Below is an excerpt from our WhatsUp Gold Network monitoring blog, in which we describe what bandwidth is, and how you can easily monitor bandwidth by usage, device, IP address, and more.
For home users, monitoring bandwidth usage per device may seem like a pointless exercise but their business counterparts typically recognize the value of doing so. Bandwidth is not a limitless resource and total broadband bandwidth (as provided by your internet service provider or ISP) is shared between all the devices connected to the network. If one is taking more than its fair share, then the bandwidth available to the rest is reduced.
For example, your ISP may offer unlimited bandwidth but will apply additional conditions. You may have 20Mbs download speed for the first 20Gb of data and 3Mbs for the next 80Gb, after which the available bandwidth could be as low as 128kb. This practice is common on cell phone plans. Similar data caps or bandwidth throttling are also applied on business plans. One real-life example of this practice is the high-profile media story outlining how the Santa Clara fire department had their ‘unlimited’ data plan throttled to the extent that it interfered with the organization of emergency services during Californian wildfires.
An understanding of bandwidth is necessary to appreciate the relevance of isolating usage per device and you must appreciate that such knowledge is not just for techies or those involved in system administration. Traffic or bandwidth analysis can provide valuable information that could otherwise go unnoticed, whether it is identifying a user that is consistently streaming video or realizing that one of your devices is sending out more data than it should (due to a virus, security exploit or hardware failure).
In the blog post excerpted above, we break down what bandwidth is, and how you can monitor by device, usage, or IP address. To read more, check out the original post on the Whatsupgold.com network monitoring blog.