Measure Bandwidth Usage on Network

How to measure bandwidth usage?

How much bandwidth are the devices in your network using? With organizations increasingly dependent on their internet and IT network infrastructure, this is a question that haunts every network admin. Measuring bandwidth usage is not as simple as calculating the overall bandwidth consumption in a network; it involves multiple other factors such as the following:

  • Planning bandwidth requirements
  • Bandwidth monitoring to identify network issues
  • Ensuring value for money invested
  • Bandwidth optimization
  • In-depth monitoring
  • Identifying and measuring the severity of network attacks
  • Having the right bandwidth measuring tool

Measure and plan bandwidth requirements

Bandwidth requirements can be wildly overestimated or underestimated if there is a lack of proper analysis. While there are various bandwidth estimator tools available, they may not always be accurate, and in-depth analysis is the only way to achieve better understanding of a network. Capacity planning that involves bandwidth usage trend analysis over an extended period of time is key to improving accuracy in estimating a network's bandwidth needs.

Monitor and measure bandwidth usage to identify bandwidth hogs

By monitoring, measuring, and analyzing the bandwidth usage of all devices and users in a network, you can more easily recognize traffic patterns. This is beneficial in identifying anomalies in bandwidth usage or bandwidth hogs. Timely diagnosis of abnormalities in traffic behavior enables you to troubleshoot issues before they affect the entire network. Be it bottlenecks or other performance issues, ensuring all devices in your network are tracked helps you see who or what is hogging most of the bandwidth.

Ensure you're getting the bandwidth you pay for

Your network speed and bandwidth rely on a number of elements like bandwidth speed that can highly affect your network’s performance and health. Your ISP could throttle your bandwidth based on data caps or to regulate traffic to avoid network congestion. This can be done by reducing your overall bandwidth availability or speed, restricting certain types of data that hog bandwidth or are bandwidth sensitive, and more. There are multiple ways to ensure your ISP is providing the bandwidth you're paying for. This includes testing bandwidth speed over a certain period of time on various devices as well as using billing apps or reports to calculate and generate custom bandwidth bill plans.

Optimize bandwidth usage

The total available bandwidth depends on your ISP service plan, and the way it is distributed depends on the demand from each user or device. VoIP calls, video conferencing, and other media traffic require the most bandwidth, and they are also highly sensitive to network issues. Any lag in these services is more easily noticeable than in other services such as email, report generation, or file downloads. QoS settings and other traffic shaping methods can be used to establish the priority of business-critical applications as well as block or limit the use of bandwidth-hogging apps.

Monitor bandwidth usage by source and destination IP

Cisco's Annual Internet Report forecasts that the number of IP devices will be over three times the global population by 2023. Monitoring source and destination IP addresses enables you to determine the traffic and measure bandwidth usage from an individual host passing through a specific interface. This in turn helps determine the geolocation of the IP address or host, making it easier to track down bandwidth hogs and malicious users, especially in distributed networks.

Identify and mitigate DDoS attacks

Any network, however large or complicated, is susceptible to network security attacks. A denial-of-service attack, or DoS attack, is where the attacker floods the targeted machine or network resource with a huge number of requests to overload the system, disrupting the host's services and transiently or indefinitely shutting down the machine or network resource, making it inaccessible to its intended users.

In a distributed DoS attack (DDoS attack), this incoming traffic flooding the victim is generated from many different sources. This effectively makes it impossible to stop the attack simply by blocking a single source.

The only way to avoid an attack as severe as a DDoS attack is to carefully record and study the size, type, and frequency of DoS attacks. Identifying and mitigating these attacks before they can cause damage involves constantly monitoring network traffic and measuring bandwidth usage over longer periods of time to identify anomalies.

Use a bandwidth usage measuring tool

Measuring and monitoring bandwidth usage requires tracking every single device or user, mission-critical or otherwise, in your network. The complexity of this process increases with the size of the network. A bandwidth measuring tool that is not only a bandwidth meter but also monitors network traffic and provides insights into the network's bandwidth consumption can make measuring bandwidth usage more efficient. Picking the right tool based on network requirements, whether it is free or paid, will also help you better manage your network.

How does NetFlow Analyzer help measure bandwidth usage?

ManageEngine NetFlow Analyzer is a flow-based, highly scalable bandwidth measuring tool and network traffic analyzer that monitors and analyzes devices, interfaces, applications, and users in your network to provide comprehensive insights.

Real-time bandwidth monitoring and traffic analysis

NetFlow Analyzer monitors and analyzes network traffic and provides real-time visibility into traffic patterns and network performance with reports. It also helps you drill down into device details to find the source and destination IPs to identify which part of your network is being used by whom, and when.

Measure Bandwidth Usage on Network - ManageEngine NetFlow Analyzer 

Bandwidth forecasting and capacity planning

NetFlow Analyzer helps measure bandwidth usage on network, identify and plan your future bandwidth requirements with its Forecast and Capacity Planning reports. It ensures network performance is measured over time and that your business is prepared for and comfortable managing network growth when necessary.

Measure Bandwidth Usage - ManageEngine NetFlow Analyzer 

Optimization, traffic shaping, and class-based QoS

NetFlow Analyzer's traffic shaping features help you identify and control applications using the network's bandwidth. It helps ensure that the right applications are utilizing bandwidth, and also enables you to view and validate how the QoS policies affect these applications.

Measuring Bandwidth Usage - ManageEngine NetFlow Analyzer 

Network security

With the global cybersecurity market size forecasted to grow to $345.4 billion by 2026, as reported by MarketsandMarkets, it is critical that you have a tool that can perform behavior analysis and anomaly detection, and give you complete visibility into your network. NetFlow Analyzer's Advanced Security Analytics Module constantly monitors and measures network bandwidth usage to identify and classify anomalies and attacks such as DDoS attacks, ports or scans, and suspicious traffic based on predefined algorithms, helping you mitigate them before they affect the network and its users.

How to Measure Bandwidth Usage - ManageEngine NetFlow Analyzer 

NetFlow Analyzer is an affordable solution for bandwidth monitoring. We have been using NetFlow Analyzer to manage our branch and central office bandwidth requirements effectively. It was able to correlate the vast NetFlow data exported from our Cisco Routers and provide us with rich reports that showed us the exact bandwidth utilization based on the type of traffic on the network. NetFlow Analyzer is an ideal choice for enterprise IT who need to detect network bottlenecks and provide a superior network connectivity experience to their end-users.

- Raul Borges

Network Administrator, Praxair

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Other features

Threshold based alerting

Set pre-defined threshold settings based on utilization, duration and frequency to effectively monitor network bandwidth.

Usage based billing

Ensure fair billing from your ISP. You could also use it for chargeback in your different departments

Capacity Planning report

Assess future network requirements based on capacity planning reports.

Faster Network Troubleshooting 

Unearth the root cause of your network troubles and troubleshoot issues faster.

Cisco IP SLA Monitoring

Monitor critical factors affecting VoIP, Video performance and ensure best-class service levels. Ensure seamless WAN connectivity through WAN RTT monitoring.

Monitoring and reporting on Cisco CBQoS

Validate the effectiveness of your QoS policies using CBQoS reports from NetFlow Analyzer. Prioritize your network traffic accordingly.


Frequently Asked Questions

How to measure bandwidth usage?