Do you run a network at home? How do you know what’s going on in it?

For a long time I’ve had multiple devices running on my network – e.g. a couple of switches, a firewall, wlan controller and a number of machines / laptops / toys!

I recently had something of a bandwidth hog, that was uploading 5-6GB of data daily, and I couldn’t figure it out.

My firewall is an open source highly adept and flexible solution from PFSense. Running freebsd as it’s underlying OS, there’s nothing I’ve thrown at it that it hasn’t been able to handle.

From dual wan links to content filtering, it’s all there as an option. However one feature I’ve been frustrated at is reporting on bandwidth usage – just what is eating away at my bandwidth. I found a ‘pflowd’ plugin for pfsense, which is essentially a netflow plugin, allowing the pfsense firewall to output flows to a netflow server.

But what to output to? There’s a lot of ‘free netflow’ receiver software out there (solarwinds etc) but one I found fits the bill very nicely. Paessler offers a free 10 sensor license for it’s PRTG network management suite. I’ve used this to great success, and it shows me my netflow from PFSense in a clear and concise way, just what i was looking for. As a bonus, you also get status alerts for interfaces and more!

I’d suggest if you’re like me (a bit of a geek / nerd) that you check it out. I highly recommend it!


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