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How to Check Network Usage on Linux?

A GNU/Linux system administrator is responsible for a wide range of responsibilities. Checking the OS’s network consumption is the most important of these. GNU/Linux has a number of tools for monitoring and analysing the network of both desktop PCs and corporate servers.

These utilities either have a graphical user interface or are exclusively accessible via the command line (sometimes developers combine this). There are benefits and drawbacks in each of these scenarios. The most essential, but conditional difference is that graphical utilities such as YaST or KDE System Guard are usually recognised by their ease of use and simplicity, whereas console tools are distinguished by their flexibility and informativeness, but are slightly more difficult to use.

The server is usually the one that needs to be managed, and it usually only has a console, even if it doesn’t have a window manager. Working at the console, even if the tool has a window version, allows you to have a better understanding of how it works.

This application is very popular among GNU/Linux administrators because of its incredible network analysis capabilities. It can only be used in console interactive mode, which allows you to observe what’s going on with network packets in great detail.

Most distributions have the programme in their software store.

Run the following command on the console to install it:

Debian-basedsudo apt install iptraf
“Red Hat”-basedsudo yum install iptraf
Arch-basedsudo pacman -S iptraf-ng

To run the utility, execute the iptraf command (or iptraf-ng, if it is an Arch-like distribution) with superuser privileges, after which the main program window will appear.

There is a list of tools available for thorough network monitoring.

Note: Additional information about the selected tool, as well as keyboard navigation suggestions, are presented at the bottom of the programme window.

Select “IP Traffic monitor” and the desired network interface to evaluate network connections and traffic, for example.

The IP addresses that interact with this network card, as well as information about the transmitted packages, their direction, and volume, expressed in bytes, will appear on the screen after a while.

iftop


This software has a more straightforward appearance. It displays less information than iptraf, but the functions it offers are still useful and informative for analysing network utilisation on Linux.

Use one of the following commands to install it:

Debian-basedsudo apt install iftop
“Red Hat”-basedsudo yum install iftop
Arch-basedsudo pacman -S iftop

The programme is started with root privileges by iftop, and the default network interface is used for listening. The -i flag can be used to manually alter the listening object, followed by the name of the network interface.

Details of each connection are shown here, but the utility does not identify the object that creates the packages.

Detailed information about the program can be found through the man iftop command.

nload

An very basic console tool that displays the current, average, minimum, and maximum transmission speeds of packages in streaming mode, as well as the total amount of transferred and received data.

One of the following commands can be used to install it:

Debian-basedsudo apt install nload
“Red Hat”-basedsudo yum install nload
Arch-basedsudo pacman -S nload

To run it, you need to use the nload command.

The first block displays information about the incoming connection, and the second — about the outgoing connection.

nethogs

Unlike other network utilities, nethogs displays the process identification (PID) and the user on whose behalf it was launched when sending or receiving network packages.

One of the following commands can be used to install the utility:

Debian-basedsudo apt install nethogs
“Red Hat”-basedsudo yum install nethogs
Arch-basedsudo pacman -S nethogs

It is launched with the command by the name of the package.

bmon

This software provides complete statistics for all network interfaces, as well as a pseudographical representation of the data.

Most distributions include a software shop where it can be downloaded:

Debian-basedsudo apt install bmon
“Red Hat”-basedsudo yum install bmon
Arch-basedsudo pacman -S bmon

The program starts by the name of the package.

To display help, press ?. To close the program, press q.

vnstat

This programme offers capabilities that will come in handy in unique situations. This is a daemon that keeps track of network activity in a log. After that, you can perform a load analysis for the time period you’ve defined.

To begin, download the utility from the official repository:

Debian-basedsudo apt install vnstat
“Red Hat”-basedsudo yum install vnstat
Arch-basedsudo pacman -S vnstat

Then you need to start the daemon:

sudo systemctl start vnstat

Now you can check its work status:

systemctl status vnstat

The program will collect data for some time. Viewing statistics is available by the vnstat command.

Also, statistics can be monitored in streaming mode using the -l flag.

bwm-ng

Another small application that shows network traffic in streaming mode. It works with all network interfaces that are accessible.

Use one of the following commands to install it:

Debian-basedsudo apt install bwm-ng
“Red Hat”-basedsudo yum install bwm-ng
Arch-basedsudo pacman -S bwm-ng

The application is quite useful (more on this you can find in man bwm-ng). One of the most useful features is the option to export data to a variety of file formats, such as csv and html, for further analysis.

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