Posted by: kurtsh | September 13, 2010

TOOL: “DU Meter 5.02” desktop bandwidth meter, now with Windows 7 x64 Support

image A favorite tool of mine is Hagel Technologies, “DU Meter”.  It tells you in real time what your upload and download performance is like and what connections your PC has open.  The tool remains on the top of your desktop and gives you an idea as to whether or not a given application is transmitting, receiving, and so forth. 

  • SIDEBAR/GADGET INTEGRATION
    It would even integrate with Windows Vista’s/7’s desktop sidebar as a desktop gadget.  Or if you wanted it hovering elsewhere, you could have it be a freeform program that just hovered on the desktop.  (See the photo to the right for a glimpse.
  • imageNETWORK CONNECTIONS
    Another thing it does is breakdown what it is that your software is connecting to externally.  It will tell you the actual domain name or IP address that a given application is transmitting or receiving from and how active the connection is, through something called the Network Connections Viewer.

SOUNDS GOOD.  WHAT’S WRONG THEN?
Here’s the thing:  Historically, this tool’s not exactly cheap relative to what it does as far as I’m concerned.  However in the past, DUMeter used to really be the only app that did what it did, as well as it does, for Windows 2000/XP/Vista/7. 

Over time however, some glaring issues became evident with the 4.0 revision:

  1. NO x64 SIDEBAR SUPPORT
    However with the release of Windows Vista/7 x64, it no longer supported the sidebar as a true desktop gadget.  This is of course really annoying if you depended on Windows Sidebar support to arrange and align your gadgets.
  2. EXPENSIVE
    There are other tools – like the FREE Network Meter 6.3 Windows Gadget from Addgadget.com – that provides much of the same functionality as a Windows Desktop Gadget at no cost.  DU Meter still to this day costs $29.95 PER PC.  They released a “family pack” of 5 installations for $59.90 which for IT pros makes more sense… however $60?  For a bandwidth meter?  CRIPES – You can buy a full copy of Microsoft Word for the same price on eBay.

ENTER RELEASE 5.0 OF DUMETER
To be honest, I never anticipated upgrading DU Meter again, being that it seemed to lack innovation relative to the free tools available on the market.  But along came 5.0 and I changed my mind.

Yes, they fixed the sidebar support.  Yes, they now fully support x64.  Yes, it’s still relatively expensive to license for a simple desktop gadget.  For folks that had licensed previous versions, they did knock 40% off the retail price dropping a family pack of 5 licenses to $35.95, so I think I can personally swallow that.

image SO THAT’S IT?  THAT’S ALL THEY DID IN 5.0?
Actually no.  They’ve introduced a new “discriminate between Internet & LAN connections” feature.  As they describe it:

“DU Meter can discriminate between Internet and local LAN traffic, and monitor either of them. It can figure out what is Internet and what is LAN traffic automatically, or you can supply a list of IP subnetworks you wish to monitor or ignore.”

There are obvious benefits to this.

Also they’ve introduced a new “deskband view” along with numerous other graph types.  DU Meter can attach itself to Windows taskbar for unobtrusive and prominent display.

PERSONAL BENEFITS TO ME
I’m very bandwidth conscious, mainly because I connect via 5 means:

  1. WORK LAN CONNECTIVITY – Wired/Wireless connections to IPv6 networks while in the office.
  2. HOME DSL INTERNET CONNECTIVITY – Wired connections to my home router
  3. HOTEL WIRELESS CONNECTIVITY – Wireless connectivity while in the airport/hotel
  4. WORK VPN CONNECTIVITY – Tunneled connectivity over L2TP/IPsec connections over the Internet
  5. CELLULAR/DIAL UP CONNECTIVITY – EvDO Internet connectivity using tethered cellphone

Keep in mind:  Your computer views all of these networks differently so they’re represented differently in the OS.  What has made DU Meter special is that no matter WHAT the connection method, it automatically reports the bandwidth activity & consumption without reconfiguration.  You don’t need to change the networking source or anything to view stats within the graph.  Virtually every other tool requires this making their usage inconvenient compared to DU Meter.

CONCLUSION
So, if you have some disposable income and bandwidth monitoring is of critical importance to you, you may want to consider purchasing DU Meter.  It’s a very solid product that can be very useful to folks in IT.


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