Broadband News

Thinkbroadband launches bandwidth meter

Today we are launching our bandwidth meter that you can download and use for free. tbbMeter is designed to monitor your computer's network connections and graph your download and upload traffic.

tbbMeter is available for Windows XP and Vista and can be downloaded from
www.thinkbroadband.com/tbbmeter.html

As well as monitoring your network connections, tbbMeter will record the statistics on your usage and allow you to view them in a variety of formats e.g. daily, weekly and monthly figures. One very useful feature that with the rise of fair use policies and usage limits is the ability to create alarms that will sound if your usage exceeds a level you have set. To get people started the software ships with a set of alarms for the largest broadband providers, which can be used as templates for your own custom alarms. We will in time host alarm configuration files for all providers if they or their users are interested in helping us to build them.

By allowing you to monitor your usage, you can see how much you use your broadband connection and make better decisions about the right type of broadband package for you. The application also uploads the usage data to our servers so we can build a broader picture of Broadband Britain and help guide the discussion on next generation networks. We don't monitor what you do on the Internet (e.g. which websites you visit).

In the near future, we'll be launching an accompanying website which allows you to go back and look at your longer term statistics in more detail including monitoring multiple household computers which have tbbMeter installed.

tbbMeter works with most connections including dial-up, mobile broadband, ADSL or 100Meg fibre link and comes with the Isposure testing module which will profile the performance of your broadband connection by looking at how well various protocols work. We'll be able to provide your personal results on our website in due course.

As always there is our community where you can ask questions about the software and if you have ideas for future additions to tbbMeter we welcome your input.

Comments

Do you have any plans for using SNMP?

  • AndrueC
  • over 8 years ago

I've been using a great little application almost identical to this for years. It's called BitMeter 2 from Codebox Software. I don't see that the tbbMeter offers me anything extra I really want. Here's the link:
http://codebox.no-ip.net/controller?page=bitmeter2

  • sparky_132
  • over 8 years ago

It would be nice if tbbMeter could distinguish between local traffic and Internet traffic.

  • Pigmaster
  • over 8 years ago

I use netmeter from:
http://www.metal-machine.de/readerror/
this has good features like..
- can be set to 'always on top'
- can be set to various 'transpaency' levels
- any color can be used for many parts of the display.
- can be set to 'click through' so it does not get in the way of the page.

If you can add these, that would be great... :)

but I would be interested id TBB can add

  • comnut
  • over 8 years ago

aggh, why no edit.. :( :(

  • comnut
  • over 8 years ago

Bit ugly :) You could have used some nicer shades of colours. Check out crystal internet meter if you want a nice looking one.

http://static.rbytes.net/full_screenshots/c/r/crystal-internet-meter.jpg

  • doowles
  • over 8 years ago

App as always on top, and transparency all under visual styles menu, or can be set in Options...

Bug and feature suggestions are best done via the bbs or email to [email protected] as its easier to track, and others to comment on them.

  • andrew
  • thinkbroadband staff
  • over 8 years ago

Not being a person who has to worry about silly caps and limits this wont be much use to me. HOWEVER from reading it sounds like a very useful application for those that have a monthly cap and from the description seems to have been well programmed and thought out... I particularly think quote"To get people started the software ships with a set of alarms for the largest broadband providers, which can be used as templates for your own custom alarms." Sounds like a very nice feature, all practically set up for you already, cant ask for more than that. Well done to the TBB team again :)

  • CARPETBURN
  • over 8 years ago

Carpetburn, I find it is very good for a quick speedtest with actual files. There are both the on screen bandwidth display and also there are the stats over different time periods.
The one thing I have asked the team for is the ability to set the quota limit to unlimited (for those accounts like our UKO ones).

I have certaiinly found it more reliable than some of the other freebie monitors I have tried - and since it comes from TBB I have more faith in the product too.

  • scarymonkey
  • over 8 years ago

@AndrueC - yes we have plans for SNMP but we wanted to get some people to use this first.. We have quite a long list of ideas to add.. the reason we didn't do SNMP yet is because whilst that's supported in higher end routers, a lot of lower end ones don't have it so it's more an advanced feature..

We also have a way to distinguish local vs internet traffic in theory but doing it in practice without affecting performance is something we need to look at.. Also we don't want to snoop on what users are doing which might raise privacy issues.

