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The Traffic Manager - Traffic Monitor page on my router reports drastically less bandwidth data usage than our ISP. For example 2015-Nov-04 is 0.98GB according to Asus and 7.3GB according to ISP. This has been the case since I bought the router a couple of years ago, but it's not been important enough to get to the bottom of until now.

For awhile I wondered if someone else in the city might be using my cable MAC address a la DerEngel. I think this unlikely, those methods are a dozen plus years old and well publicized. Also our ISP offers usage stats down to 30 minute intervals and the near-zero holes in those mirror occasions when there is no one home or everyone is asleep.

On the other hand Asus is a respected manufacturer known for their technical capabilities.

How do I determine with confidence why the numbers differ?

There is a single ethernet cable from the modem, going to the router. Put another way, all traffic from the house goes through the router before getting to the modem.

The router typically has 3 wired clients and up to 9 wifi clients. (I recognize all of the devices listed in the router DHCP lease table, no parasites here).

The devices run everything from Windows to Linux to iOS to Android to I-don't-know (DS,wii), so client side monitoring apps is unlikely to be practical.

Router: Asus RT-N56U, firmware version:3.0.0.4.376_1665
Modem: Cisco DPC3008 DOCSIS 3.0

Update: sample tables from router and ISP
Update 2: combine tables and show variance (difference between reported totals)

+------------+------+------+----------+---+------+------+----------+---+----------+
|    Date    | R_Up | R_Dn | R_Total  |   | I_Up | I_Dn | I_Total  |   | Variance |
+------------+------+------+----------+---+------+------+----------+---+----------+
| 11/4/2015  | 0.86 | 0.12 | 0.98  GB |   | 0.30 | 6.99 | 7.29  GB |   | 6.31  GB |
| 11/5/2015  | 1.02 | 0.07 | 1.09  GB |   | 0.13 | 4.09 | 4.22  GB |   | 3.13  GB |
| 11/6/2015  | 0.83 | 0.10 | 0.93  GB |   | 0.23 | 4.01 | 4.24  GB |   | 3.31  GB |
| 11/7/2015  | 1.48 | 0.09 | 1.57  GB |   | 0.18 | 5.84 | 6.01  GB |   | 4.44  GB |
| 11/8/2015  | 0.71 | 0.06 | 0.77  GB |   | 0.27 | 3.12 | 3.39  GB |   | 2.62  GB |
| 11/9/2015  | 1.45 | 0.09 | 1.54  GB |   | 0.35 | 4.08 | 4.42  GB |   | 2.88  GB |
| 11/10/2015 | 1.12 | 0.08 | 1.20  GB |   | 0.20 | 4.41 | 4.60  GB |   | 3.40  GB |
| 11/11/2015 | 2.05 | 0.18 | 2.23  GB |   | 0.43 | 6.48 | 6.91  GB |   | 4.68  GB |
| 11/12/2015 | 1.14 | 0.09 | 1.23  GB |   | 0.35 | 4.56 | 4.92  GB |   | 3.69  GB |
| 11/13/2015 | 2.44 | 0.13 | 2.57  GB |   | 0.29 | 4.04 | 4.33  GB |   | 1.76  GB |
| 11/14/2015 | 2.78 | 0.15 | 2.94  GB |   | 0.34 | 6.04 | 6.38  GB |   | 3.44  GB |
| 11/15/2015 | 0.62 | 0.11 | 0.73  GB |   | 0.12 | 0.85 | 0.97  GB |   | 0.24  GB |
+------------+------+------+----------+---+------+------+----------+---+----------+
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    0.98 and 7.3 is close to a bits vs bytes mismatch ...
    – DavidPostill
    Nov 15, 2015 at 19:07
  • Just add the upload, that might ignored by the ISP. But who would measure traffic in "Gigabit"? Nov 15, 2015 at 19:10
  • @davidbaumann, it's not upload. Both the router and isp stats show direction and combined columns. I'll add that to the Q. Nov 15, 2015 at 21:17
  • @DavidPostill I was happy when I first read your comment, because that's an easy formula to reconcile with, but it was just a coincidence with the particular day I chose to open with. I added a table with a dozen days of stats from both router and ISP. Nov 16, 2015 at 0:15
  • Last paragraph on Traffic Logging with Asus RT-N56U indicates the router is at fault, "I would do about a gigabyte of downloads and iptables would think that only 200-300kb had gone through. I managed to narrow it down to the fact that instead of the routing going via iptables, it would go through the hardware based NAT and it wouldn’t be accounted for". Though it's unclear to me whether that was before or after he started hacking the manufacturer's management software and firmware. Nov 16, 2015 at 0:25

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