At Interop in Las Vegas this week, eTelemetry announced the release of Metron, a network appliance that enables organisations to identify how much bandwidth any individual user or group of users is taking. According to the company, it works regardless of which IP address or computer they are on, and is one of a burgeoning range of products in the new but growing IP address management category.

Metron aims to fix the problem of finding out how the organisation's bandwidth is being consumed, since, according to eTelemetry, web surfing, IP phones, wireless handhelds, streaming video, remotely hosted applications, and other creative uses of the network are resulting in bandwidth challenges for many organisations.

The system has two key benefits. It follows users' bandwidth usage in real time and can track how much time each person has spent web surfing or chatting - information that could prove useful for line managers. Additionally, it allows bandwidth usage charge-back by IT profit centres to individual departments.

The system can also be used to assist compliance with regulations such as Sarbanes-Oxley and HIPAA. The network-passive system maintains a history of all IP addresses and workstations plus who was online and at what times.

Metron builds on the features of eTelemetry's existing Locate appliance, of which Metron is a superset. Locate provides network managers with what the company calls "the people layer" by dynamically correlating in real time a network user’s name, contact information, IP address, computer’s unique hardware (MAC address) and switch port. Personal identifying information is also gathered on those who are not registered users of the network.

CTO Alan Schunemann said: "This is our first step toward business activity monitoring."

Metron will be available from 15 August 2006.