Color me a bit of a sucker for all that glitters. It may not be gold, but a little color goes a long way toward telling the truth; and the truth is I’m dazzled by charts and graphs, more so if they’re showing real time data.
Wait. What? Alright, here’s the scenario. Your Mac is connected to the internet through a modem or router somewhere in the house or office (probably with a number of other devices). How can you find out how much bandwidth you or others on the network are using, and which devices use the most? Here’s an app that helps.
Visualize, Analyze, Realize
One of my favorite Mac Menubar utilities is called PeakHour. The latest version tracks your Mac’s network connection, stores bandwidth and performance data, and gives you a quick and dirty snapshot of your network. One click to the Mac’s Menubar reveals current and past network performance to and from your Mac. A quick glance to the Menubar lets you know how much data has been coming in or going out.
PeakHour’s realtime view lets you zoom in to specific times, zoom, display various connected network devices, and, if you’re on a metered connection, send you usage notices to make sure you don’t use more bandwidth than you want.
Setting up PeakHour takes a few minutes but isn’t difficult. Tracking begins immediately and works with multiple devices. One benefit of tracking data, incoming and outgoing, is to make sure you’re getting what you pay for.
Take a look.
The only caveat to using PeakHour is your router or modem; whether DSL or cable, must be capable of collecting the right data. PeakHour requires a modern UPnP (plug and play) or SNMP capable device to gather and record data. Fortunately, there’s a Compatibility Check app (free), and the app itself, though available from the Mac App Store, also comes with a 10-day try-before-you-buy trial.
There’s a healthy amount of eye candy flowing through your Mac’s internet connection. Why not take a bite?