How can I figure out what processes are consuming my upload bandwidth?

Discussion in 'Apple' started by laredotornado, Jan 10, 2014.

  1. Hi,

    I'm using Mac 10.7.5. I'm trying to figure out what processes/applications are consuming my available upload bandwidth and if possible, know what that is in kbps. Free tools are always preferred.

    I have looked at the Activity Monitor, but seems to only give aggregate statistics.

    Thanks, - Dave
    laredotornado, Jan 10, 2014
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  2. laredotornado

    Alan Baker Guest

    Alan Baker, Jan 10, 2014
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  3. laredotornado

    Lewis Guest

    The trouble with nettop is that it doesn't behave like top and let you
    sort the list. It would be 100x more useful if you could sort by bytes
    in/out, especially in delta mode.
    That is a nice feature of iStat menu, but not enough for me to give it
    space on my menu bar as these are the sorts of things I care about only
    when there's an issue, which is not often.

    Lister: What d'ya think of Betty? Cat: Betty Rubble? Well, I would go
    with Betty... but I'd be thinking of Wilma. Lister: This is crazy. Why
    are we talking about going to bed with Wilma Flintstone? Cat: You're
    right. We're nuts. This is an insane conversation. Lister: She'll never
    leave Fred, and we know it.
    Lewis, Jan 10, 2014
  4. laredotornado

    Patty Winter Guest

    What do you mean by "aggregate"? It shows each application separately,
    and even plug-ins (for some reason, the Flash plug-in in Firefox is
    at the top of the list right now, even though FF isn't on a page with
    video). You can get details on any given process.

    The free iStat widget also shows the top processes, but since Activity
    Monitor comes with Macs, it seems like the easiest solution.

    Patty Winter, Jan 10, 2014
  5. By "aggregate," I mean when I click on the "Network" tab at the bottom of activity monitor there are "packets out" and "packets out/sec" lines but they aren't particular to processes. The process list, at the top, only has "process Name", "User," "% CPU," "Threads," "REal Mem," and "Kind" columns. Maybe there's another way to configure activity monitor, but that's what Isee.

    Thanks for all the other answers, - Dave
    laredotornado, Jan 10, 2014
  6. I think the problem with answering "What process(s) are taking up my
    bandwidth?" is that the network I/O is monitored in netstat and nettop
    but I haven't found a GUI tool that displays it. You can monitor all the
    traffic on an interface with stuff like mTrafficStats but not process by

    Typically the need to drill down to "what process" happens infrequently,
    so no one write or designed a program to collect and display that
    information. Once you answer that question, you'll probably won't need
    that tool again. In contrast, mTrafficStat shows the collected traffic
    on an interface for a specific time period. That's useful to answer the
    question "Am I getting near my network bandwidth cap for the month?"

    Unless you can code and have a couple months to write your tool, you're
    stuck with command line tools.
    Michael Vilain, Jan 10, 2014
  7. laredotornado

    Ted Lee Guest

    Not entirely true. Activity monitor does (can) show the number of
    bytes/packets sent/received for each process. True, it doesn't give the
    rate (bytes/packets per second) but you ought to be able to eyeball
    compute that. It looks like it starts counting from when a process is
    created, so you'd have to logout/login to reset all the counters for all
    user processes to zero. I suppose if you do a restart that will reset
    the counters for any system processes that aren't associated with a user.
    Ted Lee, Jan 10, 2014
  8. laredotornado

    J Burns Guest

    I like that! So far I haven't had trouble with unidentified traffic, but
    I'm looking forward to trying it.
    J Burns, Jan 10, 2014
  9. Activity Monitor is probably using the same counters that netstat and
    nettop use. They aren't historical in that if you quit a process like
    Safari then restart it, the traffic counters for that connection will
    end. I don't even think sar accounting will track network traffic
    except on a per interface basis.

    I stand corrected. When I looked at Activity Monitor's per-process
    output, it didn't have per process network I/O.
    Michael Vilain, Jan 12, 2014
  10. laredotornado

    Alan Baker Guest

    Prior to Mavericks, I don't think that Activity Monitor had per process
    network I/O data, but Mavericks most definitely has it.

    You might want to check what columns you can add to the display on
    prior versions of Mac OS X. Right-click on the column heading area and
    you'll get a menu showing all the columns both currently selected and
    Alan Baker, Jan 12, 2014
  11. laredotornado

    MeV Guest

    I just stumbled across the network monitor display of Little Snitch. I havethat installed and use it as an application firewall but didn't really look much at the network display. It has the per-process metrics you're looking for. It will show what processes are using the bandwidth at any one moment so you can zoom in on who's being the bandwidth hog. It won't however do historical or store this information. It may be what you need in the short term to answer your question.
    MeV, Jan 13, 2014
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