If you want to find out how fast you are downloading or uploading in Windows, you will notice that it is not really that easy to find out. While some third party programs display those information to you in their interface, Windows itself seemingly does not make available any of those information to you directly.
NetTraffic is a free alternative for Windows that you can use to display the bandwidth utilization of a network adapter.
Note: NetTraffic requires the Microsoft .Net Framework 2.0.It adds a single icon to the Windows system tray that is highlighting if upload or download bandwidth are used currently. When you hover over the icon, the current upload and download speed is listed in a small notification window.
A click opens the traffic graph that stays there until you click it away again. The always on top graph highlights the upload and download bandwidth in absolute numbers and as a graph. You can disable the always on top nature of the window though if you want with a right-click and the selection of Always on top in the context menu. Here you can also open the program's preferences.
The application uses all network interfaces by default. If you only want to monitor one or some, you can modify that here in the preferences. Here you can also modify the update interval which is set to 1000ms by default and change the colors that are used to paint the chart information on the screen.
The statistics window displays several interesting information. It not only displays the yearly, monthly, daily and hourly bandwidth utilization of the selected network adapters, but also a prognosis and average values.
You need to run the network traffic monitor for a while on the system as the accuracy will increase significantly over time.
The statistics window offers charts as well that you can make use of to display the traffic utilization for a given time frame in the window. Information can be displayed as graphs or in a table, with options to export data into an xml file.