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Manage bandwidth usage on Home Network with bandwidth cap

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September 11, 2013 1:33:10 PM

I rent a home to 5 college students. In order to be competitive with other rental properties internet has become a must have feature. Where I live the internet providers all have data cap limits. So I'm now facing a dilemma of trying to keep usage under control. The cap limit is 275GB per month.
For example this month on day 10 they are at 49% of the cap limit and based on daily average will go over by 141GB at a cost of $1 per GB they go over. That’s right $141 overcharge. 3 of 5 users are online gamers and use Steam and other services. So when a new game arrives it’s typically a 10 – 30GB download and the average daily usage on the internet seems to be about 2-3GB for the gamers.
So I’ve been trying to find a hardware solution by router or something with remote management that will allow me to see usage by MAC Address or login and allocate equal bandwidth and max usage limits per user. I would also like the option to block or throttle connections based on applications to avoid illegal downloading etc…..Standard QOS prioritizing I don’t think would be enough.
I have found open-mesh.ca as my most likely candidate based on cost and remote management capabilities but I don’t think it will control cap limits currently. I’m looking for any advice or suggestions. Your help is greatly appreciated.
September 11, 2013 2:10:11 PM

Depending on router, take a look at Gargoyle router firmware (Netgears Well Supported), it will do full bandwidth management by IP/MAC and full QOS.
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September 11, 2013 5:00:07 PM

There are a number of routers that will monitor traffic but it is normally over a short period of time maybe a couple days depending on how detailed. This is because it is all kept in memory and of course you lose power and it all gone.

Now if you just want to log it and then do something manually you could use dd-wrt and run whatever they call netflow. This will log every open tcp session to a external server but all you get out this is a report that you would have to manually take action on.

What you actually need is a firewall. I think sonicwall is a cheaper commercial device that has this function...been a while so I am not sure.

You can load the linux ubuntu firewall distribution. This has all the common router and firewall tools preinstalled. You would then place a dual nic machine in place of your router...you could use your router as a wireless AP.

It is said that you can load a lot of these linux tools into a larger router that has dd-wrt on it. The asus n66u is one that they use as example and you can write to a external usb flash. So far I have not been successful in this adventure but I suspect that is because of my lack of skill at line mode unix. It should just be a matter of either writing your own scripts or I would suspect someone has done this. I know I almost got MRTG which is a monitoring tool installed before I wiped it and started over.

As a general comment. To really do this you are going to have to implement something like radius on the wireless and 802.1x on the wired. We get lots of college students on this forum and it will not take them long to figure out how to change the mac or IP address.
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