Lead Image © Lucy Baldwin, 123RF.com

Lead Image © Lucy Baldwin, 123RF.com

Network performance in-terminal graphics  tools

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Article from ADMIN 51/2019
We explore the most chic terminal graphics in network performance tools.

Jeff Layton regaled readers of the last issue with a survey of Terminal User Interfaces (TUIs) [1], a term describing tools sporting in-terminal graphics powered by the curses library [2] or one of its modernized variations, ncurses [3] or Newt [4]. Expanding Jeff's excellent treatment of the topic of writing TUIs, this month I will take you on a tour of the array of visual tools available to monitor your network connections. The whirlwind tour of available tools takes place on Ubuntu 18.04 (Bionic), out of convenience for the sheer number of packages available. You can install all of the commands demonstrated in this issue directly from apt; no compiling is necessary.

First Things First

A low-key and charming starting point comes in the form of the vnstat command [5], which in live mode (-l) starts off with a continuously updating single line providing network traffic statistics for the monitored interface:

$ vnstat -l
Monitoring eth0...  (press CTRL-C to stop)
   rx:      108 kbit/s    19 p/s          tx:       20 kbit/s    19 p/s

Things get more interesting when you hit Ctrl+C to exit and are treated to a summary of network statistics (Figure 1). Whereas this summary spans only the current execution interval, vnStat can just as easily provide traffic statistics on a daily basis for up to the last 30 days with the -d option (Figure 2). vnStat will even try to extrapolate traffic estimates for the remainder of the current month, if asked

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