Best Free Home Network Traffic Monitoring Solutions (2019) (2023)

Our home network is getting bigger every year. Almost all devices these days require an internet connection. But how do you keep track of everything as you expand your home network? More importantly, how do you detect problems in your network? what device is ituse the entire band? In this article, I will help you install a free network monitoring tool and explain how to do itMonitor your home network traffic for free

We will be using the free version of PRTG to monitor our network. this is one of themThe best network monitoring toolsThe free version is great for home use. I will help you set up your network monitoring softwareStep by stepAbout home networking and explains how to monitor your home network traffic.

Once done, you can see how much data each device is using over a period of time. If you have any questions, leave a comment below. If you liked this article, please share it on your social networks, I will be very grateful!

Install PRTG for home for free

For monitoring our home network we will usePRTG. This monitoring tool is one of the most popular network monitoring software for businesses, but it also has a free version. The free version has the same features as the paid plan, but is limited to 100 sensors. 100 sensors are enough to monitor traffic in a home network.

We need to install the software on your computer, which runs 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This is required to get all the details from the web and notify you if something goes wrong. While PRTG collects all data, you can use your computer as usual. Just remember not to turn it off.

Step 1 - Install PRTG

So let's start with the downloadFreeFrom PRTG. Just click "Download Free Trial" or "Free Software" (both are the same) to get started. Installing the software on your computer is easy. Just run the installer and once it's finished, PRTG will open in your default browser.

Step 2 - Configure PRTG

Once the installation is complete, your default browser will open displaying the PRTG login screen. The default username and password isprtgadmin.You can always open PRTG with:http://localhoston the computer where you want to install it.

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Change default PRTG port (optional)

By default, PRTG will run on HTTP port 80 and HTTPS port 433. Please note that this may conflict with other software running on your computer. You can change the port number in the PRTG administration tool:

  • go to start
  • Find the PRTG management tool
  • Go to the web server tab
  • Select an expert configuration
  • Use SSL
  • And set the port number (I'm using port 6100 here)

After saving the settings, you can open PRTG with: on https://:6100

change the default password

The first thing we need to do is change the password:

  • Go to settings
  • select my account
  • Change your password in the "User Accounts" tab (select "Set a new password")

Set default device credentials (optional)

For most people, this has nothing to do with the home network environment. Save time by only setting credentials in top-level groups when you have multiple network devices or use a Windows domain.

If you want to set default credentials, go back toelectric deviceear. Here you will see a list of all detected devices. PRTG will automatically start Autodiscover to scan your local network for devices. We'll discuss it later.

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we choose it nowlocal detectionand clickorganize something.We will configure the default credentials for our network. This is only useful if you have multiple devices with the same SNMP v3 credentials or if you are using a Windows domain at home.

If you scroll down the Discovery Settings page, you will see credentials options for different protocols. Everything is set to "inherit from root", disable it to change credentials.

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You can do this for all relevant protocols and Windows systems (if they are all part of a domain).

Step 3 - Clean

Before we start adding devices to PRTG, we need to clear the device list first. By default, PRTG will start with smart settings. It does auto-discovery over your local network and creates some default groups, which is useful now because you don't have to add all the devices yourself. But the problem is that you don't have a good starting structure and a lot of empty groups.

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To remove all devices, right-clicknetwork discoverygroup and clickremove

Step 4 - Create a new structure

We don't need a very large structure to monitor a home network. Our network can be divided into groups:

  • infrastructure
  • Clients (mostly computers)
  • Household appliances (TVs, printers, photovoltaic inverters)
  • smart device.

Right click on local probe to add file aNew teamunder it. After creating the group, the device tree will look like this:

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Add all devices

Now we can proceed to monitoring devices on the network. The easiest way is to create a new oneauto detection groupNamed "Temperature". To create this group, you need to know your local IP address range. If you don't know it, you can find it

  • basically
  • typOrder management systemthen press Enter
  • Enter the following command:ip configuration

The result will look like this:

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So the IP address range is 192.168.1 and the IP address of the router is (we will need this later). Now create a temporary Autodiscover group. set it upTeam nameIn Temp and scroll down toIPv4 basics.Enter the IP address range of your local network here, in my case:192.168.1.Leave everything else as default and click OK

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This will take a few minutes, and this is a good time to grab a cup of coffee before proceeding.

After 5 minutes, PRTG scans for all devices it can find on your network. Now it's time to move the device to its group. You will recognize some devices by their name, but others may only show the IP address. Start with the hardware you know, then we'll take care of the rest.

To move a device in PRTG to a different group, just right-click on the device and selectcarry>to another group.When you move devices to groups, it's a good idea to rename them so you can easily identify them in the future. Just click on the name of the device and go to the settings tab. Change device name (and icon if necessary)

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Solve unknown devices

After moving known devices to appropriate groups, such as computers or homes (smart hubs), we are left with some IP addresses. Earlier, we checked the range of IP addresses and in the output we also noticed the address of the gateway, i.e. our router. In my case it was, so we can move devices with this address to the Network Infrastructure group.

To make it easier to find other devices, you can useAdvanced IP Scanner. Install the program and click the Green Play Scan button to start scanning your network. This will return a list of all active network devices.

