How many ways can you see network traffic through your Mac? I have a few favorites because I'm a little sucker for all that sparkle. It may not be gold, but a little color and some eye candy go a long way toward telling the truth; and the truth is this: I'm dazzled by charts and graphical eye candy, and even more so if they show real-time data.
Here is the basic scenario. Your Mac is connected to the Internet via a modem or router somewhere in the house or office (probably also with a number of other devices connected). How can you find out how much bandwidth you or others on your network are using and which devices are using the most? How can you tell if your Mac network connection is working fine? Here is the app that does the deed.
Visualize, Analyze, Realize
One of my favorite Mac Menubar tools is PeakHour. The latest version tracks your Mac network connection, stores bandwidth and performance data, and provides you with a fast and dirty snapshot of your network. One click on the Mac menu shows the final current and past network performance to and from the Mac. A quick glance at the Menu Bar lets you know how much data has come in or out.
PeakHour's real-time view lets you zoom in at specific times, view different connected network devices, and if you have a measured connection, you can send usage alerts to make sure you're not using more bandwidth than you want.
Setting up PeakHour takes a few minutes and is not geeky at all. Tracking begins immediately and works with multiple devices. One benefit of tracking data, inbound and outbound, is to make sure you get what you pay for. Take a look.
Think of PeakHour as a speedometer for your home or office network. Internet service providers usually track bandwidth, but the results are not always accurate. With PeakHour, you are willing to track real-time performance and usage via Wi-Fi, Mac, PC, NAS servers or other devices.
There is a way to check PeakHour by using the PeakHour Remote website so you can monitor traffic from another Mac or iPhone. There is a healthy amount of eye good flowing through your Mac your internet connection. Why not take a bite?
The only caveat to using PeakHour is your router or modem – either DSL or cable – that must be able to collect the correct data. PeakHour requires a modern UPnP (plug and play) or SNMP compliant device to collect and record data. Apple's recent airport devices do not.
Fortunately, using the trial version is a built-in way to check.
PeakHour works on macOS, sends you alerts when certain thresholds are exceeded, and can monitor most devices in the home network. There is even a dark mode for the app to match the dark mode on macOS.
If there's a better way for Mac users to monitor local home or small office network traffic, I didn't find it.