The products in this category are required to provide a graphical representation of the network traffic going in and out of you PC. NetWorx - After revisiting this software area again I finally decided to make NetWorx my Gizmo's Best pick.
The following products were brought to my attention but I didn't have the time to review them yet. The main purpose of this program is to monitor any traffic that is using a LAN adapter (this is your Ethernet or Token ring network card).
Simple Internet Meter Lite is a lightweight Windows application designed to help you keep an eye on our network bandwidth. As soon as you run the tool, you are offered step-by-step assistance in configuring network settings, and this proves to be pretty useful especially for rookies who can learn to set up the process with minimum effort. Advanced users may skip this step and configure the dedicated parameters directly from the primary pane. Simple Internet Meter Lite sports a clean and straightforward layout that gives users the possibility to monitor multiple adapters at the same time, start and stop the monitoring process, and repair network errors with just one click.
The tool offers quick access to four different panels which can be hidden or moved to any position of the screen.
These small windows provide details about the received and sent network packets in a graph, number of sent and received bytes per second, as well as information about the Internet and local traffic on a specified port range, and the programs and ports that are using the TCP server. Last but not least, you can make the program run at Windows startup, remain on top of other utilities, and enable the transparency feature. During our testing we have noticed that the tool carries out a task quickly and without errors throughout the entire process.
All things considered, Simple Internet Meter Lite offers an intuitive layout for helping you monitor bandwidth with ease. Users who want to know exactly how much bandwidth they use will definitely find BWMeter a very handy tool, as the application provides not only a detailed analysis of both the network and the Internet connection but also some other great features. Although it was initially designed to give you an overview over the network and Internet traffic, BWMeter offers you much more than that as it includes tools to control network access, graphs and even alerts and notifications. The application thus has tons of features, so it could be a bit difficult to get along with it if you're not an experienced user. BWMeter allows you to set up filters for either the local network or the Internet, configure speed limits and stop traffic or enable download and upload restrictions. What we liked the most however where the graphs generated by the app that can be updated at an user-defined interval and can be fully customized with a different position and size, various display units and fractional digits, but also with a new visual style. Otherwise, the amount of statistics provided by BWMeter is absolutely impressive, showing you valuable information either hourly, daily, weekly, monthly or yearly.
Since it's also capable of controlling app access to the network and Internet, the user will also have to set up separate rules for each application, so you also have the chance to block dangerous or suspicious processes.


All in all, BWMeter is an excellent application if you're planning to monitor bandwidth closely. The main reason is that Networx was very actively developed and improved over the last years while NetMeter's development did not exceed a Beta release dated August 2009.
The only 130KB large EXE file (no installation necessary) contains a lot of power and features.Upon start, FreeMeter reads the currently active network adapter and displays a small meter on your desktop. What it brings to the table in regards to features it lacks in regards to its graphical representation. It manages to remain light on the system resources, so it doesn’t hamper the overall performance of the computer. You can set data transfer quota limits and receive an alert when your limit was reached, watch a real-time network traffic graph and view long term reports with 3D charts.
Well, yes and no, because the interface has been designed to make the whole job a lot easier, so features are nicely organized in the main window.
Quite easy to use and packing enough features to satisfy the needs of most users, this software is indeed one of the best of its kind. Firstly, it seems that each tool has a slightly different understanding of how to compute the bandwidth used (in and out). Even though I still don't like the fact in NetWorx that you can't switch off the "All traffic" value in the graph, I am very fond of the system tray icon hat you configure to display a graph of your network traffic in real tme. First I have to remark that I found two versions of this tool (not on the original homepage thought which seems to have been replaced by an advertisement site). By grabbing the lower right corner of the window you can resize it - unfortunately only to a maximum size of about 600*450 pixel. The full blown graph displays Net-In and Net-Out but also (and always) the total traffic (called Data both). When NetMeter starts it stays on top of other windows awaiting your right mouse click in its window area.
Quality wise there were only two outstanding products that coincidently both worked under Vista as well.
I decided not to bother with the others I found since they were either behind the two here anyways or they failed to provide requirement number one, the graphical representation of the bandwidth. Other than that NetWorx has so many useful features besides the graph that is more than just a network metering tool.
You will notice that you have quite a load of features to choose from to make NetMeter measure what you want and present it to you as you want. However, you can create your own themes too by setting all individual colors separately and save your design. On the other hand, besides of the usual traffic statistics, it comes with some nice features like the built in web server that you can launch so you can view your bandwidth usage in your browser at localhost (see screenshot).


Besides of the window properties (stay on top, show caption, snap to edges, transparency, etc.) you can also influence background, colors fonts and grid to fit your taste. Also using the right mouse button brings you to many configuration options, equally spread over design and measurement settings. The usage statistics adds valuable information about your network usage (daily, weekly, monthly, custom). Typical options like "Start with Windows", "Start minimized" and such are in the boat as well. A nice feature I found was the volume bar at the right that will show you how much of your allowed bandwidth you have used already. You can start and stop a timer that enables you to view your usage during a certain period of time. If you want to be alarmed by BitMeter when you reach certain thresholds of your bandwidth usage, that can also be set up. The traffic that has been measured so far is presented to you broken down to daily, weekly and monthly statistics. NET Traffic Meter also offers statics about your usage and, just as NetMeter provides these values based on a daily, weekly and monthly period. This might be handy when you need to have an eye on that based on your internet provider contract. This is a very nice feature if you want to double-check against you Internet provider's bill. I am a visual person and very receptive for graphical design, which I find specifically important for metering tools. Nicely done is NetMeters projection of your estimated future usage based on the traffic you caused so far.
Thus, even though BitMeter offers some very useful features it cannot compete against NetMeter in my eyes.
FreeMeter is a great tool, but size matters and I would really like to see the resize limitations go away in the next release. The Settings dialog offers the most important settings for the graph and display and also provides the possibility to get notified when certain thrshholds are reached. If you like you can only select your Bluetooth device and just measure how much traffic you use for sending ring tones to your mobile phone.



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