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Old 02. Oct 2009, 04:37 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Need a page BEST FREE (OR affordable) Simple Soho Network Management

Naturally, a lot of the stuff reviewed so far is for "Network Managers" etc. I just want to know about relatively simple tools suitable for mointoring and managing my SOHO network, where I have 4 teenagers sharing my Home Office Cable/Router Internet Access. They constantly blow the monthly quota. I need to know who is blowing the quota, or who is hogging bandwidth when the system is slow. And which applications are using the bandwidth/quota. If possible, also to set bandwith / quota limits, even time limits.

Would be nice-to-haves.
- manage certain applications/PCs (file sharing etc) to use off-peak hours,
- close access to certain applications/PC's by time period (eg: no internet browsing between 11pm and 6am)
- Prioritize certain PCs (Business PCs), perhaps by hours.

Would be nice to have a comparison table of features available in each piece of software differentiating between the FREE and the affordable version) with columns for each diffrent piece of software.

But to do this we really need a Wiki available to all to update.

How can we do this ?

Last edited by George; 02. Oct 2009 at 01:24 PM.
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Old 02. Oct 2009, 01:28 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Hi Richard,

I know where you're coming from. It would be nice to have such a setup. But this surely exceeds a single local software on your PC and requires access to all workstations and a managed coordination of bandwidth to share (and when to share it of you will). So you are right, such a thing cannot be covered by a review article.

If you have a product in mind maybe you can draft an article specifically about this problem and setup.

However, we do not cover "affordable" software. We are about Freeware only and that will stay that way. But if you have an idea about how to achieve your goal with free tools, let us know.
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Old 02. Oct 2009, 04:54 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Exclamation soho manager app

@Richard

go get the FREE spiceworks.com program it will do what you want and more, yes some ads but hey it's free.

if you have a linksys router visit network magic now a Cisco company, free also.

since you are prob not a linux user, these are your best bets.

good luck
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Old 04. Oct 2009, 04:59 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Hi all,

lonny, thanks for the recommendations above. I tried them both and it was actually fun playing around with them.

Spiceworks
It's free and it is really powerful. It is web-based and the user target group are sysadmins that need control of their local company networks. It really offers a lot of features (e.g. a help desk app and tons of reports). I found it to be overkill for my home network and the learning curve to steep for what I wanted.

Network Magic
I am using a D-Link router so I did not get a free copy of it. The free trial version however that you can download from Pure Networks is doing the job too (I could not find out in what way this trial version expires or has less features). This product is exactly what I would be looking for in order to manage my home network. It is easy to install and use. It offers a great visual network map, alerts and reports. You can restrict computers from accessing the internet and see who is using how much download size. NM is available for Windows and Mac. I tested it on a network with Windows PCs, Mac PCs and PS-3 game consoles. All devices were correctly discovered and shown.

Note: I actually liked the product that much that I purchased a license for NM 5.5 for 39 dollars. The license key worked on every installation on each of my Windows workstations but not on the Mac. I have opened a ticket for that. Will report back on this here.
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Last edited by George; 04. Oct 2009 at 05:02 PM.
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Old 04. Oct 2009, 06:41 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Thanks for the feedback George.

Glad you found something you can use.

Cheers
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