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.

Kevin started taking PCs apart in the 90s when Quake was on the way and his PC lacked the required components. Since then, he’s loved all things PC-related and cool gadgets ranging from the New Nintendo 3DS to Android tablets. He is currently a contributor at Digital Trends, writing about everything from computers to how-to content on Windows and Macs to reviews of the latest laptops from HP, Dell, Lenovo, and more.