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What is the best way to monitor bandwidth usage in our network of 300 workstations?

Posted on 2007-10-16
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What is reasonable to expect with regard to a Service Level Agreement from my Internet Service Provider?  What would be the ideal way to monitor our bandwidth usage, in order to produce monthly reports with regard to usage?
I work in a remote community as the Network Administrator for a large school.  My predecessor currently works for the community and runs a business which delivers Internet service to the school.  There is not much "goodwill" currently in our relationship.  Our agreement currently consists of, we are required to pay 30% of the cost of two T1 lines that come into the community.  Internet is delivered via cable modems.


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Question by:Dwight Baer
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David Scott, MCSE earned 800 total points
ID: 20086920
so you want to know where the bandwidth is being used by who for what?  

i used websense enterprise for this purpose.  www.websense.com

or do you just want to see if you are getting the bandwidth you are paying for?

the best way to test this is plug directly into the cable modem and run a speed test.  try speakeasy.net  or your isp may have its own speedtest website they can direct you to.

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by:Dwight Baer
ID: 20087140
I know how to test what bandwidth I'm getting at any given moment from a particular workstation, but I haven't yet used speakeasy.net, I'll try it.

I'm currently on hold waiting to talk to a technician at Websense support.  Is it Websense Express that I'd likely be looking at, for (up to) 250 workstations?  This seems likely a very heavy-duty solution, requiring its own Windows Server 2003 server with 2 NIC cards, 85 GB of hard disk space and 2 GB of RAM.  I assume it would make my existing firewall (a Watchdog product) redundant.
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by:David Scott, MCSE
David Scott, MCSE earned 800 total points
ID: 20087227
i have a sonicwall and i just stop using the content filter service in the sonicwall and replaced it with websense.  there was a reporting software called  viewpoint but it didn't work for us so we got websense.  i have websense enterprise and i have 4 sites but only 50 computers.  I think express didn't have all the features we needed.  
 
there is a demo you can download

there are others out there:

www.8e6.com

panoptech IPrevision
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by:SysExpert
SysExpert earned 300 total points
ID: 20088012
If all you want is bandwidth monitoring, check out the Free MRTG package.

http://oss.oetiker.ch/mrtg/

I hope this helps !
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by:lrmoore
lrmoore earned 600 total points
ID: 20088855
>What would be the ideal way to monitor our bandwidth usage, in order to produce monthly reports with regard to usage?
I like NTOP for this. MRTG will tell you how much bandwidth you are using, NTOP will tell you exactly who is using how much and by what applications.
http://www.openxtra.co.uk/freestuff/ntop-xtra.php

For internet control like websense, I prefer the iPrism appliance:
http://iprism.stbernard.com
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by:Dwight Baer
ID: 20089042
Yes, all I want is bandwidth monitoring.

MRTG looks good, although the documentation seems all oriented towards a LInux/Unix environment.  I'm a Windows environment.

8e6.com looks good too, although I haven't seen prices yet.

I think all leave this issue open for a few more hours to see if anybody else has a different product to suggest.  Thanks in advance!
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by:lrmoore
lrmoore earned 600 total points
ID: 20089098
Check out PRTG for windows instead of MRTG
http://www.paessler.com/prtg
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by:Booda2us
Booda2us earned 300 total points
ID: 20091127
Hello dwightbaer04,
Here are 2 tools I use and highly recommend:
www.netflowanalyzer.com      Free bandwidth monitoring and reporting tool www.Paessler.com/bandwidth      PRTG Bandwidth Monitor. Freeware.
I hope this helps...Booda
I see lrmoore suggests traffic grapher as well...:)
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by:David Scott, MCSE
ID: 20093295
here is one more:

http://www.iprevision.net/
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