Tech – for Everyone

Tech Tips and Tricks & Advice – written in plain English.

Restricting Roommates Internet Use – Continued.

Reader Asks What He Can Do To Prevent His Roommate’s Internet Use From Slowing His Down To Useless.

Q:Hi paul,
After reading your post on limiting your roommates’ bandwidth,
(How To Limit Your Roommate’s Bandwidth – And Keep More For Yourself.) I tried to do this in my dorm. Considering that lag is sometimes so extensive that it ruins my games and browsing. However I have a Thomson TG712 router, and from what I could discover online, it is quite hard to limit the bandwidth usage. So I would really appreciate if you could write a guide for that, or explain me how to do it.
Sincerely,
(name withheld)”

A: Dear Reader,
Let me start my answer by saying yours is a very “frequently asked” question. And, as your searching online has revealed, there’s no easy answer. I am going to ask that you return to the article, and look to the conversations in the Comments section – particularly, those with “Ash”.

(For example, in my reply to moble, I said, “But no.. there really is no way that I am aware of to choke down their kbps to a certain number. Hardware is designed to deliver maximum performance.“)

As far as I know, with our “consumer”-grade routers (and Wireless Access Points) about all you can do is:

• set your roommate’s machine to receive a “Low” QoS “priority”, and yours a “High” (as per the article’s How To) if your make/model router has the feature (most do).
[note: refer to your make/model router’s documentation for the exact steps/menu choices — these are often listed on the side of your router’s control panel, or can be found on the manufacturer’s website.]

• use Content Filtering/Access Control to completely block your roommate’s machine from accessing certain websites, using certain (high volume) protocols, and/or use at certain times of day.

• get your roomie to agree to install a program on their machine which will limit its Internet access.

• Pay your ISP for a higher level of (aka “upgrade”) of bits-per-second, so that you both get enough bandwidth. (Hopefully, your roommate will pay the difference..)

Also: I noticed your router’s wireless is a 54 Mbps “Wireless G” model. If you both are accessing the ‘net wirelessly, adding (or replacing the old with) a newer Wireless N router may give you both a better experience.

So, I remind you that I asked you to return to the article, (How To Limit Your Roommate’s Bandwidth – And Keep More For Yourself.) and look to the conversations in the Comments section – particularly, those with “Ash” (where dd-wrt is discussed…)

Today’s quote: “Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.”  ~ Thomas Edison

Copyright 2007-2011 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved.


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May 17, 2011 Posted by | advice, computers, hardware, how to, Internet, networking, routers, routers and WAPs | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Media Center Recordings Filled Disk

Someone called my biz asking for my help with a very slow computer that was also “acting odd”. Nothing unusual there, a lot of my calls start that way. What was unusual was that my investigations revealed that all the usual suspects were not at fault, and I really couldn’t detect anything “wrong” with the machine. That was unusual.

volume_props So I looked further and I found a possible culprit — their rather large hard drive was totally, absolutely, and completely full. Oops. Not good. I won’t bore you with the geek, but I will tell you that Windows needs “free space” in order to function properly.
My caller had none. Zip. Zero. Nada.

My questioning, and looking at the file system, revealed that the caller had set their computer to record their favorite television programs – much like a TiVo or DVR does – and had not really been too good about actually watching the recordings, or deleting them when finished with them. And Windows Media Center had just kept recording and recording…

Tip of the day: Limit the amount of space Windows Media Center can use for recordings, and prevent hard drive fill-up syndrome.

1) Open WMC and scroll the menu down to Tasks, and then left to Settings, as shown below.
WMC1

2) Scroll down to Recorder and then over to Recorder Storage.

3) Use the (minus) sign to reduce the Maximum TV limit number to a reasonable fraction of your available space. And then click Save.

To finish my caller’s story.. I deleted nearly 100 Gigabytes of recordings (some the caller couldn’t even remember setting the schedule for..) which gave Windows the free space it needed, and the machine started behaving like normal again. I then did the above steps so that it would not happen to them again.

Related links: Your hard drive, and the “file system” it contains, needs some routine maintenance to keep performing in tip-top form (often called “optimization”) and your computer comes with the tools (called “utilities”) you need to perform those maintenance tasks. I demonstrate those in this article: Revitalize Your PC With Windows’ Utilities*

Today’s free download: The tool I used to quickly analyze my client’s file system was WinDirStat (Windows Directory Statistics) which provides a graphical image of what size your files and folders are.. so you can quickly find the ginormous ones.

