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I know about vnstat and that tracks over the hour/day/months. I would like to see the network speed right now. As in for a duration of a second or at most a minute. Kind of like how top can show me the current CPU usage.

How might I check that? My port is not called eth0, it's em2, so I hope that doesn't conflict with anything.

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For terminal-mode I'd suggest using either netwatch or jnettop.

If you're looking for a graphical (X11) option, you could use conky, torsmo (older than conky) or gkrellm.

If you want an extremely low-tech option, you could just use pv:

# tcpdump -w - |pv >/dev/null
tcpdump: listening on wlan0, link-type EN10MB (Ethernet), capture size 65535 bytes
2.77MB 0:00:44 [57.8kB/s] [                                                                              <=>           ]
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I think iftop is worth a try.

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