How much am I using?

I'm on a WISP with unlimited internet usage, but the service is capped at 3 Mbps. Alternative service is available (satellite) offering 20 Mbps service, but limited to 20 GB/mo. Adding a cell device (AT&T tower is real close) gives up to 20 Mbps, but again with a limit of 20 GB /mo. I have no idea how much I'm actually using, since my wife and I have separate computers, and in addition we both have cell phone that use our WiFi when home, and we occasionally use Netflix. Is there a simple way to measure how much (internet) service is going through my router?

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Charlie Hoffpauir
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My knee-jerk response is to mention that dd-wrt offers exactly that capability, but your router may not be capable of running dd-wrt as its OS, and even if it can, you may not want to go to that much trouble.

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Char Jackson

Charlie Hoffpauir asked:

Maybe. :-)

  • If you have a cable modem, you may be able to connect to it and see whatever statistics it keeps. Time Warner Cable's cable modems used to be at "".
  • If you have your own router, it may have a network statistics page.
  • On a UNIX-like O/S, `netstat -s -p tcp' won't be complete, but should have enough information to give you a ballpark estimate of traffic to that computer since it booted up.

From what you posted above, though, I suspect the dominant bandwidth eater is going to be Netflix and other TV/video use. Voice and typical web browsing (unless you're streaming HD video) usually pale by comparison to video.

My memory (and I trust someone will correct me if I'm wrong), is that uncompressed HD video uses approx. 4 GB/hour, and uncompressed SD video ~1GB/hr. If the stream uses compression, then less. Some have fancy algorithms to adjust the amount of compression to match whatever the link speed allows.

Your current usage may underestimate what you'd use with a faster link speed. MLB.TV Premium, for example, says you need 4-5 Mbps to watch the HD feed. Various services auto-select compression levels or feed based on the measured download speed. With a 20 Mbps link, unless you can (and do) specifically select a lower quality feed, you may well get a higher quality video stream that uses more bandwidth than what you currently get with a 3 Mbps rate limit.

  • As a ballpark estimate then, 20 GB/month (=160 Gb/month) / 5 Mbps = 32,000 seconds/month = 8.89 hours of HD TV per month, or 35.55 hours of SD TV per month, or more depending on compression rates.

Also check the terms of the 20 GB/mo cap: do they actually charge extra if you go over, or do they just reduce the speed? If they only reduce the speed, the cap may not be a problem.


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Thanks for that information. The router is an older Cradlepoint (MBR-1000) that's given excellect service, so I might not want to mess with it.... but it's nice to know that there is an option that might do what I want.

Reply to
Charlie Hoffpauir

No, as I said it's a WISP and I have my own router.

I never thought to look for that. Well, I just checked, and there is a statistics page. It lists LAN sent and received kilobytes and Wan device sent and received kilobytes. There's no indication of "since when" so I'm assuming it's since the router was last reset, and ther is a tab for clearign statistics. So I'll be testing this for a few days to see if I can get an estimate this way.

Great information. I'll keep a copy of this.

With the cellular deal, it's an extra charge. Not sure about the satellite; when I had HughesNet years ago, it was a HUGE speed reduction when you hit the limit (and HughesNet was never really fast, either).

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