How to install and use bmon - Real time bandwidth monitor in Linux

Maintaining a network also means maintaining its bandwidth. Bandwidth leak will lead the network to users complain and may impact to slow response from application. On Linux system, we can use a tool called bmon to monitor the bandwidth in real-time.

What is bmon

Bmon or Bandwidth Monitoring is a tool that intended for debugging and monitor bandwidth in real-time access. This tool is capable to retrieving statistics from various input modules. It provides various output methods including a curses based interface.


On my Zorin OS which based on Ubuntu 13.04, I can install it by typing :

$ sudo wajig install bmon

This will install bmon instantly. But bmon version on this Ubuntu 13.04 is 2.0.103. While the latest version at the time this article is written is version 3.1.

In this article, we will use the latest version. This version only available in tar.gz format. Here are the steps to install it.

1. Download the latest version from Carisma website


2. Extract it

$ tar zxfv bmon-3.1.tar.gz

3. Go the the extracted folder

$ cd bmon-3.1

4. Compile and install bmon

$ ./configure
$ make
$ sudo make install

Error messages :

If you have some errors that we had, this may help you.
Please note that we are using Ubuntu based distribution. This steps might be different with other Linux distribution.

No CONFUSE library

Error confuse library

To solve this error, install libconfuse library.

$ sudo wajig install libconfuse-common libconfuse-dev libconfuse0

No LIBNL library

Error LIBNL library

Error LIBNL Route library

To solve those errors, install LIBNL library.

$ sudo wajig install libnl-3-200 libnl-30200-dbg libnl-3-dev libnl-route-3-dev

More detail about LIBNL library can be found at bmon website :

Run bmon

After bmon installed, we can run bmon by typing bmon in the terminal.

Bmon main page

With no option, bmon will run in default curses mode. Bmon graph is divided into some parts.

  • The first row show us the available interfaces, receive transmit and transfer transmit. This rows is represented by l letter which mean list view.
  • The second row is graphical statistics. If the graph is not showing, you can press g button.
  • The third row show us the detailed statistics of receive and transfer activity.
  • And the fourth row show us the additional information.

To get some help how to operate bmon, press question mark button (?).

bmon help page

We also can run bmon with options. Here are some options about bmon.

Set input modules

bmon has some input modules. There are netlink, proc, dummy and null.
To define it by yourself, we can use -i option. For example, if we want to use input from /proc/net/dev file, we can type :

$ bmon -i proc

Set output modules

bmon has some output modules. There are curses, ascii, format and null. By default, bmon will use curses as the output. If we want to use ascii output, we can type :

$ bmon -o ascii

To get help about ascii modules, type :

$ bmon -i ascii:help

bmon ascii help page

Set specific interface to display

To do this, we can use -p option.

$ bmon -p eth0

With this option, bmon will only list the eth0 interface. If you put eth*, then will list all interface with pattern eth0, eth1 until ethX.

Bmon page

Set read interval

By default, bmon will statistics every 1 seconds. If we want to change it, we can use -r option. Say we want to change it into 10 seconds, we can run bmon with :

$ bmon -r 10


bmon can be a handy tool for debugging and monitor bandwidth in realtime mode. This program is light and easy to use. As usual, we can always type man bmon or bmon --help to display its manual page and explore it more detail.

Pungki Arianto 3:00 am

About Pungki Arianto

Pungki , currently working as a Linux / Unix administrator for a banking company. He love to work in Linux / Unix since it's fun for him. He is also interested in information technology, information security and writing.

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