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  1. Post
    #1
    Cheers to maha for the idea, thread is a WIP and will get refined. Please contribute!

    The purpose of this thread is to give a rundown of different methods for monitoring what's using up your data cap on your network.

    Method 1: A router with custom firmware
    Advantages: Monitors every bit of data coming from every device on your network. Cannot easily be circumvented.
    Disadvantages: You probably need to buy a new router.

    First of all, you cannot load custom firmware on an all in one modem. Your Thomson router you got from telecom does not cut it. We're going to use Toastmans build of TomatoUSB as an example.
    Toastman Information and Builds
    Example list of devices compatible with Toastmans firmware:
    -Asus RT-N12, RT-N16, RT-N66U
    -Linksys e2000, e3000, e3200, e4200
    -Netgear WNR3500L

    Because these are only routers, you'll need a modem. Commonly suggested devices are:
    -Draytek Vigor 120 with PPPoA to PPPoE bridge enabled
    -Dynalink RTA1320V6 in half bridge.

    The first option is preferred, the second option can be picked up for a few dollars on trademe.

    Setting this up as as simple as flashing the firmware and enabling monitoring. Hostnames can be picked up automatically, and you can bind devices to specific IPs.

    (image credit: The Paladin)

    Method 2: A firewall/router box
    Advantages: A full firewall box is often more powerful and flexible than a consumer router. Will monitor all traffic coming through the network. Cannot easily be circumvented.
    Disadvantages: You'll need to get an additional PC and have it running 24/7. You'll need separate switch and wireless AP hardware.

    Note: This part is going to require elaboration, i don't have much experience with it.

    A firewall box can be setup on the most basic of computers, in the most simple setup you tend to use two NICs, one LAN side and one WAN side.

    Example router distributions which can monitor data usage:
    -Gargoyle
    -Astaro - 50 IP limit. Very polished.
    -PFSense with Squid/Lightsquid addons?

    Method 3: Installing data monitors per PC
    Advantages: No new hardware needs to be purchased
    Disadvantages: Easily circumvented by uninstalling/disabling, requires setup on every PC, does not account for usage on devices like tablets, smartphones etc.

    Example software which can monitor data usage:
    -Networx - Link
    Shows daily, weekly and monthly totals. Can sync with other clients across the LAN to see their usage.

  2. Post
    #2
    For method 3, I'd suggest Networx http://www.softperfect.com/products/networx/
    It's pretty straight forward to use, and it has a feature (which I have never used so I don't know how accurate it is) where it can monitor data on multiple pc's on which the software was installed with a centralized database. Don't forget to choose the "Ignore traffic within my LAN" option (you will need to install winpcap for this to work).

  3. Post
    #3
    Tautology Bandwidth Meter is another good one for option 3, main websites gone I believe but available for download else ware.

  4. Post
    #4
    maha wrote:
    For method 3, I'd suggest Networx http://www.softperfect.com/products/networx/
    It's pretty straight forward to use, and it has a feature (which I have never used so I don't know how accurate it is) where it can monitor data on multiple pc's on which the software was installed with a centralized database.
    There is no central database - each install collects its own data and syncs with other installs every so often.

  5. Post
    #5
    Thanks for clarifying that, hadn't had the chance to try out that feature.

  6. Post
    #6
    I don't think the RT-N56U can run tomato, it has a Ralink chipset rather than a Broadcom one, IIRC.

  7. Post
    #7
    Excellent thanks guys.

    Removed the 56U, forgot that the N11 and the N56 are not broadcom based SoCs.

  8. Post
    #8
    For the router/firewall option -

    I had a good experience with IPCop. I had to install 1 addon, I can't remember what it was, and manually assign a DHCP Server, assign individual IP addresses, then used that addon to monitor everyone's usages.

    I don't know if this post helps, but I wrote it anyways, delete it if it's rubbish.

    Cheers,
    Aurgasm

  9. Post
    #9
    For option two. I have a ClearOS vm set up with to monitor bandwidth and cache and that kind of stuff. I don't think many torrent sites like it but none have complained yet. And just set up the proxy settings on the computers.

  10. Post
    #10
    Would you know anything about limiting data to multiple users on a single computer? Say I get 15gb per month, my brother gets 15gb and my flat mate also gets 15gb. Would there be a software program for individuals that would restrict them after using their 15gb?

  11. Post
    #11
    have been using Tamato for years, excellent features

  12. Post
    #12
    wow nice one...

  13. Post
    #13
    been lagging cause of my sister watching youtube + downloads...but couldn't argue. i should use this to track her down lol

  14. Post
    #14
    Does anyone know of somwthing like this for Belkin routers?

    Flatmates want to know how much net is getting used per person (not for a witch hunt but just so they know)

    Looked on the TomotoUSB site and Belkin is not listed.

  15. Post
    #15
    Hey, is there a way to restrict access to the Tomato UI so non-administrators can look at information like IP Traffic without touching the rest of the configuration?

  16. Post
    #16
    I don't have a Tomato Router anymore, but you might be able to setup a new read-only user for the router ?

    going by this thread, it's not a current feature (nov 2013)

  17. Post
    #17
    KIRBYTIME wrote:
    Would you know anything about limiting data to multiple users on a single computer? Say I get 15gb per month, my brother gets 15gb and my flat mate also gets 15gb. Would there be a software program for individuals that would restrict them after using their 15gb?
    Last year when we four guys stayed in a room, we decided to choose 80GB usage brodband plan from Terago Networks so that each of us could use 20GB. We installed DU Meter, http://www.hageltech.com/dumeter/about, in our system and it will alert whenever the data exceeds the limit. It was really good to use.

  18. Post
    #18
    eXDee wrote:
    First of all, you cannot load custom firmware on an all in one modem. Your Thomson router you got from telecom does not cut it.
    This doesn't seem to be completely true, I've been able to get openWRT on a stock Vodafone Huawei modem. Currently working on getting an older build on a Linksys WAG router.

    Only catch is the ADSL for a lot of them breaks. Still need a separate box to bridge the ADSL but its better than going out to buy something else.

  19. Post
    #19
    Yes, i was aware of this being a possibility back when i had an old dynalink that had an openwrt build. but the fact that the modem function generally doesn't work makes it a deal breaker or at least confusing to your average person.

  20. Post
    #20
    Very interesting!

  21. Post
    #21
    found tomato is the easiest to use, also Asus official FW does counting as well

  22. Post
    #22
    Cacti in a VM, SMTP from router. Easymode.

  23. Post
    #23

    How about method 4 - get unlimited broadband and don't worry about it

    There are now unlimited broadband options in the market, surely this should be an option now?

  24. Post
    #24
    Method 4 is the best

  25. Post
    #25
    Really interesting, will have to try this but will have to check if my current router supports any of the open source router firmwares though.