How to Monitor Bandwidth on a Mac
If you are using metered internet service either through a jailbroken iPhone WiFi hotspot, the Verizon iPhone hotspot, the recent Canadian telecom disaster, or any other bandwidth restricted service, you’ll want to keep an eye on your bandwidth consumption. Here’s how you can do this in Mac OS X for free.
How to Monitor Bandwidth Use on your Mac
We are going to use a free utility called SurplusMeter, it runs atop Mac OS X and tracks all network traffic.
- First, download SurplusMeter 2.0.3 (Direct Download link) and install the app into /Applications
- Launch SurplusMeter
- Set the day that your monthly billing cycle or bandwidth use starts on (most people will use 1)
- Set your download cap limit and whether or not to include uploads in your allotted bandwidth
- Set your connection type (ethernet, AirPort, etc)
After all your settings are squared away, SurplusMeter will start to monitor all up and down network traffic from your Mac. You may notice a “SurplusMeterAgent” running in Activity Monitor’s task manager too, that’s normal and launches automatically on system boot.
The main problem I see with SurplusMeter is that it doesn’t seem to differentiate between local network and internet traffic. If you transfer large amounts of data from your Mac to something else like a media center or Apple TV, you may need to manually tweak the bandwidth use or ‘pause’ SurplusMeter during large LAN file transfers.
You can also get this kind of data from most routers, but for most people it’s not as user friendly. So SurplusMeter isn’t perfect and it’s a little outdated, but it does work fine in Mac OS X 10.6.6, and it’s free so how much can we complain? It would be great if the developer updated it a bit and then submitted for the Mac App Store, there’s clearly an audience for this kind of tool now.
I would say this app is absolutely essential for any Mac user that is faced with a bandwidth cap. Thanks to MacGasm for finding this utility.