Modem lights for Send Data / Receive Data

June 10, 2014 at 05:37:54
Specs: Win 7
The external modems I have used for dial-up connections had
LED lights to indicate when data was being sent or received.
In addition, older versions of Windows had software modem
lights for SD / RD in the System Tray, called lights.exe, which
was located in the Windows folder. (It's in Windows 98 SE.)

I now have a broadband connection to the Internet. It uses a
wireless 4G cellular connection. I connect to the modem with
an Ethernet cable. Lights beside the Ethernet connectors
flicker, apparently indicating some kind of constant activity,
though it isn't clear to me yet what it means. The lights are on
the back of the computer and the back of the modem where I
can't see them unless I make a deliberate effort to look. Maybe
I could put mirrors behind them....

The new modem does not have the equivalent of SD / RD lights.
There is one light that shows it is connected to the Internet, and
five which indicate the signal strength. I really would like to know
when I'm sending and when I'm receiving. Is there an equivalent
to the old lights.exe that works for broadband?

-- Jeff, in Minneapolis


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#1
June 10, 2014 at 07:01:38
To be fair, I doubt whether it is worth putting such lights on as the speed at which data moves over broadband is probably faster than a light - either a hardware or software one, can keep up with. There are software programs around that can monitor your data - a quick Google found this one: http://codebox.org.uk/bitmeterOs.

"I've always been mad, I know I've been mad, like the most of us..." Pink Floyd


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#2
June 10, 2014 at 07:26:18
+1 johnr

Having flashing modem / router sent and recieved data lights could cause some undue concern because the nature of technology nowadays means devices constantly send packet requests for minute bits of information which means although the data transfer is minimal the lights would almost flash constantly.

Needing to know network traffic that is passing through your device(s) is a very good habit to get into. If it is for multiple devices it can get tricky outside a server environment. If you are accessing the Internet with the one device, good news is it is much easier. There are plenty of programs that can let you at a glance see if data is being sent and received. Most will even keep a tally so you can see how much and even let you set alerts when you have reached set limits.

Here is a piece of software that has a heap of options and at a glance you can see network traffic sent and received by glancing at the system tray (bottom right by the clock for windows machines). It also lets you set limits and keeps a total of data sent and received. Works with Windows and is freeware:

http://www.snapfiles.com/get/networ...


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#3
June 10, 2014 at 09:44:26
The lights you can see on the back of the computer and the back of the Modem are Ethernet link lights. They light up as soon as there is a physical connection at ether end of the Ethernet cable. They are there to check that the hardware is working correctly. The fact that they flash when data is flowing is just incidental.

The lights will flicker constantly as the two Ethernet devices are constantly talking to each other via handshaking signals even when there is no data being transmitted. This is not dependant on any network software or drivers.

Stuart


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#4
June 10, 2014 at 10:53:18
johnr
> To be fair, I doubt whether it is worth putting such lights on as the
> speed at which data moves over broadband is probably faster
> than a light - either a hardware or software one, can keep up with.

I figured that. The modem lights and the on-screen lights weren't
quite synchronized, but they were close. I assumed that at least the
software version was averaged out to some extent.

I would want something that would be visible for maybe a quarter
of a second or longer if any data at all is sent or received.

btk1w1
> Having flashing modem / router sent and recieved data lights could
> cause some undue concern because the nature of technology
> nowadays means devices constantly send packet requests for
> minute bits of information which means although the data transfer
> is minimal the lights would almost flash constantly.

I figured that, too. I would expect that actual "data" sent from or
received by the computer would be the only things activating the
SD / RD indicators, and the handshaking in order to set up and
maintain the connection would be ignored. However, there should
never be anything sent from the computer once the connection is
made unless I tell a program to send it.

StuartS
> The lights you can see on the back of the computer and the
> back of the modem are Ethernet link lights. They light up as
> soon as there is a physical connection at ether end of the
> Ethernet cable.

I'd say "both ends" rather than "either end". Your way sounds more
articulate but is ambiguous.

StuartS
> They are there to check that the hardware is working correctly.
> The fact that they flash when data is flowing is just incidental.

I don't understand that. Just incidental??

The flashing clearly doesn't indicate sending or receiving of any
data packets, since it flashes continually . On the modem, it looks
like very slow Morse code of a single, very short word being sent
over and over. Odd, but not the first thing for me to investigate.

-- Jeff, in Minneapolis


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