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At which files should I look to check the (current) download/upload speed? I remember doing so a long time ago. The files I read did not contain the speed directly, but I could calculate the speed with simple arithmetic.

EDIT: I found it, it's /proc/net/dev. It shows the sent and received bytes that I just sample every second.

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Can you please clarify whether you want to know the maximum or the instantaneous figures? I can't imagine the latter being available via a file but perhaps the first is. – John Gardeniers May 29 '10 at 21:17
up vote 1 down vote accepted

I do not know of a file that can be read to obtain this information.

If you want the maximum connection speed supported by interface eth0 you can try this as root:

ethtool eth0

Or

mii-tool eth0

If you are looking to test your network speed instead, you might be interested in this StackOverflow question. If instead you hope to actively monitor usage of a network interface you could use a utility like slurm.

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