For those without unlimited mobile or home internet plans, being able to track your bandwidth usage is crucial if you want to avoid exceeding your limit. It’s not always the easiest thing to do: certain websites, games, and other activities can end up eating much more of your data than you realize.
However, with the right router and firmware, you can monitor your bandwidth and keep yourself within the restrictions of your plan.
Finding a Router with Advanced Bandwidth Monitoring
The first step towards advanced bandwidth monitoring is finding a router flashed with DD-WRT firmware. DD-WRT firmware boosts the functionality of routers in many important ways, including VPN integration and WiFi HotSpot capabilities. And fitting with the theme of the post, this replacement firmware also enables you to monitor your bandwidth usage.
If you are looking for a place to find these devices, FlashRouters has many DD-WRT routers that fit this purpose. Some of our most popular routers that can be easily used for bandwidth monitoring with DD-WRT include the high-powered 800 MHz processor-equipped Asus RT-AC68U and the high-selling economy Dual Band Netgear WNDR4000.
How to Monitor Monthly Bandwidth with DD-WRT
Once you’ve got your DD-WRT router connected as your network gateway, you can access the active DD-WRT bandwidth monitoring options by:
- Browse to the DD-WRT’s GUI (Graphic User Interface) by entering your router IP address in any browser (i.e. 192.168.1.1)
- Log in with your router administration credentials. By default, DD-WRT uses username: root & password: admin. If you have a FlashRouter, the altered password will be included in your setup guide.
- Click Status tab → WAN.
Here you will find a day by day and monthly total of traffic like so.
Struggling with some sluggishness in your network? You may want to check on the amount of capacity individual users are using.
Click Status tab → LAN an active client list will appear.
If someone is being a network hog or you see a device you are unfamiliar with, just click the Trash can icon next to the user to remove his WiFi network lease. A WiFi network lease is the amount of time required between a user or device having to reenter credentials. This prevents the assignment pool of the router from being overloaded by giving connections perpetually to your friend’s kids or your visiting relatives.
How to Monitor Individual Network Segments with DD-WRT
For more in-depth Internet speed logging, visit the Status tab → Bandwidth tab. You have now arrived in the powerful live Bandwidth monitoring section in DD-WRT, but here’s a little insight to this basics of what it all means.
Under Bandwidth, there will be some instantly visible real-time graphs corresponding to the different Internet sharing segments of your router from the wireless antennas to the wired ports you should see a real time view including “WAN (vlan1)”, “WL (eth1)”, “br0”, “eth0”, and “vlan0”.
Each of these tabs is telling you something about one kind of traffic coming in or going out of your router.
If your router is hardwired to your modem and you want to know what traffic is like on the WAN/Broadband connection, “WAN (vlan1)” is the segment to watch. For Wi-Fi traffic with the “WL (eth1)” tab, which is particularly useful if you suspect you’re not the only one using your WiFi network when you should be. If you have a dual band router, you might see another WL.
“br0” is essentially a connection between the WAN and LAN ports and therefore shows you the total transfer speeds over the router. “etho” covers all of the local ports and the WAN port with the internet traffic. Lastly, “vlan0” offers a look at the hardwired ports, Internet traffic, and internal traffic, allowing you to get a good sense of what’s going on from within and without of your router’s network.
Depending on your router, these names might vary slightly but as you can see the amount of segments you can monitor right out of the box is very impressive. Between live bandwidth monitoring, user connection info and management, and daily and monthly upload and download traffic, you can catch just a glimpse of what DD-WRT adds.
Additional Benefits & Advantages of DD-WRT Firmware
Need more reason to get a DD-WRT router? Here are a few other popular features upgraded, enhanced or only available with DD-WRT open-source firmware.
- Advanced Access Restrictions – Site Blocking, User Blocking/Limitations, Time-Based restrictions
Ready to take control of your network back? Make sure to visit the ever-popular Best DD-WRT Routers List to find a truly secure and powerful network centerpiece for you and your network monitoring desires.
Like this post? Want to see more information about open source router firmware and advanced networking options?
Leave a comment below or tweet us what you want to see us cover next.