Most of the high speed internet broadband providers do not allow unlimited bandwidth usage and we often have to wait for our service providers to update and tell us our daily/monthly data usage. But there are some network tools that we can install on Ubuntu system to keep check on internet data usage. Here are few light and easy to use network monitoring graphical tools or applets that can monitor and display internet connection speed and monthly data usage.
#1 Netmonitor Screenlet (for Monthly data usage)
Netmonitor displays net traffic (like net-speed and downloads) and total monthly internet data usage. You can drag the screenlet and place it anywhere on the desktop and even customize themes to suit your desktops. Its really cool !!
>> How to install Netmonitor Screenlet:
First install "Screenlet Manager" from Ubuntu Software Center (read how to install Screenlet Manager on Ubuntu 10.10), open the Screenlet Manager, search, select and 'Start' Netmonitor Screenlet. Don't forget to select 'Auto start on login' option.
Now right click on the Screenlet, select properties and configure as you wish. If you know how much data you have already downloaded/uploaded in past, then tweak the settings accordingly and apply the changes. Thats all.
#2 Network Status applet for GNOME (for per session data usage)
Its is a very light GNOME panel applet that monitors status of the network interfaces. The up/down arrow icon, on the panel indicates upload/download activity of a selected network and when you click on Network Monitor applet icon on the panel, it displays the sent/received data information/packets for a given network and also allows you to select and configure different network interfaces. The data usage is displayed for a given internet session only. That means every time you make a new internet connection, the packet counter starts from zero. Its is a very handy network debugging graphical tool. You can also use it to check the data usage and instant rate of internet data transfer.
>> How to install GNOME-Netstatus-Applet-2.28.1:
I got this (297.1KB) .deb installation file directly from http://packages.ubuntu.com/maverick/gnome/ ,having the file name "gnome-netstatus-applet"
Go to GNOME-Netstatus-applet download page and download the gnome-netstatus-applet_2.28.1-1ubuntu1_i386.deb file to your desktop (file should match your system architecture for eg i386 or amd64, its generally i386 for normal desktop users). Double click on gnome-netstatus-applet_2.28.1-1ubuntu1_i386.deb file and install it. An up/down arrow icon will appear on the panel. Thats it. Now you can use this applet.
#3 System Monitor: Network History (for per session data usage)
From the panel go to System->Administration->System Monitor , under the resources tab, you will find Network History statistics, it also keeps check on how much data has been sent/received for a given internet session.