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The beauty of this tool is that it also shows the manufacturer. We already know that the device at is my Tado smart thermostat, and the device at is the access point. But after using this tool, we still have some unknown devices, which could be your smartphone (connected to the router, it can show connected Wi-Fi clients) or Smart TV (check network settings on TV to find its IP address)

You can also try navigating in the browser to the IP address, some network devices can be managed over the network (such as routers or switches). Browse the list by sorting each device on your network. Also remember to turn on all network-related devices (game consoles, TVs, laptops/tablets) during the scan.

scanning device

Since we were using an auto-discovery group, PRTG has already found several available sensors. However, if we want the data from our computer to monitor the bandwidth used, for example, we need to enter the device credentials.

Select your device and go to the Settings tab. scroll down toCertificateFor Windows (or Mac) and enter the information. Just enter the name of the computer and log in with an administrator account. This will allow PRTG to scan the device. When finished, click Save. Right-click on the device name in the upper left corner and selectautomatic detection>run auto-detect. PRTG will rescan the device with the new credentials.

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When you're done, you'll have more computer sensors. In the list you will find the network card, you can identify it by the name (Intel...Wireless..) and on the right it says Total *** Kbit/s. You may have a different NIC, but you can still find yours by looking for the Kbit/s sensor in the "Graph" column.

Creating network diagrams using PRTG

Now that we have all the sensors in our home network, we can start by creating a map of the network. The network map will help you identify problems and monitor the network traffic on your network.

Clickmapin the top navigation bar andadd map(Blue tab on the right). Set the width of the map to 1700 and the height to 750. This allows you to view the full map on a Full HD screen without having to scroll.

On the left you will find devices that we have added to PRTG in the structure we created. On the right side you will find various icons. Adding a device to the map is as simple as selecting a sensor, device or group on the left. It will be highlighted in blue, find the icon, chart or table on the right and drag it onto the map. You can always change the icon by dragging a new icon onto it.

I useddefault A iconAvailable on all devices in the map above. The Internet cloud is located atdefault B icon(These are non-sensor icons.) the chart is2 days (small print)chart. You can connect devices by dragging the blue line to another icon.

cleaning the sensor

If you want to use a diagram like I did with a network diagram, you may need to clear the network sensor. For example, in my laptop, there are more than 15 lanes on the network card sensor. Everything is displayed on a graph, which makes it difficult to read. We only need input and output channels. To clear the graph, click Network Card Sensors > click the gear icon behind the channel and selectHide on chart.Do this for all channels except input and output channels.

Displays incoming and outgoing flows as positive and negative numbers

Regular PRTG graphs combine inlet and outlet flows, making them difficult to read. The only thing you can do is to change this behavior so that outgoing traffic is shown as a negative area on the chart. Go to network card settings and scroll down tosensor screen.Change the chart type to "Show Inflows and Outflows as Positive and Negative Area Plots".

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How to check each computer's bandwidth usage

If you use PRTG, you can use it to check the bandwidth usage of each computer. Because we monitor every device, we can get a good idea of ​​who is using the most bandwidth on our network. PRTG has some limitations, you can read how much bandwidth your access point is using, but it's a bit more difficult with any Wi-Fi (mobile) device. you can installProbe mobile PRTGon any mobile device, but an easier solution is to use a Unifi access point.

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Suppose you want to know how much bandwidth your computer used last weekend. We need to get historical data from the computer to see how much bandwidth is being used. You can do it:

  • Select a device from the list of devices
  • Select a network sensor
  • Click the Historical tab
  • Set a date range (or use quick range)
  • click start

A new results page will open. Below the graph you will see a table where we are looking for flow and sum of flows (and possibly total flow)

I have a fresh install of PRTG to write this guide so haven't used much data yet. But you can see the amount of data I used here. By default, the result is given in Kbit/s, you can change it by going to the network card sensor settings. scroll to the end and changeChannel module configurationMeasured in megabytes and megabits. This will make reading easier.

Monitor network traffic

An important part of monitoring is setting up alerts. You don't want to look at network diagrams every hour to see if everything is working. PRTG will send you a notification in case of device failure, but you also need to set some limits. For example, notify me when computer X uses 50 Gb of data.

Configure notification delivery

Before sending notifications, we must first configure the mail service in PRTG. By default, it will use its own built-in mail system, but this doesn't work well on a local network. So we will use an SMTP server. I'm going to use Gmail's SMTP server, but you can also use your provider's server.

To configure the sending of notifications, you need to accessOrdinance>System management>delivery notification. Fill in the following information:

Delivery Mechanism:Use an SMTP relay server
Sender Email:Your e-mail address
Helicopter ID:something.tld (It does not matter
SMTP relay
SMTP relay port:Chapter 587
SMTP Relay Authentication:Use standard SMTP authentication
SMTP relay users:Your Gmail address
SMTP relay code:Your Gmail password
Encryption:Transport layer security protocol 1.2

To use Gmail, you need to change the setting in your Google Account to allow other applications to send mail. Set asAllow less secure appsYou can find below

To try notifications, you need to visit the siteOrdinance>My account. then select a bookmarknotification template. Clickedit iconthen clickbell iconTest Notification:

create a reminder

You can create all kinds of alerts, but we want to monitor our network traffic. So we will set up an alert when the computer uses more than 50 Gb of data in a month.

  • Select your computer's network card sensor
  • Clicknotification trigger
  • Clickblue plus signon the right and selectAdd bulk activation

Create a rule with the following conditions:

no wayAllthe channel has arrived50 GBEveryonemoonto fulfillEmail and push notifications to administrators

You can create more rules like this, such as sending an alert when your computer reaches 40 GB of data.

To sum up

With PRTG, you can monitor your home network very easily. It will not only show how much bandwidth your device has used, but also how much space is left on your hard drive (in case of device failure or other network issue).



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