Last update 21 November 2010.
It is often useful to have real-time monitoring of your connection and data transfer amounts, and sometimes to be able to alter the “target” noise margin to increase stability or speed.
tbbMeter. This needs installing on each machine on a network as it monitors the traffic over the network interfaces. At the time of writing this isn’t ideal as it includes anything passing between the machines. There is a beta version available on request which splits WAN from LAN traffic.
It has a web site on which you can register. That gives you better graphing facilities than the local version, and allows you to look at individual or aggregated figures from your machines.
SoftPerfect Networx which I am using at the moment. That also needs installing on each machine, but does on-site aggregation of the totals.
What neither does, unfortunately, is pick up the usage of other equipment such as games consoles.
Another popular usage monitor is NetMeter but I have no personal experience of it.
Wireless connection detection.
I find InSSIDer very useful. It enables you to see all the Wireless Access Points within range and shows you graphically how their channel and strength overlap your own. This enables you to set your own to expect minimum cross-talk interference so improve the performance of your wireless link.
Runs on Vista as well as earlier versions of Windows.
ADSL connection monitors and tweakers.
DMT is a very popular too free from here. Different ADSL routers need different versions so make sure you choose the correct one to download. Versions 7.35 and 8.07, (DMT versions are specific to certain routers as listed on the the DMT download page), normally need you to tick the special logon box, and to access the tweaking page (the blank tab to the right of Info3) you have to go into Special >> Misc. Options and tick unlock experimental area.
Another one is RouterStats/RouterStats Lite.
Both of these provide display and real-time graphing of at least your download noise margin and connection speed. On some ADSL routers they also allow tweaking of the noise margin, though not only the full RouterStats, not RouterStats Lite.
Note that with routers where these can tweak, then finer tuning can be achieved by telnetting into the router at the Command Prompt.
I like RouterStats Lite the most as it is simple to install and configure. It also continues graphing through a disconnection/reconnection, (as does its full weight brother), where DMT stops. They are therefore much more useful than DMT for diagnosis of problems.
I always turn on the “Log to file” option in the RouterStats versions. This is also a useful diagnostic and reporting tool.
DGTeam modified firmwares are available for many Netgear routers. These provide tweaking similar to DMT above, but save the changes back to the router. The DGTeam website recently went AWOL apart from a holding page, but DrTeeth on thinkbroadband forums has obtained copies of several recent versions. Available on DrTeeth’s website here. Note he is hosting them on an as is basis and no support is offered.
Tweaking through the CLI.
I intend to add instructions for various routers as people let me know them.
Netgear instructions are:-
(Note that you may find before you can telnet into a Netgear router that you need to enter the following in your browser URL bar:-
That opens a window empty except for “Debug Enabled”. You can close that window immediately.)
adslctl configure --snr 60
will achieve the same result as a DMT tweak to 60%. Choose the percentage you want.
If you are on an ADSL2+ connection and want to force ADSL2 then include in that --mod 2. You can also omit the --snr 60 if you don’t want to alter the SNRM.
At the moment for quirky reasons I am using adslctl configure --mod 2 --snr 1.
Netgear line stats.
For most models the basic stats are available from the GUI but are often inadequate for problem diagnosis. The full stats are available in two ways.
One is via DMT, mentioned above, either by trying to make sense of the Info1 tab or more easily going to either the Info2 or Info3 tab and selecting the following command from a drop-down list:-
adslctl info --stats
The same result through the CLI is achieved as per the tweaking above, simply replacing the tweaking adslctl ... line with the one just given to select when using DMT.