In Part 1, I looked at how pfSense could be used to monitor and control bandwidth use. But not everyone is up for installing and learning an open source router distro, no matter how powerful it might be. So this time, we will look at two Linksys routers that you can purchase off-the-shelf to limit bandwidth for both incoming and outgoing traffic.
All Linksys consumer-grade routers have simple priority-based QoS controls. But, unfortunately, they only work on outgoing traffic flowing from your LAN to the Internet. This can help to manage the small uplink pipe that most of us get from our "broadband" ISPs. But it will do nothing to control heavy downloaders or streamers. For that, you have to fork over a bit more money to step up to Linksys' small business routers.
We previously reviewed the RV042 and RVL200, both of which provide bandwidth controls in both directions. The RV042's Bandwidth Management features include both Rate Control and Priority methods, but you can't mix the two.
Figure 1: Linksys RV042 4-Port VPN Router
The RVL200 includes all of the RV042's Bandwidth Management features. But it also adds a variety of QoS services, including the ability to prioritize traffic queues based on Class of Service (CoS) and Differentiated Services Code Point (DSCP) markings.
Figure 2: Linksys RVL200 4-Port SSL/IPSec VPN Router
My focus here is on getting bandwidth use under control as quickly and easily as possible. So I'm only going to cover the Bandwidth Management features of both products. Figure 3 shows the Bandwidth Management screen, which is under the System Management menu on the RV042 and the QoS menu on the RVL200.
Figure 3: RV042 Bandwidth Management screen
The RV042 has two WAN ports and you get independent bandwidth control on both ports. The Service selector comes pre-populated with common services such as FTP, HTTP and Telnet, but not gaming or P2P apps. For any applications that aren't in the list, you click the Service Management button, enter the port range and select TCP or UDP protocol, or select IP and enter a protocol number (Figure 4).
Figure 4: Service Management screen
After you select the service, you enter a single IP or range of IPs that the restriction applies to, and select the Upstream or Downstream direction. You then enter the Minimum and Maximum limits in Kbits/sec, check the Enable box and click the Add To List button. Nothing takes effect, however, until you click the Save Settings link at the bottom of the page, which you may have to scroll down to see, so it's easy to miss.