View Full Version : Can I monitor/analyze all traffic through my Airport Extreme?
May 30, 2010, 05:56 PM
I've got one airport extreme hooking cable modem to my local network through another bridged AE and also an airport express for wireless. We have about 15 hardwired drops and 3 wireless clients. I get poor latency and speed intermittently and am trying to track down the problem. I have a mac mini server that runs accounts and centralizes time machine backups, but it doesn't do much else.
I'm wanting to find some sort of method to see what is going through my router and how much bandwidth it's taking. I don't know if I'm using 20% or 100% - completely flying blind. Especially given upload speed caps and I'm trying to do offsite backup of files, so I need to understand my network upstream usage to throttle effectively.
This is home use, 5 computers plus the mini/server, several NAS devices, multiple internet connected gaming devices (xboxes, wii, etc). So installing some sort of client software doesn't work - I need to monitor the actual router or some other device I can insert.
Obviously for home use, the budget is limited. I'd spend a couple hundred bucks if I could have an easy to use solution that would show me what is doing where.
thanks for any help.
May 30, 2010, 11:54 PM
but you can't track everything as the Airport doesn't report everything. You can measure bandwidth used for WAN, LAN, and Wifi. You might find this web page helpful:
There's a handful of apps and widgets in MacUpdate (search for SNMP), but I've found MRTG to be most reliable.
Jun 1, 2010, 05:48 PM
I don't know where you live, but can't you invest in swapping service provider to one without caps? I adjusted mine for doing off-site backups (went to a 2.5Mbps upload with no caps). Probably work out better than trying to monitor/throttle yourself.
A lot of routers allow you to do overall up/down monitoring of usage. Generally the data is lost on a router restart though. Mine (DGFV338) gives traffic by protocol (Email/web/other) and splits it into up/down but no further detail. At the end of the day I think to do monitoring you need to change the router to one that offers the monitoring you require or put a second one in stream just for this purpose.
Daft question, are you doing your backups overnight or are you saying that the backups are interfering with day to day use?
Jun 1, 2010, 08:11 PM
Thanks for the replies.
I've never heard of a connection without caps, that is a pipe dream around here where we get 768k up and that's it, though our download is around 14M down. We are not capped on amount transferred, just on rates. So it's upload rates that kill me.
Currently I have my (mozy) backup throttled to just 25kb/s during the day, so that's very small. I'm not specifically saying that that is the problem, in fact I doubt it is, but trying to analyze where problems are is extremely frustrating, because I have no information! For example, my son and his friend are both playing online Xbox360 games like COD - how much bandwidth is that taking, I have no way of telling. My wife wants to watch a movie on netflix running from our Tivo - again, I have no way to tell how much.
I just can't believe with all the technology out there there isn't some kind of box or some software package that would give you a display of how much each device on your network is using like a giant speedometer or something like that.
Alrescha - I looked at that link and it's a bit intimidating. I might have to give it a try, but although I'm a 20+ year vet of DOS command line use, I've only opened the mac terminal window maybe twice in the last 3 years I've owned macs ;(
Jun 2, 2010, 03:25 PM
I had a similar problem, and found a solution with iyenet
This is a simple dashboard widget, easy to get working with the airport extreme, that shows real time and recent historical data throughput on the WAN side. It doesn't do exactly what you want - i.e. tell which kid, or which application, or even which mac is using the bandwidth - but pattern recognition and asking the kids what they were doing taught me to recognise what causes problems on our network.
Anyway, it's free so worth a try!
Jun 2, 2010, 04:27 PM
Hey thanks so much for that link, I'm putting that up and will monitor for a few days and see what is going on. At least it's a step in the right direction.