Dealing with connectivity issues is one of the worst nightmares of any PC user as networking is an infamously troublesome area where the simplest issue can cause the weirdest problems. One of the first things you should do if you are experiencing issues of latency or unstable performance is to look at individual processes in your computer and try to determine whether some of them are behaving strangely or not.
Monitoring and managing bandwidth usage
Sometimes, individual applications consume a lot more bandwidth than they should be which can affect an entire connection and, in turn, all the other applications you are using. This is especially prominent in activities like online gaming where a stable connection is vital. Monitoring specific applications can help you determine what has gone wrong in your PC which makes managing a far easier task. For the purposes of this guide we will take a look at the Resource Monitor, a native Windows utility, and the free version of NetBalancer, a third-party application that can both monitor and manage the network usage of individual programs.
The Resource Monitor, which we have talked about in more detail here, features a basic network section that we can use to our advantage. To find the utility, type resmon.exe in your Start Menu and press Enter. Head over to the Network tab and you will see a list of processes that are currently consuming bandwidth in your PC. The “Network Activity” menu should also be expanded as you can check out more detailed information about the various network connections happening in your system in real time.
While the utility cannot help you manage any applications, it allows you to quickly check whether there are any issues with the current processes or not so that you can determine what to do next. If you see that an application is using a lot more bandwidth than it is supposed to, it is time to take action and stop it from ruining your connection.
Before you install NetBalancer, finish any remaining tasks that require an internet connection as the application will reset your Internet connection during the installation process. You will also need to confirm a couple of prompts and restart your computer once it is over.
When everything is done, launch the application and allow it to compile a list of processes. The default list shows all processes in your computer but you can narrow it down to connected ones only. Click on Edit > Settings, go to the UI Settings tab and check the “Show only online process” box. Before you leave, you may also want to change the traffic unit to KB or MB as both are more helpful when analyzing your network activity.
Now that you are all set up, look at the application and you will see a lot of processes that are connected to the Internet but may not actually use any bandwidth as they are only really activated when needed. Clicking on the “Incoming” category will allow you to look at the top applications in the bandwidth feast department which is what you are probably interested in anyway. NetBalancer’s list should be pretty easy to understand for anyone as the apps that eat up all your bandwidth will be very obvious.
Once you have determined which applications are causing the problem, you can start applying restrictions so that they do not cause problems for your other programs. Just right-click on the offending items and set limits to both their download and upload priorities and NetBalancer will automatically restrict them. Choosing the “Limit” option will open the “Edit Priority” panel which you can use to quickly manage both download and upload priorities and limits.
Finally, NetBalancer has an optional system tray icon and an equally optional overlay, both of which monitor your network’s performance in real time. The two tools are incredibly useful when you are experiencing latency issues as they can help you determine exactly when something goes wrong in your connection. The best way to use the utilities is to instantly check the main NetBalancer interface when you see the download or upload speeds grow instantly so that you can easily see which application is using that much bandwidth.
With all that said, there are a couple of things to note here. First of all, you may find that the problematic service is a Windows one which may well indicate a virus in your system. Should that happen, instead of placing restrictions on a system service, you should consider running a deep scan with your antivirus program to make sure that your PC does not have a malware infection. Windows services should generally stay untouched as restricting their connection might cause even more issues. The same could be said for some third-party apps too but limiting their bandwidth usage merely means they will perform slower, especially if the app in question is something like a file-sharing program.