… for Random Weirdness

Tip #160: Measure Mac Network Performance

Discover what your REAL network speeds are.

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Hidden in Applications > Utilities is a powerful measurement tool called: Activity Monitor.

  • Type Shift + Cmd + U to open the Utilities folder. Double-click Activity Monitor to start the app.

Activity Monitor allows us to measure current activity in five key areas:

  • CPU
  • Memory (RAM)
  • Energy
  • Disk (local storage)
  • Network (both Internet and other network-connected devices)

Click the Network tab at the top. The Network pane shows how much data your Mac is sending or receiving over your network. You can use this information to identify which processes are sending or receiving the most data.

The information at the bottom of the Network pane shows total network activity across all apps. The graph moves from right to left and updates at the intervals set in View > Update Frequency. While the graph also includes a pop-up menu to switch between showing packets or data as a unit of measurement, I tend to display data, because it is the most relevant statistic when working with media. (Database users generally monitor I/O operations.)

Blue shows either the number of packets received per second or the amount of data received per second. Red shows either the number of packets sent per second or the amount of data sent per second.

In this screen shot, the computer is receiving (reading) 131 MB/second of data and sending (writing) 2.95 MB/second.


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