PeakHour - Network bandwidth visualiser

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by Lotti, May 22, 2013.

  1. Lotti macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2006
    #1
    Hi everyone,

    I'm hoping you can help with testing the version 2.0 of PeakHour, the network bandwidth tool for OS X. It's a menubar app that displays your network device's upload and download speeds in real-time.

    Details can be found at the web site here: http://peakhourapp.com

    The part I need some help with is compatibility. The previous version only supported SNMP as a means of monitoring but this new version introduces support for UPnP devices as well.

    I believe this will greatly increase the number of people who can use this app and may be the first app of it's kind on any platform that can monitor bandwidth usage using UPnP.

    As this is so new and comparatively untested – aside from my own collection of devices and those of a dozen or so beta testers – it would be great if you could post your feedback and experiences here.

    To help with this and ensure people don't buy the app and then end up disappointed because it doesn't work, there is a free Compatibility Check tool available as well. See the link at the bottom of peakhourapp.com for more info.

    Really appreciate your feedback!
     
  2. mic j macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2012
    #2
    PeakHour looks interesting, but what does it do that Activity Monitor doesn't do? We have a MBP, iPad and aTV, 1 Airport Express. Can I monitor how each device uses my wifi bandwidth, or just bandwidth as a sum of all usage? We have occasional dropouts/slowdowns/loss wifi connection on iPad. Will this app let me monitor and see where wifi usage problems might be occurring?
     
  3. Lotti thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2006
    #3
    PeakHour gives you a slightly different perspective to Activity Monitor. Activity Monitor only shows you the network usage of the Mac that you're on. PeakHour monitors routers and access points to show total overall usage.

    For example, you could set up PeakHour to monitor both your Airport Express and your Internet router (assuming your Internet router supports SNMP or UPnP - if its the Airport Express, it should be no problem). This would let you see the Internet usage of all of your devices (ATV1, iPad, Mac) rather than only the Mac. If the Internet is slow, it could be caused by one of those devices taking up all the bandwidth - Activity Monitor can't tell you this.

    By monitoring the Airport Express as well, you can see how much bandwidth is going over your wireless LAN. This would help you diagnose issues during those slow/dropout/loss of connection periods (by observing the drop in performance). You could also use it to 'tune' the placement of your AE for best performance to try to minimise those dropouts.

    One more thing: you can use the old Airport Configuration Utility (5.6.x) to observe the signal strength of each wireless client - this can also be helpful in diagnosing WiFi issues.

    Just a couple of suggestions, hopefully that helps.
     
  4. mic j macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2012
    #4
    Thank you for the information. I'll give your product a try.
     
  5. mic j macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2012
    #5
    Compatibility Check not working for me

    I tried out the Compatibility Check app. I get no UPnP or SNMP devices detected. For the SNMP check, I tried automatic and when that did not find anything, I tried putting in the AEBS IP address (found using the AirPort Utility), but that again came up negative.

    The AEBS is connected to a 2Wire gateway. As I said, I have a AE set up to join the network, not being used as a wifi extender.

    I would really think it should see my AEBS, any ideas?

    Update: AEBS is set to Bridge Mode, if that is helpful.
     
  6. Lotti thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2006
    #6
    Just in case anyone else has this problem, some Airports have their SNMP setting disabled and Apple in their infinite wisdom removed the SNMP setting from the most recent Airport Configuration Utility.

    To enable SNMP, you need to download version 5.6.x of the tool which you can get from this link:

    http://support.apple.com/kb/DL1536

    For those running Mountain Lion, there are a few steps you need to follow to get it to work - they can be found here:

    https://discussions.apple.com/thread/4172563?start=0&tstart=0
     
  7. jlc1978 macrumors 68000

    jlc1978

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2009
    #7
    can it show bandwidth use by application? It's nice to know total use but knowing what is consuming large amounts of bandwidth is much more useful for avoiding breaking caps.
     
  8. Lotti thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2006
    #8
    I wish there was an easy way to do this. There are several tools out there that will let you monitor individual apps on one machine, in fact OS X ships with quite a neat little tool called 'nettop' that will show you exactly the breakdown.

    The problem is getting your Internet router to break it down by machine and application and - short of enterprise routers with support for NetFlows - there isn't really a good way to do this; neither SNMP nor UPnP provide anywhere near this sort of granularity.

    I've been toying with the idea of adding application-specific monitoring for the local machine, then letting you run multiple copies on other Macs and having them detect each other and show those breakdowns over the network. This would be a fair bit of work but there would still be quite a few limitations. That being said, it's definitely a problem worth solving.
     
  9. evetsariom macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2013
    #9
    I have installed your app on my mac mini running mountain lion, and so far it seems to be running fine. However I also have a MacBook, and Apple TV, and a Windows PC, and an iPhone and iPad - all of which use the same router. Will your app include their useage of the internet? Even if it does, I assume it will only do so if the mac mini on which the app is running is up and running. If this is the case is it possible to also install the app on a second mac and show a combined useage figure?
     
  10. Lotti thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2006
    #10
    If PeakHour is monitoring your Internet router, it will be measuring usage of all devices that use that router to access the Internet.

    You're right in that the Mac Mini needs to be running for it to measure total usage. There is a certain amount of leeway here as PeakHour will pick up where it left off after restarting. I'll try to explain.

    It actually depends on how much data you put through the router whilst PeakHour is not running.

    If its only a small amount of data (few hundred MBs) then PeakHour will still be accurate when its started again. If it's alot of data (more than a few gigabytes) then it may not be accurate. This is because the traffic counters in SNMP are only 32bits which mean they only hold a maximum of 4GB. This means they reset to zero after every 4GB of data transferred; when this happens, PeakHour can no longer figure out how much data has been transferred since it was last read.

    When PeakHour is running constantly this is no problem but it can lead to inaccuracies if it's not running for long periods / during large transfers.

    Hope makes some sense.
     
  11. evetsariom macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2013
    #11
    Thanks for the reply. That clears things up perfectly.
     

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