Simple Bandwidth Monitoring

This week I wanted to give you some really simple tools for monitoring your machine's bandwidth usage.  I'll be including a few really great tools you can run directly from the terminal (CLI) and this means you can run them remotely via SSH without the concern of overhead of a GUI.

We'll be covering NLoad, CBM (Color Bandwidth Monitor), IFTop (Interface Top), and BMon (Bandwidth Monitor).  I'll also be using the Terminator terminal interface as I allows for splitting the interface into sections both horizontally and vertically.


As always, I'm running on a Ubuntu / Debian based system, but you can install these tools on any Linux distro.  If you are running CentOS, RedHat, or Fedora, just change out apt in my command below for yum or dnf, and if youa re running Arch, then use pacmann.  

To install these tools we can do it all in one command with

sudo apt install terminator nload cbm iftop bmon -y

These all install very quickly, so it shouldn't take long at all.

Now, open up your Terminator window, and right click.  You'll see an option to split verically, as well as the option to split horizontally.  You can split the window as many times as you want, and start running the tools we just downloaded and installed.


NLoad is a really great tool, and provides printed information about each interface, as well as a representation of in and outbound bandwidth right int he terminal.  

You can cycle through each interface by using the right and left, or up and down arrow keys on the keyboard.  

Just type nload into the CLI and watch it work as you cycle through the interfaces.

CBM (Color Bandwidth Monitor)

CBM gives very simple information about the bandwidth beind used on each interface in your system.  If you cycle through the list of interfaces using the up and down arrow keys, you can see a little more detail using hotkeys identified in the interface, as well as the IP address of each interface as you move to it in the list.

Simply type cbm into the CLI to see it work.

IFTop (interface Top)

Iftop is a really nice little tool that does exactly what it says.  It shows what the top interface is doing, and tells you where it's reaching out to as it does.  It provides a clean, minimal information view as different usage requests scroll up the screen.

Use the command

sudo iftop -i <interface name>

to see the traffic on any specified interface.  In my case, the interface of interest was eno1, so I used the command:

sudo iftop -i eno1

bmon (Bandwidth Monitor)

bmon is probably my favorite of these tools, though they are all useful in their own way.  bmon provides me the best overview of interface information, detail, and a semi-graphical view of bandwidth usage with an easy to scroll list of interfaces.  

Using the up and down arrow keys, I can quickly move through the interfaces, adn find those of interest to me.  I can then see Up and Down speeds, and a nice semi-graphical representation of my usage.  

Just use the command:


to start up this really clean, simple, and elegant tool.


You can utilize each one of these tools separately to glean a ton of information about your system bandwidth usage, or you can use them simultaneously with a great terminal emulator like terminator.  No matter how you do it, put these tools into your virtual toolbelt, and start knowing what your systems are doing on your network, and on the internet.