monitor AirPort Bandwidth with SNMP Status

| Monday's Mac Gadget

Product Link : SNMP Status 0.5 (Freeware)
Developer Link : Paul Kunysch


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 Advanced, then 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.

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Downloaded it, the latest version says it is for Tiger. It failed to open a window, even though Activity Monitor said it was running.

Deleted it.

John F. Braun

When the program is running, it won’t display a window unless you choose Preferences; you’ll see a small indicator in the menu bar, with “dn” and “up,” as shown in this older site for the program:

I’ve updated the article to make this clearer.

I had no problem running it under Snow Leopard, so am sure Tiger is just the minimum version of OS X you need to run it.


thanks! very intresting!
and what about ProteMac Meter ( i heard a lot of positive comments about this app. anybody use it?

Rob Bettis 1

John, you mentioned PeakHour a few shows back. Tonight I’ve been working to set it up. I discovered I need to enable SNMP for this to work. I also discovered that my new-ish Time Capsule (AC) doesn’t allow you to enable SNMP.

I was hoping Airport Utility was preventing this, as several folks said the older version of the utility offered the option. After finding a way to run Airport Utility 5.6.1 in Mavericks, I see the SNMP option for my Airport Express (used as an extender), but I still don’t see the option for the Time Capsule. Thus, it seems the Time Capsule is doing the blocking.

Any suggestions for enabling SNMP on my AC Time Capsule via the terminal or some other alternative method? It seems so odd that Apple would scale back the router access so significantly on their new devices.

Ultimately, I’m looking to add another Dropcam around the house. I’m trying to determine how much bandwidth my current Dropcam uses and if I have capacity to add another without putting strain on my network.


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