For monitoring networks I have an old GX260 Dell desktop in the small form factor. Packed into this little device are a couple of network cards, added on are a wireless NIC and an extra USB network device. The purpose? To slot this in between the router and the network and see what's going backwards and forwards - very useful in the situation where a client is hemorrhaging bandwidth and doesn't know why. I'm running Ubuntu 10.04 LTS on it and it behaves very well. Two of the main tools I use are ntop and iftop. For those of you not familiar with them, ntop monitors a particular interface and creates some nice webpages to be checked by the user in order to see what's going on through the network. iftop is similar but real time and is available through a console - which is the real appeal for me. The server in question has two internal NICs, both are 100MB cards and are scripted to come up as a transparent bridge - br0. Basically I monitor that bridge and use one of the o
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