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.

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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.

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

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

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

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Packet distribution by size. Always good to know.

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

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Okay, I lied: Configuration menus.

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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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