If you’ve been using the DD-WRT router firmware without clicking through some of the tabs you might be missing out on some awesome features. One area worth viewing are the real-time and historical bandwidth monitoring tools that can be easy to overlook. You can see these if you jump on over the Status tab, and then click on the WAN or Bandwidth tabs.

What is the difference in the charts you’ll find between the WAN and Bandwidth tabs? The WAN tab will show you a month-by-month bar graph of the Internet bandwidth used. If you hover over one of the bars it will show you the exact numbers for that particular day. Here’s what my WAN graph looked like for December 2010:

Monthly bandwidth monitor

This monthly bar graph can help you monitor your usage if you are worried about hitting a possible cap your ISP has set. A traditional bandwidth monitoring program will only show you the bandwidth used for the machine it is running on, which may not be an accurate representation if you have a lot of other devices that connect through the router (game consoles, portable devices, etc…).

If you click over to the Bandwidth tab you’ll see all of the real-time numbers that will continue accruing the longer you leave the page up. There should be multiple charts on the page, but the exact number will vary based on the router you have. For example, my router has two wireless interfaces and there are separate charts for each of them. There are also charts for LAN (local network traffic) and WAN (Internet traffic) interfaces bringing my total to four charts. Basically all the traffic navigating through router should show up on at least one of these graphs.

Real time bandwidth monitor

I’ve used the real-time data on multiple occurrences to pinpoint devices that were hogging network traffic when they shouldn’t be. So I’d label this feature as a great way to troubleshoot problems, such as why a video you are streaming from one machine to another is stuttering during playback.

So make sure you keep a reminder in the back of your head that this data is always at your fingertips if you’re already using this firmware. Plus it may be fun to go back and look at what your monthly usage has been if you haven’t taken a peek in a while.

DD-WRT Router Firmware Homepage