Upon opening up the box for the WebGauge Router, it becomes clear that New Zealand company WebGauge has simply rebranded some ASUS RT-N12 routers; the original packaging has simply been turned inside out and a “WebGauge” sticker has been placed over the ASUS branding on the device itself. No matter, for WebGauge has added some data-monitoring functionality to ASUS’ offering. By simply registering your router at www.webgauge.co.nz and assigning “IDs” to the devices using your network, you can monitor exactly how much data the individual users and devices are using. It’s a brilliant solution for everything from student flats to small businesses that can take all the second guessing and finger pointing out of your internet data allocation. The WebGauge online hub monitors the data used by each registered device for any given month and displays it in an easy-to-understand manner.
It should be simple to integrate the WebGauge Router into your existing network setup in most cases. I had a few difficulties owing to my computer (and its association with my existing wireless modem/router) refusing to cooperate, but the team at WebGauge was able to talk me through the complexities.
The system is not completely fool proof, though, and there are a couple of potential loopholes. Firstly, every device that uses the network must be registered on the system in order for it to work properly, and, as such, an honesty system of sorts comes into play. If a flatmate lets a friend connect to your home network, this device (and any data used by it) will be labelled simply as “unknown”. Secondly, if a connected device doesn’t have a Web browser to allow it to register (for example, an Xbox 360), it will also initially show up as “unknown”. If many such devices exist in your household, you’ll have to make sure you add and then identify them methodically, one by one, or else there’s the potential for confusion.
PROS: A great way of monitoring and proactively curbing heavy download habits, staying within your data caps and keeping your broadband bills to a minimum.
CONS: Requires a fairly well-regimented registration and honesty system.
VERDICT: For simple PC- and smartphone-based networks, the WebGauge Router system is a great way of leaving you under no illusions as to the internet data allocation. Things can get complicated, though, if the system isn’t strictly regimented and moderated.