How to monitor the router and other devices connected to it

Started by James

I am currently using old free version of NetWorx 5.5.5. I like it enough that I am considering buying a License. But I have a couple of questions please.

On important aspect (for me) of this type of software if the ability to monitor Bandwidth Usage as my Internet Provider sees it (probably at the main router or the modem). My system consists of two desktop PCs, one with NetWorx installed. Both are ethernet-connected to a primary router which it then connected to a cable modem. I also have a second router connected to the primary router (via ethernet) which has a TV and some wireless devices running through it. The second router also has a VPN which passes through the main router. I assumed that if I can monitor the main router, I should be able to measure all external bandwidth. I did read about the hidden settings, SNTP, and so on. A monitor on the main router would be ideal (I think?). Which brings me to my questions:

1. Why, when I set and apply the router MAC (Gateway MAC Address setting accessible via the Networks button on the Main tab in NetWorx settings) it does not show up on the Main tab in the Monitored interfaces section?

2. Maybe I am going about this in a totally incorrect manner, or what I want is not possible? Or, perhaps the free version does not support this function? Have there been any major improvements in this regard with the paid version?

Note: Both routers are fairly high end, but I could not find anything about them supporting SNTP. Both are also capable of third party firmware, but I would like to avoid that if possible. I also have a fear about using UPnP due to alleged security concerns. I did try many tweaks and adjustments. Maybe it is working and I don't even know it? NetWorx does measure a significant amount of bandwidth, but with the computers at idle and the TV streaming a movie (Std Def) it shows virtually nothing. Maybe it is caching the stream?

Any suggestions or guesses would be appreciated.

Thank You!
James
SoftPerfect Support forum - Ann avatar image
Ann

Re: How to monitor the router and other devices connected to it   25 January 2022, 14:12

In your current setup where you have NetWorx installed on one of your desktop PCs, it is only monitoring bandwidth usage of that PC. The second PC and any other devices are not monitored. It is simply not possible to monitor all network devices from one PC. Selecting your router MAC address only restricts NetWorx to being active when you are connected to your home network. This feature is mainly for laptops that are carried around, when the user wants NetWorx to record their usage at home, but not in other locations. For a desktop PC it doesn't matter since it's always connected to the same network.

About monitoring all devices in a network: in your case it would be the primary router that sits between your network and the ISP. Every device in your network ultimately sends its data through that router, so only the primary router knows the total usage. There are a few ways of how it can be monitored:
  1. Some routers have a setting that enables recording their bandwidth usage on a daily basis. In this case you could simply see your usage in the router admin page. No other software is needed.
  2. Routers that don't have this setting can be flashed with custom third-party firmware to enable this functionality. This option is mainly for very advanced users as it may disrupt your connectivity or even cause a loss of warranty. Likewise, in this case no additional software like NetWorx is needed.
  3. Some routers don't record their bandwidth usage but can be polled by other software at any time. This is what NetWorx does: it can talk to a router via SNMP or UPnP. These two are common network protocols used for monitoring, so if your router supports it, NetWorx would be able to poll it every second and collect usage statistics. Unfortunately in this case NetWorx needs to be running 24/7 to poll the router continuously, otherwise bandwidth usage data would be lost.

All in all, I am afraid there is no easy solution. The simplest option would be (1) as you don't need to change anything. If you are comfortable with tinkering with the router, then option (2) may be good. For option (3) to work, the router must support SNMP or UPnP as otherwise NetWorx simply doesn't have a way to poll its bandwidth data.

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