Traffic Shaping useful for home broadband connections?

  • Is traffic shaping useful for home broadband connections?

    Because traffic shaping can only occur on outbound packets, the only control we have is sending packets to the ISP and not incoming packets (eg. downloading).

    The problem that I have (and most people) is that when I'm downloading a file it consumes my entire download bandwidth and then nobody on the home network can use the internet, etc.

    On top of that, residential cable modems have fluctuating throughput and bursts of speed (ie. Comcast Powerboost).

    Is it really possible to to perform useful traffic shaping for home broadband connections?

  • Well, your control over DL is obviously less useful than UL, as you point out.  Most people use shaping so that, for example, voip will not be mangled outbound by other traffic.  Shaping inbound so that one stream can't monopolize the inbound is non-trivial.

  • What about using the traffic shaper for limiting bandwidth?

    I'm pretty sure this is possible but how does that work?  Does it just stop sending ACK packets so the sender slows the connection?  (I thought I read this is bad to do and can cause problems…?)

    If nothing else I think it would be useful to limit the bandwidth of certain computers during certain hours, etc.

  • Actually, traffic shaping works both ways even if installed at one side of the link for any application that has flow control (like everything over TCP).

    A traffic shaper will take all incoming packets (with or without data - including TCP acks) and will release it according to the bandwidth min/max/priority policies that were set. This way, for example, ISPs can shape uploads with nothing installed at the subscriber home.

    Azi Ronen - The Broadband Traffic Management Blog -

Log in to reply