Copyright 2007-9 © Tech Paul. All rights reserved.jaanix post to jaanix

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November 24, 2009 Posted by | advice, computers, file system, how to, Microsoft, PC, performance, tech, troubleshooting, Windows | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Restrict Roommates Internet Use

Quick Tip — Use Your Router’s Advanced Features For Best Use Of Shared Connections

If you are in a house with multiple computers, and you want to restrict “the amount of Internet” those other machines use, you can use settings (aka “options”) in your router and give yourself #1 priority.

Today’s topic comes from a question from a (younger) fella who lives with roommates, and they all “share” his connection. Which is fine with him except for when their online activity slows down his surfing or online gaming.
So he wanted to know how to make sure he got “first dibs”. (Though I confess, he called it “more bandwidth”.)

Tip of the day: Use your router’s advanced abilities to limit other computers’ Internet usage.

1) Open your browser and access the router’s Control Panel. (for instructions, see Protecting-your-network – use-your-router-for-access-control)

qos.jpg

2) Find the Advanced Settings tab for “QoS” (Quality of Service).
On a Linksys router, that is under “Applications and Gaming”, but yours may have a different name.

3) Give your PC’s MAC Address a rating of “Highest”
* To get the MAC, open a command prompt (Start >Programs >Accessories) on your machine and enter “ipconfig /all” {no quotes}. Look for “Physical Address”. A MAC address will look like 01-23-45-67-8A-9B.

* Note: You might also want to set other machines to “low”.

4) Enable, Save, and exit.

That’s it, your done. Now your Internet “data packets” will go first, and any other Internet user will have to wait for your request to finish.

[note: there are some other priority tweaks you can make here too. Click on the image to see large version, and note my arrows.]

Today’s free download: EncryptOnClick is a very simple to use program that lets you securely encrypt and decrypt files… basically, with a click.

[addenda: You can further limit the amount of bandwidth your roommates use by setting keyword and website blocking that will cripple their P2P file downloading and video watching — the two biggest bandwidth hogs. The access control article (above) has the How To.]

Copyright 2007-9 © Tech Paul. All rights reserved. post to jaanix

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February 18, 2009 Posted by | advice, computers, hardware, how to, Internet, networking, performance, routers, routers and WAPs, tech, tweaks | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

How To Limit Your Roommate’s Bandwidth

And Keep More For Yourself.

Tip of the day: If you are in a house with multiple computers, and you want to restrict “the amount of Internet” those other machines use, you can use settings (aka “options”) in your router and give yourself #1 priority.

Today’s topic comes QoS from a question from a (younger) fella who lives with roommates, and they all “share” his connection.

Which is fine with him except for when their online activity slows down his surfing or online gaming.
So he wanted to know how to make sure he got “first dibs”. (Though I confess, he called it “more bandwidth”.)

You can think of today’s tip as a “tweak for better Internet speed”, if you’d like, though you’d be — technically– incorrect.

1) Open your browser and access the router’s Control Panel.

(See the first section, here: https://techpaul.wordpress.com/2007/11/16/protecting-your-network-use-your-router-for-access-control-repost/)

2) Find the Advanced Settings tab for “QoS”.
[note:
refer to your make/model router’s documentation for the exact steps/menu choices — these are often listed on the side of your router’s control panel, or can be found on the manufacturer’s website.] (On a Linksys, that is under “Applications and Gaming”)

3) Give your PC’s MAC Address a rating of “Highest”
(To get the MAC, open a command prompt and enter “ipconfig /all”.)

* You might want to set other machines to “low”.

4) Save and exit.

That’s it, your done. Now your data packets will go first, and any other Internet user will have to wait for your request to finish.

[note: there are some other priority tweaks you can make here too. Click on the image to see large version, and note my arrows. And you can further “block” access by time, type, keywords, etc. My How To is here.]

[UPDATE: reader discussion of this topic has prompted me to write a further article. See, Restricting Roommates Internet Use – Continued.]

Today’s free download: EncryptOnClick is a very simple to use program that lets you securely encrypt and decrypt files.

Copyright 2007-8 © Tech Paul. All rights reserved.jaanix post to jaanix

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October 24, 2008 Posted by | advice, computers, encrypting files, hardware, how to, routers, routers and WAPs, tweaks | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 28 Comments