  • seb
  • thinkbroadband staff
  • over 8 years ago

Can the uploading of data be stopped?

  • drteeth
  • over 8 years ago

Click-through would be good. That's my only problem at the moment, using 79% transparency and always on top.

  • uniquename
  • over 8 years ago

"comes with the Isposure testing module"

That's the Epitiro one, right?

In which case, and given Seb's already commented re privacy issues: where is the formal tbbMeter privacy policy? The Isposure one is findable via http://www.isposure.co.nz/faq.htm

My antique DSL604 router did SNMP, as does my marginally newer V2100. They're not really high end, but combined with PRTG or MRTG/RRDTOOL and monitoring becomes trivially simple. The V2100 can even log DSL line stuff like SNR margin.

  • c_j_
  • over 8 years ago

It is embedded in the installer, a button on the About Box displays it, and also it is online at

http://www.thinkbroadband.com/tbbmeter/license.html

Privacy is covered in point 11.

  • andrew
  • thinkbroadband staff
  • over 8 years ago


How true a reflection do you think the users here who will run this application provide ? Joe Public won't be running this so I wonder how you will extrapolate the results.

For me, this doesn't provide anything until you go with SNMP. I have a mixture of Apple Mac's, Apple TV, Xbox 360, Linux, iPhone and very occasionally a Vista machine on my home network. 99% of my traffic would not be captured so I would question any data you get and try to analyse.

  • alanscoachdriver
  • over 8 years ago

"99% of my traffic would not be captured so I would question any data you get and try to analyse"

But you asre typical of 1% of users.

  • uniquename
  • over 8 years ago

But you are ....

  • uniquename
  • over 8 years ago

If we waiting till we could do a 100% monitor of all devices from USB to ADSL to cable to mobile broadband and every device permutation in between we would have to still being on the drawing board.

Changes and improvements will take place.

  • andrew
  • thinkbroadband staff
  • over 8 years ago

People are expecting to much right from the start IMO. AFAIK this is the first release of the app so of course its not going to be 100% perfect, it has all the right foundations though and im sure it will be continually developed. Maybe giving the source code to selected members here could help development at an even more rapid pace? Either way IMO its a great start.

  • CARPETBURN
  • over 8 years ago

If you release source code to other people, the code walk throughs to ensure no potential nasty code has been added would negate the advantage. Not to mention the afternoons spent resolving source version issues

  • andrew
  • thinkbroadband staff
  • over 8 years ago

yes, open source would be good - then someone could work out how to NOT use .net framework 2 SP1, another 23Mb download.... this means more than 30Mb just for a monitor! ( if it does not need this, the install text needs to be changed to indicate this.. you'll get a lot more users..)

thats what the setup says.... :(:( for something of very limited scope as this, I just wont use it... a good speedtester does not need extras!!

netmeter is less than 1 meg download, but I would still use it if it was 10Meg - it does not need extras, that only 10% of which are used!

  • comnut
  • over 8 years ago

@uniquename - BitMeter 2 has click through.

  • sparky_132
  • over 8 years ago

The Isposure agent works within our privacy policy when installed as part of tbbMeter which is in the license agreement. We might write a more plain english faq item on this but in simple terms "do no evil" would be the motto :)

  • seb
  • thinkbroadband staff
  • over 8 years ago

Yes, now it's even easier to find that there's, say, a mysterious and exact 50% difference between what you record and what your ISP records as yoru bandwidth usage.

The ISP in question knows I'm talking about them. (Hi! Curl up and die).

  • Dawn_Falcon
  • over 8 years ago

Great idea; however, shame it's ugly & also taps up my CPU (C2D @ 3Ghz) for a fair few cycles whilst it's running.

Thanks, though : )

  • jellyheaduk
  • over 8 years ago

@ CARPETBURN: granted, it is a first release; however, it's no like this sort of thing hasn't been done before. Being brutally honest - don't expect me to cheer if someone was to release a ‘not quite round’ wheel today.

  • jellyheaduk
  • over 8 years ago

^^^ You are being unfair, sure a bandwidth meter may have been done before that doesnt mean anyone else that creates one will do it perfect the first time.
The internet browser is as old as time itself, yet even google chrome still has bugs etc to iron out... Google is a multi million pound company the thinkbroadband team are without being rude a few everyday joes who probably discuss what to do next over a pint... To expect them to have a perfect app first release is asking too much.

