Bandwidth monitoring with vnStat

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If you want to monitor and manage your Internet bandwidth, perhaps to make sure your ISP is not overbilling you, try vnStat, an open source, Linux-based application that gives you a clear picture of your bandwidth usage. This command-line application is simple to install and easy to use.

VnStat offers binary packages for the Debian distribution on its site, and Dag Wieers' RPM repository has RPMs for various Red Hat-based distributions. Of course, you can also compile vnStat from the source files available from the project's home page. I tested vnStat on an Ubuntu Edgy desktop; to install the software, I ran sudo apt-get install vnstat.

The first step in using vnStat is to initialize it and configure it to read your Internet bandwidth usage. Since I connect to my network using the eth0 port, I ran the command sudo vnstat -u -i eth0 to initialize the vnStat database. The database is stored in a file in the /var/lib/vnstat/ directory in a small binary file.

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