View Full Version : Home network question: allocating bandwidth
02-24-2005, 10:40 PM
I've searched through my router's user manual and found nothing about this, so i thought i'd ask for the Dopers' help.
We're running two computers on a home network. The router is a Linksys BEFW11S4 wireless router, and both computers (one ethernet, one wireless) run XP Home. We're on Verizon DSL 768k.
The other day, i was downloading some large articles in pdf format from my university's database. My wife called up to me from where she was browsing the web on the couch, and asked why her connection was so slow. I told her that i was downloading some large files, and that everything would be back to normal in a couple of minutes.
But this got me to wondering whether there is any way, with a network like this, that i can set a minimum or maximum bandwidth allocation for each computer on the network. For example, i would like to be able to set each computer an allocation of at least, say, 150-250kbps, so that if a similar situation arises and one of us is downloading large files, the other person will still have plenty of bandwidth to comfortably browse news sites, the Dope, email, etc.
As i said, i couldn't find anything about this in the router manual. Does anyone know if this is possible, and how i might go about it?
02-24-2005, 11:07 PM
It's possible, but I doubt that you could do it with your current router, or any low-priced home type router.
It is possible to do all sorts of neat tricks if you are willing to build your own router. All you need is a PC, a couple of Ethernet cards and Linux. It doesn't have to be a modern or expensive PC, so it's an ideal use for a PC that is sitting idle because it is too old and slow for current commercial software.
See http://www.linuxdevcenter.com/pub/a/linux/2000/08/24/LinuxAdmin.html for a good overview of traffic shaping with Linux.
02-24-2005, 11:39 PM
All you need is a PC, a couple of Ethernet cards and Linux
In fairness, that's not "all" you need. This is a big project for someone just starting off. For the right person, this is a lot of fun.
A minor technical note, there's no reason this can't be done with only one ethernet card in the device. The box can handle way more than double the traffic than even the largest home internet pipe can provide, so you can set it up as a lollipop. (I'm not suggesting that's the absolute best choice, just that it's possible and worth considering).
02-25-2005, 01:53 AM
Well, blow me down. Obviously my sense of the technical sophistication required for this project was a little bit off. I assumed that this might simply be a matter of some minor tweaks to the router or my network settings. Looks like it's more complicated than that, though.
Thanks for the help. I think we'll just stick with the set-up we've got.
02-25-2005, 02:23 AM
...so you can set it up as a lollipop...For some reason, I've never come across this term before, but isn't it a great one? - I knew exactly what you meant straight away.
02-25-2005, 03:12 AM
That is a fun one, isn't it?
02-25-2005, 07:06 AM
Well, blow me down. Obviously my sense of the technical sophistication required for this project was a little bit off. I assumed that this might simply be a matter of some minor tweaks to the router or my network settings. Looks like it's more complicated than that, though.It's not all that hard. On fancier routers sold for business use, it IS as simple as a few keystrokes or mouse-clicks. But those sell for multi-hundred dollars.
To keep the cost down on home gear, where price is king, specifications one-upsmanship second, and real features maybe number 43 in people's buying decisions, bandwidth throttling feaures get left out.
We had another thread about this a month or so ago, and somebody who works for Linksys said they wold be releasing a SOHO router with that feature in a few months. As more people are using their broadband for video, streaming, etc., the demand for so-called QOS features in the home market is now big enough to warrant including those features (for an extra $50 in the first models & extra $5 18 months later).
03-02-2005, 03:09 PM
In case anyone's interested, i sorted out a software workaround for my problem.
I installed the Leechget (http://www.leechget.net/en/) download manager* on our computers, and we now use it for downloading large files.
In Leechget, you can set your user profile to allocate how much bandwidth is used for downloading, and i've set each of our profiles for about 50 kilobytes per second (~400kbps), or just over half of the total bandwidth. That way, if one of us is downloading large files, we still have over 300kbps to share for regular browsing.
* I did a fair bit of looking around before making a choice. Leechget seemed to get the best ratings because it's free (at least in basic form), and is apparently not riddled with adware and spyware the way that some other DL managers are.
03-02-2005, 11:32 PM
For a possible hardware solution, there is a wireless router that is made for gamers to maintain a connection if all your roomates get greedy and take your bandwidth. I don't know if it is possible to edit or set minimum or maximum bandwidth setting, but it would make sense. (Just saw a review of the router in maximum pc)
03-03-2005, 12:24 AM
Thanks for the tip. Actually, in my current financial situation, a free software solution is about all i afford.
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