  • CARPETBURN
  • over 8 years ago

Perhaps.

I do appreciate what the tool achieves (and I appreciate the effort, especially so given that it's free). That said it doesn’t detract from the fact that, at the heart of it, it’s a tool for measuring bandwidth. At the very least it needs a prettier face – which I’m sure will be forthcoming.

BTW, the internet browser hasn’t been around for quite as long as you suggest ; ) : P

  • jellyheaduk
  • over 8 years ago

quote"BTW, the internet browser hasn’t been around for quite as long as you suggest ; ) : P"

Well maybe the term "old as time itself" was a bit extreme, but it has certainly been around longer than bandwidth monitors yet big companies rarely get them right on the first attempt. Any application always needs or can be developed more... Look at windows for the very best example.

  • CARPETBURN
  • over 8 years ago

Are there any plans for the meter to run on a Mac?

  • BillShacklock
  • over 8 years ago

yep, if you have a mac version i am up for that! will pass the link to all my pc friends, great work at tbb
thanks

  • cyberdoyle
  • over 8 years ago

There are plans for a Mac version, we want to get the PC and server side up and fully running.

Then we can do a Mac version.

  • andrew
  • thinkbroadband staff
  • over 8 years ago

Yes, I second that, please give us a Mac version.

  • macbits2000
  • over 8 years ago

Nice to see the Mac community aren't being forgotten! Thanks.

  • nstrudwick
  • over 8 years ago

Re what Andrew said about releasing source code and co-operative working:

I understand where you're coming from, but the entire Linux/GPL community works VERY well on just such a basis. Building trust within a small(ish) community of co-operative coders doesn’t take so long and, once trust is established, the productivity gains are incredible - not to mention the cost benefits! We can always be sceptical about 'new' approaches, but we shouldn't let that scepticism blind us to the advantages.

  • nige1h
  • over 8 years ago

I just want to add my voice to those who welcome any software developer who doesn't overlook the sizeable Mac community of users out there.

But, what about the Linux users, as well? ;-)

  • nige1h
  • over 8 years ago

I see one of the templates is for Virgin Media, how is this possible? One of the biggest grumbles I had with Virgin Media ADSL which caused frequent capping (and I wasn't alone) was due to VM not working to a fixed throughput limit before capping. They worked to top 10% of their users which meant you never knew when you were close to the limit as it changed constantly. They couldn't tell you what the limit was in advance as they didn't know themselves. It was one of my main reasons for leaving them. So how come this meter knows?

  • Canopus
  • over 8 years ago

The Virgin Media templates are for the M/L/XL cable broadband products.

  • andrew
  • thinkbroadband staff
  • over 8 years ago

I have to agree with Carpetburn on this occasion. The other point is that earlier bandwidth meters were incompatible with Vista. NetMeter, was excellent with XP but useless with the newer system. I'm happy to try the TTB offering and will be equally happy to provide feedback.

  • wlchubb
  • over 8 years ago

Gawd . . . here we go: this new-fangled software wants some other 'version' 'software thinggy' to do with ".NET" to enable [it] to run. At present this software will not run on this machine in XP; Firefox; SeaMonkey or IE7. As my machine is running perfectly at the mo, you can stuff it where the sun never shines.
Byzee, bye.
Habchjf3

  • Habchjf3
  • over 8 years ago

Q Can I install tbbMeter on my Apple?
A tbbMeter is currently only available for Windows XP and Windows Vista. We may consider a future version for Apple computers if there is demand for it.

There is a demand for it! C

  • ccohen
  • over 8 years ago

Habchjf3: as I said above, it needs 23M .NET download...
Get netmeter from:
http://www.metal-machine.de/readerror/
less than 1M, doesnt need anything else!!

  • comnut
  • over 8 years ago

If users are concerned about differenciating between network traffic and internet traffic, I'll assume they have an ethernet router (rather than a USB DSL modem). Does the util get stats direct from the router? Can it screen srape from the status page? This would also remove the need to have it installed on any other PC connected to the network.

However, if you're using a USB Modem, network traffic won't come into it, it's on its own adapter.

Note: Transfer stats are also available by adding columns to the Networking tab in Task Manager :)

  • hrf
  • over 8 years ago

This looks like it might be a useful application, but I can foresee some problems with it even before I install it.

