Broadband users, take heed of the DU Meter. Its sage advice can help you ensure you're getting the most out of your broadband connection, as well as keeping within whatever download or upload limits your ISP might employ.
At its most basic, DU Meter is an animated line graph that displays the bandwidth you're using for uploads and downloads, in real time, in a small floating window. (Vista users can also install a gadget for the Sidebar that does almost everything the standalone application can do.) But DU Meter also can alert you when your total bandwidth usage--upstream or downstream--exceeds a limit you can configure, over either a short or long time period. For example, you can choose to have the program alert you if you exceed a set monthly download allotment, and/or you can set up alerts that warn if you've used a configurable amount of bandwidth within the past few seconds, minutes, hours, or days.
With its ability to monitor and track both immediate bandwidth usage and longer-term usage trends, DU Meter can save you a lot of time and trouble, especially in a day and age when some broadband ISPs are cracking down on some customers for what the ISPs consider excessive downloading.