Skip to main content

It's an Awesome Analog Network Meter

If you're looking for a "retro" way to monitor local network data transfer speeds, the Arduino-based MegaBitMeter (or MBitMeter) may be your ticket, offering the traditional needle-based meter mounted in a metal stand.

The device began as a working ammeter found in an amateur radio tossed aside in a junk box. However the resulting analog network meter features a faceplate cut from a piece of black anodized metal, and scale labeling etched into the metal using a 50W CO2 laser. The device uses an Atmega328 on a Arduino Nano board to monitor and relay the network connection.

The analog meter also features a stainless steel stand designed and cut with a 50W CO2 laser using SolidWorks, and then bent by hand and polished. Expanding on the idea, a wooden stand could have made for a more country, old-fashioned look. Then again, a additional mounting bracket would have been nice too, allowing users to remove the stand and throw the meter onto the side of a PC or even in the wall.

Of course, users may only max out the meter when hooked up to a true gigabit Ethernet--maybe NASA or a secret government facility out in Nevada--but chances are home network users on older systems will barely move the needle at all. Still, the network meter is a unique idea, and we'd like to see similar analog gadgets like an internal temperature gauge, CPU monitor, memory monitor--heck, we want a whole dashboard of these things.