One of the things that we have noticed with reporting tools lately, including ntop (the reporting tool we integrate), is that there is no easy way to show instant bandwidth for a user. Most reporting tools smooth out usage over some time period, a 5 minute average is the norm.
For example, this popular Netflow Analyzer touts a 10 minute average, right from the FAQ on their main page it states:
“Real-time Bandwidth Reports for each WAN link
As soon as Netflow data is received, graphs are generated showing details on incoming and outgoing traffic on the link for the last 10 minutes.”
No where can we find a reasonable bandwitdh monitoring tool that will show you instant, as of this second, bandwidth utilization. We are sure somebody will e-mail us to dispute this claim, and if so, we will gladly publish their link and give them credit on our BLOG.
When is an Instant Bandwidth Reporting Tool useful?
1) The five minute average reporting tool is of little use when a customer calls and tells you they are not getting their expected bandwidth on a speed test or video. In these cases it is best to see the instant report while they are consuming the bandwidth, not averaged into a 10 minute aggregate.
2) If a customer has a fixed rate cap, and calls and reports that their VOIP is not working well. The easiest and quickest way is to check what their consumption is during a VOIP call is to see it now. You don’t need a fancy protocol analyzer to tell them they are sucking up their full 1 megabit allocation with their YouTube video specifically. You just need to know that their line is clear and that they are consuming the full megabit at this instant, thus exonerating you (the ISP or support person) from getting drawn down in the dregs of culpability.
Here are some links to other reporting tools.
Here is a snapshot of our screen that allows you take an Instant Bandwidth Snapshot, showing the last second of utilization for a individual IP, Pool, or VLAN on your network.