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Is there a simple way to measure how the upload or download speed of data leaving my computer, like when I'm backing up the computer, or uploading large files through a browser?

If so, how can I do this?

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Activity Monitor in the Utilities folder will show network usage, disk usage and many other things. You can sort by process as well.

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You can do it using iStat pro. It shows you how many GB you've downloaded and uploaded since you booted up.

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+1. iStat Pro is a nice widget, and perfectly fulfills my simple network monitoring needs (occasionally checking the current upload/download rate) – Jonik Sep 5 '09 at 15:48
In this case though, it does not do anything more than the Activity Monitor, which is already installed. – Richard Hoskins Sep 5 '09 at 17:33
@Richard, perhaps so, but in my experience it's quicker/handier to access the info from iStat Pro, by just opening Dashboard – Jonik Sep 5 '09 at 19:55
@Jonik Not by the time you download, install, update, etc. If there is a good reason to install an application, I'll install one. But it comes at a price, so I prefer to use the tools I already have. iStat Pro just to look at network numbers is not going to save you time. – Richard Hoskins Sep 6 '09 at 3:01
It shows you all the data you might want at a glance. And I'm no sure you can find info on battery cycles, fan RPM and temperature in Activity monitor. That is why I recommended iStat. – alex Sep 6 '09 at 5:52

MenuMeters - sits in your menu bar showing a constant graph and/or numeric values for upload & download on any interface.

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In addition to iStat Pro, Little Snitch will also do this. Little Snitch also provides reverse firewall protection, making sure you know which applications are connecting to the internet.

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