Monitoring the Network Bandwidth using Open Source tools

Hey there, today we are going to delve into a very interesting topic, which I think everybody should know about.

Before moving on to the main topic, let me explain a little bit about “What is Network BandWidth?”

What is Network Bandwidth?

Network Bandwidth is the maximum capacity of a wired or wireless communications link to send data via a network connection in a given length of time. The amount of bits, kilobits, megabits, or gigabits that can be sent in one second is commonly used to describe bandwidth.

Bandwidth is often confused with Internet Speed. But fortunately or unfortunately, they are not the same. 

A data connection’s bandwidth determines how much data it can send and receive at once. Talking about an analogy, we can consider a specific wired or wireless connection to be a pipe and the data as water flowing through the pipe. The maximum amount of data that can flow through the pipe in unit time(1 second), gives the BandWidth of the pipe. Similarly, the data connection is sending or receiving data through data pipelines. The amount of data that it can communicate in one second is the Bandwidth allocation to that connection/data pipeline.
For example, in houses, we talk about Wi-Fi. When we buy a connection from any Internet Service Provider, they give us some options similar to, 10mbps, 20mbps, 30mbps, etc. What is that? Is it the Internet Speed? No, it is simply the BandWidth that the ISP is assigning to the data pipeline being set up in your home. If you are choosing 20mbps for instance, the total amount of data transferred through the pipeline per second will be 30Mb.

Network Bandwidth Monitoring

Lots of processes are going on during connection to the Internet through wired Ethernet or wireless connection. When we are browsing, the number of TCP or UDP requests shoots up like crazy. A simple google search may create a clutter in your network with flooded TCP requests.

In this scenario, monitoring TCP/IP or UDP requests becomes extremely important. Monitoring keeps you aware of any unknown pings to your system IP or from your system IP. This prevents unwanted latency or a probable malware attack. 
There are tools to monitor our Internet or Network connection. In earlier times, the tools available were very costly, thus common people could never afford them. With the advent of time, Open Source tools were developed which were free for use by the public. In this blog, we will be discussing one of the most well-known tools that are used by Network Security engineers all over the world. The name of the tool is “Wireshark”.

Wireshark

It is an open-source packet analyzer for network troubleshooting, teaching, analysis, software development, and communication protocol creation.

Wireshark helps to keep track of the packets and filter them to satisfy our unique requirements. Sniffers, network protocol analyzers, and network analyzers are some of the important terms. Network security engineers also utilize it to investigate security issues.

In networking, Wireshark is comparable to tcpdump. Tcpdump is a typical packet analyzer that allows the user to see other packets, such as TCP/IP packets, that are being sent and received via a network connection to the computer. It offers a graphical interface as well as sorting and filtering capabilities. Users using Wireshark can observe all of the traffic that passes via the network.

Wireshark also helps monitor the Unicast traffic transmitted to the network’s MAC address interface. The switch, however, does not send all of the traffic to the port.


You can download Wireshark here.

A screenshot of Wireshark capturing all Network packets on my home router