Monitor your data usage on Ubuntu easily using NTM 08/18/2010Posted by muyiscoi in Uncategorized, Useful Software Reviews.
Tags: applications, bandwidth monitor, software reviews, tips
Most of us Nigerians connect to the Internet using USB broadband modems from GSM operators. Those modems only come with drivers and software for Windows and sometimes, Mac but never for Linux and by extension, our beloved Ubuntu. True to the Open Source culture, Network Manager has native support for most USB modems and even the correct configuration most of the time, nullifying the need for specific drivers.
So now, you can get online on Ubuntu using your USB modem. However, something that has been plaguing a lot of Ubuntu users is the ability to monitor their data usage, especially those on limited bandwidth.
Enter Network Traffic Monitor (NTM)
The blurb from their site: “NTM is a network traffic monitor for Linux (ubuntu, kubuntu, etc.). Characteristics: Integrate with Linux NetworkManager; Auto-disconnect when a threshold is reached; Day report; Console and Gui interface (gtk); No need root privilege;“
On installation of the Software, Launching it places the software’s icon on the notification area.(the green icon on the far left of the screenshot below)
Clicking on it displays the default interface. By default, it is set to monitor “ppp0″ which refers to the broadband modem which is fine by a lot of us. However, I connect to the Internet via WiFi and i couldn’t see any statistic initially. This was easily resolved in the preferences window by changing the interface to “wlan0″. Other useful settings can be found on the preferences window and i will highlight some of the more important ones below.
- The number one most useful feature in my opinion is the ability to show statistics of data usage over a period of time. This enables users to track how much of their allocated bandwidth (if any), they use during whatever interval they want. A report page is also generated which displays daily or total usage.
- The second most useful feature IMO is the ability to set the limit to the amount of bandwidth you have. so in that case, it shows you how much you have used, and how much is remaining. This can be seen in the first screenshot. This is especially useful for users with limited bandwidth. You can also set the time limit for your connection for people limited by hours.
- Another nifty feature is the ability to trade the normal interface for a notification bubble with all the info you need. this is useful if you just want a quick rundown of the statistics. Here is what you will get when you trigger it by clicking on the tray icon
- Finally, another useful feature which i saw from using this software for a short period of time is that it enables you to see just how fast your connection is and as you can all see from my screenshot, mine is pretty disappointing.
Now we have all seen how amazing and useful this software is, how can we install it on our computers?
It is a fairly new project and so it cannot be found on the official Ubuntu repositories (or a ppa since it is being developed on sourceforge). However, there are .deb packages available for it and they can be easily grabbed from here. After downloading (which should take like 1sec or less), install the package by simply double clicking on the downloaded file. Once this is done, NTM can be located from Applications > Internet > NTM on the main menu.
Once installed, NTM adds itself to the list of Startup applications. This ensures that it always runs whenever you put on your computer and statistics are taken once you get online.
So, there you have it. Try it out for yourselves and post your experiences in the comments below.
You can also head over to the official site for NTM and find out how you can do your part to improve on this awesome tool.
On installing NTM, the default Traffic limit is set at 100MB. This is way too low for a lot of us. However, if you do not change that setting, once you have used up to 100MB, you will be automatically disconnected (if you connected using networkmanager) and you will be disconnected whenever you reconnect until you change the setting. To curtail this inconvenience, make sure you set the correct bandwidth and time limit on NTM or disable “Auto disconnect” from Traffic tab on NTM preferences window.
This site is a community effort by the Ubuntu Linux user group in Nigeria. To find out how you can do your part to help, click on here