Bandwidth thief!

Last month I got ‘shaped’ – almost two weeks of excruciatingly slow internet – it was horrible. My ISP’s usage page only gives a total, not day by day, but I’ve never gone close before so it was a bit of a surprise. I got a daily report from the ISP and it didn’t tell me much – no pattern I could follow anyway.

October was a new month, I was going to keep a close eye on things. I installed the delightful Net Usage Item plugin for Firefox, but was dismayed as I watched 20% of my bandwidth disappear in 3 days. I could account for about 400Mb – a couple of downloads I’d been putting off until I got my speed back – but 700+Mb was still unaccounted for. I suspected all sorts of things, but none of it really added up, so tonight I sat down with a couple of tools to find out what I could.

The first shock was my network traffic – almost a constant 50 Kilobytes per second! – 180Mb per hour… yikes!

Quick, download Little Snitch and work this out. Obviously something that’s using that much bandwidth will also be using a fair chunk of CPU, so it wasn’t hard to narrow it down… actually, I got it first go… Agent. That’s right – quit the app and the network practically flatlines.

Bandwidth grab 1

Start it up and the network goes ballistic again!

Bandwidth grab 2

So, what’s going on here? I don’t care much, I’ve removed Google Desktop for a start! I’m guessing that disabling the ‘index Gmail’ option in the app would probably have had the same effect, but I’m in no position to mess with my bandwidth this month – I definitely don’t want to be shaped again!