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Windows Network Monitoring Tools

Posted on 2011-03-21
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Last Modified: 2012-05-11
Hello,

I'm a student trying to find some tools for a windows 7 machine that can measure the throughput of a wireless connection as it sends a fairly large file, say 3GB.

For example, I've found lots of tools like perfmon, iperf, etc that do pretty much what I'm looking for but from the CLI.  I put an executable on my windows 7 machine, put another copy on a second machine and then they exchange data and give me the output I'm after, specifically average, minimum, and maximum throughput (in Mbit/sec say).

I'd like to find something with similar capabilities that has a graphical interface which provides the additional functionality:

-throughput graphs over time
-ability to log output over long data exchanges

and as a bonus if it gave me the signal strength of my wireless connection over time as well that would be great.

Might anyone have some recommendations? Thanks so much!
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Question by:Zodan
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Expert Comment

by:Bill Bach
ID: 35189350
Wireshark is a GUI that can do exactly what you ask.  There is also a command-line equivilent, TShark.  Both are available from www.wireshark.org.

If you ALSO want to do wireless, then you'll want to get an AirPCap adapter, which can also grab all of the wireless network control packets.
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Expert Comment

by:Bill Bach
ID: 35189359
You'll also want to look at Pilot for easy graphing, reporting, and more:
    http://www.cacetech.com/products/cascade_pilot_personal_edition.html
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Author Comment

by:Zodan
ID: 35190113
Thanks very much for the reply.  I've played with wireshark a bit but I was unable to get it to show me throughput averages, maximums, and minimums. I've mostly seen wireshark used as a low level packet analysis tool.  It is possible to get the average rates of a connection and graph it? The closest I could get was the TCP throughput graph.

Pilot looks very nice but it is rather expensive? Anything cheaper/free for a student to use?
thanks again!
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Assisted Solution

by:Bill Bach
Bill Bach earned 200 total points
ID: 35191003
Depends on how old you want to go.  Novell had a product called LANalyzer which included Trend Graphs -- a simple graph of utilization or packets stored during the entire time that it was running, so you could use it to draw trend inferences.

Unfortunately, the last version, LANalyzer v2.2, was still a 16-bit application designed for Windows 3.1, and never ran very well on Windows 2000 or above.  Of course, this product has been discontinued, but you might find someone with an old copy willing to sell it to you, anbd you can repurpose an ancient computer to just sit and monitor the network links.

Otherwise, there are a number of other "for purchase" tools which may create the graphs you want.  One such tool may be:
    http://www.colasoft.com/etherlook/
Try a Google search for "Network analyzer trend graph" and you'll likely find a few more.  I am not aware of any FREE tools, though.
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Accepted Solution

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mcsween earned 300 total points
ID: 35192814
Microsoft Network Monitor - http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/en/details.aspx?FamilyID=983b941d-06cb-4658-b7f6-3088333d062f&displaylang=en

Mainly a packet capture device but I think you can get bandwidth reports from it.  It's been a while since I've used it so I can't remember

PRTG - http://www.paessler.com/prtg/

This runs as a service and is accessed through a web browser.  You can setup a sensor to monitor bandwidth via WMI or you can do packet captures for the NIC in question.  Many reports and graphs available.  You can run up to 10 sensors for free.
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Expert Comment

by:mcsween
ID: 35193022
BTW you CAN get this information from Wireshark very easily.

Start Wireshark
Capture, Interfaces
Click Start next to your wireless interface (or any you want to capture from) to start the live capture
When you have finished moving the files click Capture Stop
To get reports click Statistics, then either Summary or IO Graphs (in IO Graphs change the Y Axis Unit to Bytes/tick instead of Packets/Tick.
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Author Closing Comment

by:Zodan
ID: 35201688
Thank you both for the comments. All the tools were much better than what I had.  I ended up finding PRTG the most useful.
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