Gadget Price

Network-watching gadget Monitor-IO chooses a graceful, owner-friendly death – Ars Technica

Monitor IO amidst various geeky things
Enlarge / The Monitor-IO in its natural environment, glowing green to let you know everything is consistent with the network it’s connected to.

Jim Salter

Monitor-IO was a gadget that did one thing: live near a router and tell you how its network was doing. It did so with both detailed reports that you could access over the local network and a screen that glowed in one of three colors: green for good, purple for trouble, and red for dead Replace, or at least extend, IP addresses into a browser and waiting for them to expire.

We liked the device when we reviewed it in August 2018, despite our broad understanding of it as a “butterpass robot,” a device that relays information you might otherwise figure out on your own. It had, beyond color-coded awareness, “obvious technical skill and genuine painstaking attention to detail” in the way it measured and what it could report. However, we also found that the $100 price tag makes sense for a small business, but “might be a bit steep” for a budget-conscious household.

Monitor-IO seems to have run out of people willing to pay for better network awareness. In an “end of service” notice posted on its website, the company cites “rising costs and supply chain issues” alongside “numerous headwinds.” As there is no better option, Monitor-IO will cease its business and monitoring service on April 15, 2023. (Support is offered until May 30, 2023.)

Does that mean monitor IO boxes are building blocks? Far from it. The company provides an SD card image (4GB minimum) that allows you to set up the device for life after Monitor-IO’s servers go down. The little box will still reach multiple IP targets to test your network’s speed and stability, but if you want to change its targets or make other changes, you can reach the box via SSH on your local network.

The Monitor IO fan base seems to have a lot more to do with the device based on the README for NetMonitor, the standalone system the company offers. It is a “standard Linux operating system” so you should consider running it on an uninterruptible power supply to avoid file corruption during power outages. Instead of the colorful and useful charts you would see when Monitor-IO’s servers were up and running, there is now a data file showing the last few test results. Don’t be surprised if someone eventually offers another, maybe updated, version of this system as a flashable image.

Monitor-IO also advises that all data will be wiped from its servers before shutting down.

‚ÄúThank you again for your support over the past few years. We hope you found the service useful. We are so sorry it had to end,” Monitor-IO wrote on its website.

It’s a polite, honest ending coupled with a good amount of help for their users after their business has ended.


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