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Monitor your data usage on Ubuntu easily using NTM 08/18/2010

Posted by muyiscoi in Uncategorized, Useful Software Reviews.
Tags: , , ,

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)

NTM main window

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)

NTM icon on the notification area

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.

Some features

  1. 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.
  2. Daily/Total Report Window

  3. 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.
  4. 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
  5. Notification bubble of Statistics

  6. 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



1. Twitted by muyiscoi - 08/18/2010

[…] This post was Twitted by muyiscoi […]

2. bigbrovar - 08/18/2010

Great Job Muyiwa. This would really come in handy for bandwidth management 🙂

muyiscoi - 08/18/2010

thanks. 😀

3. Wale - 08/18/2010

nice job. i also use a multilinks. this should come in real handy

muyiscoi - 08/18/2010

thanks. make sure you read d note at the end of the post so u will not be disconnected unnecessarily

4. misaac - 08/19/2010

Cool tutorial. thanks a lot.

muyiscoi - 08/19/2010

thanks alot. i hope this solved your issues about bandwidth monitoring

5. sugengpakes - 08/20/2010


6. oladele - 08/26/2010

I have not used it but idea alone makes me wild

muyiscoi - 08/28/2010

it seems for some reason, ur comments were deemed as spam. that has been corrected now. sorry bout that.

7. sunil - 11/02/2010


I couldn’t find anything else quite like it.

8. Gbenga Adesoba - 03/02/2011

Hey bro, all thumbs up for this NTM app. My system battery gets used up quickly, do you know how I can disable bluetooth at boot-up in Maverick Meerkat (Ubuntu 10.10)? Is there a way whereby I can use a projector on 10.10? Thanks in anticipation.

9. muyiscoi - 03/02/2011

hi Gbenga. You can disable bluetooth on startup by doing the following

1. Go to System > Preferences > Startup Applications

2. Click on “Add”

3. Under name, type whatever you like e.g. “Off Bluetooth”

4. Under command, type “rfkill block bluetooth” (without quotes)

5. Click on “Add”

That’s all. When next you reboot, bluetooth should be disabled by default. for more info, see http://ubuntu-ky.ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=1381674&page=3

As for projector, you can use a projector on ubuntu. If you have an Intel or ATI graphics card,

go to System > Preferences > Monitor to create settings for the projector.

If you use an Nvidia Card, and have installed the restricted drivers, go to
System > Administration > Nvidia X Server Settings
to setup the projector.

Hope this solves your issues. Let us know how it goes

10. Nick - 07/17/2012

I have been using NTM for some time successfully. I recently installed a new modem (K3772-Z) and since then NTM does not recognize the ppp0 interface. I have tried all the other interfaces, without success. Short of changing back to the old modem are there bany other solutions I can try?

Kind regards


11. harpreet bhatia (@thecodingbox) - 08/30/2012


by the way thank you

12. John Mitchell - 11/09/2013

When ppp0 & wlan0 don’t find your internet connection.
Try: eth0 works OK for my mifi routers.

13. senthil - 11/29/2014

great and super.I have tested.Multiple thanks to you.

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