iptraf-ng: Returning to a classic

I complain about how many network monitors and traffic analyzers there are for the console, but in truth, there are some very, very good tools available in textmode.

Here’s one I mentioned a long time ago, but I wanted to revisit because it’s just that darned good: iptraf-ng, now a fork of the original iptraf.


That’s a startup screen, with a list of options available. I usually stick with the first one. Pick an interface and it’s off to the races.


Commands to control the window panes and the detail of the information are printed right on the screen. Here’s a little more information.


Sorry for filtering out the addresses. Personal addresses, etc., etc. Going back to the main menu, here is general information on my wlan0 interface.


And just for fun, a fifth screenshot that looks at detailed statistics on wlan0. All this while downloading the FreeBSD 9.1 ISO. 😉


Packet distribution by size. Always good to know.


One more, and this will be the end: a LAN station monitor.


Okay, I lied: Configuration menus.


So what makes this program so great? For me, and this is strictly my uneducated opinion, there are quite a few things that make this a standout.

  1. Menu driven: You can start it up with no switches and still navigate through the application.
  2. Good response time: Occasionally, on low-end hardware, applications that need python or ruby or obscure language interpreters seem to be laggy. On the other hand, at 500Mhz iptraf-ng runs like a cat on fire.
  3. Good use of color: This is purely aesthetic, but bright colors on blue are easy to read. You have the option to turn off color too, if you are in a gloomy mood.
  4. Easy to control: And this is probably the biggest one. It’s just an easy program to manage and configure, with everything done via “drop down” menus.

I could probably list a few more things, but these are what make a sweet terminal-based application. For me, anyways. 🙄

And they kind of underscore my main point through all these years of keeping notes and tracking text-based programs: Just because you strip away the graphical element, that doesn’t mean it can’t be a fast, light, good-looking, easy-to-control application.

A big gold smiley, again, for iptraf-ng: 😀

2 thoughts on “iptraf-ng: Returning to a classic

  1. Tom

    Does that mean were going to see a little FreeBSD guide soon, then? 😀

    Having been a linux user for years, I can tell you it’s worth it (ports = divine)!

    1. K.Mandla Post author

      Oh, one never knows. 😉 I tried the ArchBSD ISO the other day but downloaded the wrong architecture by mistake. If I can find some time I’ll try again soon.

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