When it was announced a while back that Comcast would begin implementing a hard bandwidth cap of 250 GB per month, I started looking for a piece of software that would monitor the bandwidth I used. At the time, Comcast provided no way for customers to see how much bandwidth they were using, so monitoring of Internet usage to make sure they weren’t going over the limit was up to the individual customer. Since then, Comcast has made a bandwidth tracker available via their website, but back then, KNemo was the tracker I chose, and if you want up-to-the-second bandwidth monitoring, it is still an excellent choice.
One of the things that makes KNemo a great utility is how it not only monitors your incoming and outgoing bandwidth (which many utilities can do), but it tracks them for you, so you know how much bandwidth you’ve used over a period of time. By default, KNemo tracks from the first to the last of a calendar month, but for billing purposes (if you use an Internet provider that limits bandwidth), you can input any set of dates – for instance, from the 15th of the month to the 15th of next month. This allows you to use KNemo to track all the bandwidth during your specific billing period, so you know exactly how much of your monthly allotment you have left.
In addition to using it for tracking purposes, KNemo is also useful in a couple other areas. Its first tab contains connection information, which allows you to see your MAC address, how long you’ve been connected, the IP address of your current connection, and more. You can also use it to look at current speeds for incoming and outgoing traffic. This is useful when tracking down a bandwidth hog. For instance, you might be using a Bittorrent client to download files from the Internet in the background (something that can easily be forgotten), then wonder why your YouTube videos are so choppy. KNemo can show you what your current speeds are, which can act as a reminder of a forgotten connection.
Much of this information can also be seen simply by hovering over the KNemo icon in the taskbar. The pop-up window that appears shows connection status, IP address, total bytes received and sent, current upload and download speeds, and the quality of your connection. This window can be modified in the preferences in order to display exactly the information you want. And the icon itself (which can also be hidden from view when KNemo is not in use), can also be themed with icons indicating different types of connections or to show your current upload/download usage.
But again, the real power in KNemo comes from its tracking abilities. In addition to general tracking, you can set up KNemo to monitor your different connection interfaces (such as wireless and wired connections), and allows to to use different preferences for each. You can – as mentioned – use different billing periods, and can set up KNemo to alert you when your bandwidth traffic reaches a certain point. This limit can be for incoming traffic only, or for both incoming and outgoing traffic.
KNemo is a very powerful, really useful tool. It’s nice for tracking how much bandwidth you’re using over a time period, or just to see what kind of speeds you’re getting from your Internet provider at any given time. It’s nice and lightweight, so running it doesn’t slow down your connection or your computer, and the single icon in the taskbar is unobtrusive as well. All in all, KNemo is a great choice, not just for KDE users, but for all Linux users needing a bandwidth and network interface monitor.