How to Monitor Network Traffic: A Step-by-Step Guide

In this article, we’ll show you how to monitor network traffic on your home or business network. We’ll cover the basics of what you need to know about network traffic and how to use a few different tools to monitor it. By the end of this article, you’ll be able to answer the following questions:

  • What is network traffic?
  • How can I monitor network traffic?
  • What are some common network traffic problems?

What is Network Traffic?

Network traffic is the data that flows in and out of your network. This data can be divided into two categories:

  • Inbound traffic: This is the data that flows into your network from the internet. It includes things like web pages, email, and file downloads.
  • Outbound traffic: This is the data that flows out of your network to the internet. It includes things like web page requests, email, and file uploads.

You can think of network traffic like water flowing through a pipe. The more data you have flowing through your network, the higher the “traffic” is. Just like a pipe can become clogged with too much water, a network can become overloaded with too much traffic.

How Can I Monitor Network Traffic?

There are a few different ways you can monitor network traffic. The most common way is to use a network monitoring tool. There are many different tools available, but we’ll be using Wireshark in this article. Wireshark is a free and open-source network analyzer that you can download and install on your computer.

Once you have Wireshark installed, you can launch it and start capturing traffic. To do this, click the “Capture” button at the top of the Wireshark window. This will open the “Capture Options” dialog box. In this dialog box, you’ll need to select the network interface that you want to capture traffic on. For most people, this will be the “Ethernet” interface. Once you’ve selected the interface, click the “Start” button to start capturing traffic.

Now that you’re capturing traffic, you’ll see a lot of data flowing in the Wireshark window. This data can be a bit overwhelming at first, but don’t worry, we’ll help you make sense of it. The first thing you’ll want to do is filter the traffic to only show the traffic that you’re interested in. To do this, type “http” (without the quotes) into the “Filter” box at the top of the Wireshark window and press Enter. This will filter the traffic to only show HTTP traffic.

Now that you’ve filtered the traffic, you should see a list of HTTP requests and responses in the Wireshark window. Each request and response is represented by a line in the list. If you hover your mouse over a line, you’ll see a summary of the request or response in the “Info” pane at the bottom of the Wireshark window. You can click on a line to select it and then click the “Follow” button in the “Info” pane to view the full request or response.

Now that you know how to capture and filter traffic, let’s take a look at some of the things you can do with this information. One of the most common things people do with network traffic is to monitor the bandwidth usage of their network. To do this, you can use the “Statistics” menu in Wireshark. Click the “Statistics” menu and then click “Capture File Properties”. This will open the “Capture File Properties” dialog box. In this dialog box, you’ll see a “Data rate (Kb/s)” section that shows you the average, minimum, and maximum data rates for the traffic that was captured.

You can also use Wireshark to troubleshoot network problems. If you’re having trouble accessing a website, for example, you can use Wireshark to see if there are any problems with the traffic flowing to and from that website. To do this, you’ll need to capture traffic on the network interface that your computer is using to connect to the internet. Once you’ve captured some traffic, you can filter it by the website’s domain name (e.g., “example.com”).

If you see any errors in the traffic to and from the website, you can try to troubleshoot the problem by looking at the data in the traffic. For example, if you see a “Connection reset” error, it could be caused by a problem with the website’s server. If you see a “Timeout” error, it could be caused by a problem with your internet connection. If you’re not sure what the problem is, you can try Googling the error message to see if others have had the same problem.

What Are Some Common Network Traffic Problems?

There are a few common problems that can cause network traffic to slow down or stop flowing altogether. These problems can be caused by things like hardware failures, software bugs, or configuration errors.

One of the most common problems is bufferbloat. Bufferbloat is a problem that can occur when the buffers in your network devices fill up and start dropping packets. This can cause your network to slow down or even stop working altogether. You can use Wireshark to troubleshoot bufferbloat by capturing traffic on the network interface that is experiencing the problem and then looking for “Buffer full” or “Dropped” errors in the traffic.

Another common problem is packet loss. Packet loss is a problem that can occur when packets are dropped by your network devices. This can cause your network to slow down or even stop working altogether. You can use Wireshark to troubleshoot packet loss by capturing traffic on the network interface that is experiencing the problem and then looking for “Lost” or “Dropped” errors in the traffic.

A third common problem is latency. Latency is a problem that can occur when packets take too long to travel from one device to another. This can cause your network to slow down or even stop working altogether. You can use Wireshark to troubleshoot latency by capturing traffic on the network interface that is experiencing the problem and then looking for “Delayed” or “Dropped” errors in the traffic.

Conclusion

In this article, we’ve shown you how to monitor network traffic on your home or business network. We’ve covered the basics of what you need to know about network traffic and how to use a few different tools to monitor it. By the end of this article, you should be able to answer the following questions:

  • What is network traffic?
  • How can I monitor network traffic?
  • What are some common network traffic problems?

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