My broadband connection is used by two PCs, and I use two accounts on each PC,

My ISP's traffic limits apply to the sum of all four account/PC combos, but this application will presumably give me four separate totals, and will only give me a warning if ONE of them in isolation passes the alarm level that I have set.

If you are recording statistics on my usage, could you give me an alarm only when my _total_ usage (the sum of all four combos) exceeds some limit?

-Les.

  • lweston
  • over 8 years ago

The aggregation side of things is underway, but will take a while to do, as need to happy with the client side and happy that we are displaying sensible data in a useful way on the server side.

Alerts back from our central server to each client is on the list.

  • andrew
  • thinkbroadband staff
  • over 8 years ago

Those moaning it needs .NET framework i can only assume dont use their PC seriously, there are loads of really usefull small apps out there which use the .NET framework (2 small video relating apps i have installed just of the top of my head) My god some games even need the .NET framework..... Some of you must be living in caveman times.

  • CARPETBURN
  • over 8 years ago

Dear TBB,

Could YOU please recommend the BEST place to download .NET framework? I have installed the meter but it will not run.

Carpetburn,

Your comments are patronising and unhelpful. I do not live in 'caveman times', but I do not 'play games' on my PC or have knowledge of .NET framework. It is current and fully updated with everything I need. But I do not have intimate knowledge of every technicality of its hardware or software.

Be patient with those who have a less than 'anorak' knowledge of their PC and software - please.

  • ashleybones
  • over 8 years ago

I wasnt be patronising the .NET framework is required for loads of stuff nowadays and is required before some games will install (one of the pro evo games, i think its 6 or 7 needs it just off the top of my head)

As to where to get the .NET framework, its a MS product which if you run windows update should detect its missing from your system and give you the option to download and install it.... If it doesnt go here....
http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/results.aspx?pocId=&freetext=.net&DisplayLang=en
I hope a direct link and help you dont see as patronising.

  • CARPETBURN
  • over 8 years ago

Hello Carpetburn,

It came across as very patronising.

I would consider myself as reasonably IT literate and work daily with complex IT systems. My home PC is just over a year old and I ensure that all software is up to date and the OS is fully updated using the Windows automatic update. I seldom have problems running or viewing anything I use.

But, because I don't spend my time delving into the finer points of all aspects of the installed and/or available software I don't believe that means I'm 'living in caveman times'.

Cont’d…

  • ashleybones
  • over 8 years ago

I never play games (I have better and more important things to do but I would not criticise or judge those who do) and so would have no use for any software or apps that are required for same. I carry out what most would describe as a wider than average range of tasks on my PC. Others often ask me for advice in relation to software, hardware and PC usage issues.

I have never encountered .NET framework before although I have heard of it. Clearly, for whatever reason, I have never needed it.

Cont’d…

  • ashleybones
  • over 8 years ago

When I went to the link given by COMNUT I was not happy to download from there as I had/have no knowledge of that site and prefer to download from a trusted or bona fide site.

I have read your postings on this thread and they are credible and helpful but do sometimes be-little other peoples' position. (E.G. You state "Not being a person who has to worry about silly caps and limits..."). I have a monthly broadband limit, which is more than adequate for my monthly usage. It is therefore, by definition, not 'silly' as it reduces my costs.

Cont’d…

  • ashleybones
  • over 8 years ago

Your last post (above) is very helpful and I will check the link you list and download the software.

We are not all as knowledgeable as each other and I am sure there are things that you have a less than comprehensive knowledge about.

Thanks for your reply and for the link

  • ashleybones
  • over 8 years ago

ashleybones: ??? sorry, but that was CARPETBURN, about the 8th post... and yes, he is a BIT too proud of his ISP....

  • comnut
  • over 8 years ago

I was looking for a good meter a while back, and that was about the only vaguely good one there!!

as for caps, etc, I blame the sheer greed of people wanting a lot for next to nothing... and then the mindless salesmen 'stoking up' that greed...

a 'shared resource' CANNOT give 100% to 100% of people...
simple example - when your flatmate is having a shower, you can then turn the kitchen hotwater on full blast, and hear the shriek as he gets frozen!! :D
If someone uses almost all the resources, that is why the rest see only 1% of them..

  • comnut
  • over 8 years ago

I have been running TBB meter for a while now, but the latest version has just lost ALL my history. Is there any way that I can get the history back?

  • mbdave
  • over 7 years ago

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