How to Monitor Network Connections using Python

Level of difficulty: Intermediate

Whether you are a network administrator or a computer buff, having a Python network monitor to track network traffic is a must in every toolkit. With its powerful cross-platform Python programming language, Python network monitoring apps can make network administration and troubleshooting a breeze. However, if you are new to Python programs, then you need to know the basics of operating this kind of software.

Materials Needed:
- Winpcap library tool
- Python-based network monitor
Step 1
The first step to using a Python-based network monitor is finding the right one. Although they all share the same Python programming backbone, not all Python monitors are created equal. Some high-end Python network monitors offer superior features and performance, but they can also be a drain on computer memory and are a bit expensive. On the other hand, there are also Python-based monitoring tools such as the GNOME Network Monitor that are free of charge but offer only the basic network monitoring features. It is recommended to do your research on the Web on these network monitoring apps to find out what is compatible with your computing lifestyle and your computer's requirements.
Step 2
Some Python monitoring programs need to have the Winpcap network capture library tool. If during installation, the setup asks you to install Winpcap, click the 'Yes' or 'OK' button.
Step 3
After you have found, downloaded, and installed your Python network monitoring tool, run its main EXE file. The main window should automatically pop up.
Step 4
The next step is to select the adapter which you want to monitor. For basic network monitoring, select either 'Generic Dial-Up' and 'VPN Capture' or the 'Microsoft Packet Scheduler'. After making your selection, click the 'OK' button.
Step 5
Click the 'Start' or 'OK' button. The program should automatically display the programs contributing to the network traffic on your system. If not, check the settings and make sure you have selected the appropriate adapter to your machine.
Step 6
To check the details of a network process, simply left-click on the running process or right-click on it and select 'Properties'.
Step 7
To stop a process from creating traffic, click on the 'Stop' button. Be careful when terminating a network process as it may cause the computer to become unstable or stop working. To resume the process, click 'Resume' or run its executable file again.
Step 8
Most Python network monitoring applications also have a History or Log feature that records all the network traffic that has occurred upon monitoring. To open it, simply look and click the 'History' or 'Log' button.