Monitoring and Tuning Network Traffic in Windows 8 with Netbalancer

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When I ran into my problem with Google Drive destroying my bandwidth, I wanted to see what was actually going on. How much bandwidth is each process or application using? What’s the total transfer rate? How many connections is each application generating? Enter Serious Bits Netbalancer. Netbalancer’s free version has all the monitoring tools you need. If you need to tune your connection and set some apps to have low priority or other rules, you only get to control three processes and create three rule sets. If you just have a couple of apps that are causing problems, that’s enough.

From the main screen, you can see everything running, how much bandwidth it’s using, how many connections it has and even the path to the actual executable that’s causing the traffic. If you right click on a process, you can bump it down to a Low priority or bump it up to High or even block it entirely.

Netbalancer screenshot
Netbalancer Main Screen

The system traffic gives you a graph of overall traffic on the system. You can choose the colors that designate upload and download and you also get a short list of the apps that are pulling the most traffic.

netbalancer screenshot: system traffic
Netbalancer System Traffic Panel

If you want detailed information on a particular process, you just click on it in the main screen and it will show up in the Process panel:

screenshot: individual process data
Process Panel

Finally, you can view what’s happening by connection instead of by process. This is handy because you have the IP or hostname for the connection in question, so you can figure out what remote destination is dominating your bandwidth as opposed to focusing on which process on your local machine is responsible.

screenshot: connections
Connection Data

I don’t have a screenshot, but there’s also a tray app that gives you quick access to see what’s happening on your machine.

Netbalancer is a super handy suite of tools that lets you explore, understand and eventually tune your internet connection. The free version is probably as much as any home user dealing with a single machine would need.

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