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Controlling Your Household Download Usage

by Geoff Searle

Most people can understand the hassle of a shared Internet connection. If you have kids or flatmates, one of them might be using a significant portion of your total quota, sending you on a fast track to shaped speeds for the rest of the month. I have been asked the question more than once, ‘is there any way to manage quota and stop my child/flatmate/spouse/etc from using it all and leaving us shaped for the month?’

The best place to tackle the problem is at the router where the connection is made. However, this is not a feature found on most routers intended for home use, so it might be worth evaluating whether or not you’d like to sink a bit of cash and time into setting up a new network and hardware solution.

Home users looking for a simple solution have a few options available to them with web filtering being the most common. Web filtering can reduce or prevent access to the Internet, including specific sites that take up a lot of bandwidth. This can be done through software or hardware.

A Software solution: This is where an application is installed on a computer to monitor and actively filter access to the Internet. A good example of bandwidth monitoring software is Netlimiter. It comes available as a free edition that provides basic monitoring as well as a more advanced version that can provide additional bandwidth restriction and filtering functions at a minimal purchase cost.

There are also conventional filtering software solutions available which focus more on site filtering for children. We have more information specific to Internet filtering on our website.

The issue with using software solutions is that they need to be installed on individual computers and protected to prevent them being disabled.

Filtering in your router: Some routers have features for site filtering, firewall configuration or parental controls. While specifics will depend on the model of router in use, here is an example of how to set up your BoBLiteTM:

–    In the address bar of your Browser type 10.1.1.1
–    Log into the router with ‘admin’ as the default password
–    Select ‘Advanced settings’ at the top of the page
–    Select ‘Access control and parental control tools’ on the left
–    You will find four options for filtering available

It’s pretty straightforward to set up website filtering for your entire network. Individual computer filtering on the other hand will be a bit more involved as it requires the setup of fixed IP addresses for individual computers.

These options may not be a complete solution for controlling bandwidth over a home network, restricting access can help with controlling quota usage. In the end, these options will give you at least some say in how much bandwidth is being used in your house and you might just avoid having your Internet shaped when you need it the most.

6 comments

  1. Aaron says:

    Please don’t show my dad this…

  2. Ibard says:

    I use Netlimiter to ensure my missus and her farmville doesn’t impact on my online gaming experience.

    Works a treat.

  3. Robyn Coran says:

    does the software you advise about, prevent all the kids in the neighbourhood, using my internet connection to log into with their damn iphone`s and internet ready mobiles. Have had to unplug my modem and phone so much, as people keep ringing my home number thinking I am selling some car on, gumtree, quokka, and trading post. I couldn`t find the advert for the subaru, but people kept telling me it was there… some advise would be great? does changing to a Bob change that, and make my computer safer from being hacked?

    • Geoff Searle says:

      Hi Robyn,

      This sounds more like a wireless security issue, I would recommend giving support a call, they can walk you through securing the wireless on you connection. The sooner the better.

  4. givenup says:

    The best way to control usage is not to turn the computer on. No matter how many programs you have installed to monitor downloads, NONE will ever equal the 100% always correct never to be doubted measurement process in place at iiNet

  5. Disodium says:

    Untangled is another good easy to use software based solution is: http://www.untangle.com/Lite-Package and the standard package is free..

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