Tracking your Internet Usage at Home

Tracking your Internet Usage at Home

Your internet bandwidth is being drained by something? These tips will help you identify what is using your bandwidth and troubleshoot it.

There is an online game being played by the kids. You are watching a movie and your spouse is downloading something. Your network is attempting to compete with their bandwidth… but it just does not work. If you had chosen a reliable internet service provider that offers an amazing package, all this would not have happened. If you are wondering that it could cost you a fortune, then that is not the case. There are plenty of providers that offer reasonable packages. Moreover, some providers even let you bundle internet with cable and phone, which means you can save A LOT. Yes, that’s right! For instance, Spectrum triple play allows you to bundle all these without blowing out your budget. The best part is that there are no contracts, ultimately, no risks. 

Anyway, the problem can still be fixed. 

Your internet bandwidth can be drained by many things. The people in your network are often the ones you know about. But sometimes it is malware or an intruder on your network.

Sometimes it gets so bad that you wonder, “What exactly is using my bandwidth?!”. If you are in such a situation, we might help you. You can check and troubleshoot your home network’s bandwidth usage by following these instructions.

  • Monitor Bandwidth Usage Through Your Router

Your router is the best place to start to figure out what is using your bandwidth. Your router manages all of the internet traffic coming into and leaving your home.

Each device connected to your network is listed on your router’s settings page. The IP address and MAC address of devices can be seen, as well as their connection status. With a router, you can also see network information like download speed and upload speed, as well as how much data this device is using or has used.

Each device is shown on the local network page of the router, for instance.

Unfamiliar with any of the entries? Just delete them and remove them from your network. Do not delete your own devices while you are at it! If you do, it will not matter. To log back into the network, you might need to retype your security credentials, an inconvenience that most devices experience.

  • Use Capsa To See Your Bandwidth Usage

Second, you can use a third-party program to see what is consuming your bandwidth. Capsa is an app that provides free network analysis that helps you capture every information packet that interacts with your device.

  1. Pick the network adapter that will work with your system. Most people prefer Ethernet. Wi-Fi may be more appropriate for you. Just see which works for you. When done, proceed to the next step. Select Full Analysis, then click Start to begin.
  2. Head to Protocol Explorer > [your adapter type] > IP in the Node Explorer. Click here to stop expanding the tree of protocols.
  3. Click Protocol to begin analyzing data. Each protocol in your system is displayed on the Protocol tab
  4. On the bottom of the analysis toolbar, select MAC Endpoint. You can open the detailed packet analysis screen by double-clicking the IP address of your device.

The good thing is that a lot of common traffic has easily identifiable addresses. Moreover, Capsa will mark it for you in other places.

This information can also be organized differently. Navigate to your device’s IP address from the IP Endpoint tab in the analysis panel. All incoming and outgoing connections, as well as the geographic endpoint, are shown in the analysis toolbar. It can be fascinating to read the Node 2 column.

There are some limitations to the free version:

  • Tracks only 10 private IP addresses
  • Tracks only 1 network adapter
  • Each project is limited to 10 IP addresses

For the most part, however, these limitations should not interfere with your aptitude to identify what is using your bandwidth.

  • Malware Scan Your Computer

Your bandwidth problems might not be related to your local network. You may be infected with bad malware that is using up your bandwidth when communicating with external servers or sending spam emails. You should clean your system if you have malware, regardless of bandwidth consumption. Malware can be consumed in a number of ways, but is not always “all-consuming.”

A good antivirus program should be installed on your computer. Regardless of which antivirus you use, you should perform a full system scan. Additionally, we strongly recommend downloading Malwarebytes and performing a full system scan. If the full system scan reveals any nefarious items, quarantine and remove them. You can then see if your bandwidth has increased. The speed may increase suddenly.

  • Uncovering network issues with Netstat

Using the Command Prompt and the netstat command is another great way to identify processes using your bandwidth. Using the Netstat command, you can examine all of the network activity on your computer (except for the traffic going through your router).

  1. Click the Best Match option, right-click and choose Run as administrator from the search results. Type command into your Start menu search bar.
  2. Enter netstat -o in the Command Prompt when it opens. Below is a list of all of the active network connections on your computer, their port, their external address, and the process they belong to.

Examine the list to see if you find anything unusual. Using your browser, you can search for the address copied and pasted. Servers and cloud servers of one type or another account for the vast majority of entries because they are the backbone of the internet.

Use to analyze the address quickly. This tool will reveal who owns the address.

The PID (Process ID) can be noted as well. Locate the equivalent process under the Services tab in Task Manager. The PID can have many open connections in the Command Prompt, so if there is one you do not recognize, you may want to try stopping the process and seeing whether it resolves your bandwidth issues, or you may want to search the internet to figure out what the process is and if it is something your system requires.

  • Use Windows Resource Monitor to monitor network activity

You can also access another bandwidth troubleshooting tool while you are in the Task Manager by clicking on the Performance tab, then clicking the Open Resource Monitor button at the bottom.

You can check your computer’s performance with the Resource Monitor.

For most people, bandwidth usage is usually dictated mainly by Chrome and Spotify, as shown in the Send and Accept columns. There is nothing wrong with seeing popular programs such as Chrome, Malwarebytes, and Spotify at the top of the list since these are trustworthy programs. However, if you see an unknown application or process draining your bandwidth, you should investigate.

  • Don’t use apps that are known to waste data

Apps are known for using a lot of data. YouTube, Instagram, TikTok, Zoom, Netflix, Instagram, and some social media apps like Facebook can all be very data-intensive.

What is the average time it takes to use 1GB of data? Unfortunately, 1GB can be consumed very rapidly on a mobile connection (especially over 5G) and even more rapidly over Wi-Fi or Ethernet.

One gigabyte of data could be used on a phone or a PC by:

Visit thousands of websites!

Use popular messengers such as WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger to send over a million messages. Thousands of photos can be uploaded or downloaded (depending on the quality). Participate in an hour-long Zoom meeting. Stream video for hours. 

With YouTube set to medium quality, you could only watch half as long, while you could watch 10 hours of Netflix with a lower quality setting. Tap the user icon at the top right to open YouTube, and then choose settings to view the video longer. Then, under “General” select “Limit mobile data usage”.

What is Netflix’s mobile data usage? You will run out of data faster with Netflix as it uses a bit more than 1GB per hour. You can, however, limit the quality of your Netflix videos just like you can on YouTube.

Now that you know how much data these apps consume, be careful with the usage.

Final Thoughts

Having no idea how much data is consumed at home can be quite frustrating. We hope that the aforementioned tips and tricks can help you save your bandwidth. If you have questions, please leave a comment in the section below. 


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