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For equipment like SOHO networking devices (think Linksys/Netgear/etc) or other devices that don't really have SNMP support...is there a way to figure out port utilization % and other stats like packets/sec, etc.?

I was thinking maybe something like port mirroring might work but not sure how I'd accomplish this if I only had the single Linksys router or similar that didn't support port mirroring.

I don't want to have something sitting between the router/switch and the "other end" either...I would rather it be "non-intrusive" from a physical standpoint.

So, is there any way I can accomplish this?

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3 Answers 3

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With a non-managed switch there really isn't any good way to accomplish this. AFAIK, the best you can do is to plug a hub in between the switch and the device at the remote end, then plug your monitoring station in to the hub. The downside is that you'll only be able to do this one port at a time.

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If you only want to monitor the traffic going through the WAN port then it's easy: Install a network capture and/or a network sniffer program on your management computer. Plug a hub in between the router/firewall and the switch. Plug your management computer into the hub. Since traffic through a hub is forwarded to every hub port, your sniffer will see all inbound and outbound traffic to and from the internet. I use PRTG for this and it can give detailed stats on protocols, source and destination ip addresses, traffic volume, etc. –  joeqwerty Sep 15 '09 at 3:31

Every link has two ends. For devices I'm unable to monitor directly I try to monitor the other end of its link. e.g. I can't monitor the dumb switch in the DMZ, so I monitor the machines connected to it.

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Is there any reason you can't use a managed switch? They're pretty cheap nowadays.

If you must use a dumb switch, you might be able to gather stats from the devices plugged into the switch instead of the switch itself. Windows, Linux, and OS X can all deliver interface stats over SNMP. A lot of networked printers can too.

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The one in particular I'm using at a client site is a basic Netgear wireless router. They only have 4 employees so no need for anything beyond it. However, it'd be nice to be able to at least tell him what the utilization of the ports is, especially the WAN port. –  TheCleaner Sep 15 '09 at 0:37

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