Net time tracker

Track your online time and bandwidth use in various countries with this free add-on.

Net Usage Item is a free Firefox add-on that tracks Internet usage and displays it in Firefox's interface as a percentage and a progress bar. It can help users carefully monitor their access time or bandwidth, which can be critical to avoiding fees and penalties for exceeding your quota or subscription. The only trouble with it is that it probably doesn't support your ISP or even your country, unless you live in Australia, New Zealand, India, Belgium, Canada, Portugal, Poland, or Ukraine. Many Internet users enjoy unlimited access or even broadband and don't need to keep tabs on their time online. Net Usage Item isn't for them. But if it supports your country and ISP, it offers a surprising amount of options for configuring your connection type and parameters as well as your account settings.

We accessed Net Usage Item's options from Firefox's add-ons manager. The program's settings dialog let us choose a country and ISP from drop-down lists, or disable the extension. We could also set our user name, password, and time and select AutoRefresh intervals. We sampled a wide range of ISP settings in various countries. Most required just a logon and password, yet others had specific requirements like quotas, modem settings, and bandwidth limits. Net Usage Item is Australian in origin, and it offers by far the most comprehensive selection of Australian ISPs. Some countries offered one or two ISPs; Canada, for instance, only supports Videotron. The extension places a small icon in Firefox 4's address bar that displays detailed information when you hover your cursor over it--assuming, of course, your ISP is compatible. You can access the settings anywhere, not just inside supported countries, though of course you must still be able to connect to the network from your PC.

Now, we installed and tried this extension in two different countries. Unfortunately, Net Usage Item supported neither. However, we were impressed with the range of settings for the supported ISPs, and we can see how it could make a difference for the many users worldwide who have to closely monitor their connections.

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