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  1. #1
    Newbie
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    Jan 2021
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    Default The art of the possible? (Limit bandwidth cap by device)

    I did some reading on the forum here and unfortunately I wasn't able to find the answer to my problem/question and wanted to know if it's even possible.

    Basically data caps are becoming an issue for me, Comcast recently implemented a cap that I am exceeding. Upon looking at what is using some much data, it's streaming apps that are on 4k TVs. Netflix for example offers very limited options for limiting data usage, specifically I can limit an account to SD quality which uses only .3GB an hour, or I can let it go 4K which is up to 7GB per hour, there is no option to limit it to HD which is closer to 3GB per hour usage.

    So what I would like to do is throttle the connection to the TV itself so that all streaming services on it will simply adjust themselves accordingly, is this possible? I don't want to cap the data per hour because that will mean 4K to start then quality will drop, I want to just throttle the devices connection.

    I'm open to other solutions as well but the perfect scenario would be that I can limit connections to multiple 4K TVs in the house to a speed that only supports 1080 (HD) quality and then when I feel like watching something that would actually benefit from 4K I can just bypass the rule in Untangle.

  2. #2
    Untangler
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    May 2008
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    352

    Default

    Just a wild guess. Maybe you could put them in vlans and limit that speed?
    Last edited by donhwyo; 01-28-2021 at 11:02 AM.

  3. #3
    Untangler
    Join Date
    Aug 2019
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    49

    Default

    What about using Policy Manager?

  4. #4
    Newbie
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    Jan 2021
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    Default

    I'll look into both of these suggestions! Vlans could definitely be a simple solution here since it's really just specific devices I'm trying to limit, and I'm not worried about someone violating a rule this is just for my own home network.

    Policy manager I'm not familiar with but I'll take a look.

    Appreciate the input!

  5. #5
    Master Untangler CMcNaughton's Avatar
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    Feb 2015
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    Denver, CO
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    Default

    First, welcome to the forums! Second, these answers are good and you could try a couple of different things. The Bandwidth Control app can be different for everyone via policies, so you could have a "4k TVs" policy that has a quota to throttle the device(es) if ___ amount of data per hour/day/etc. gets exceeded. The other way would be to just have a "4k TVs" VLAN with some Bandwidth Control rules (or you can just tag your devices, like I do at home, then set up BC rules by tag). Have fun throttling and quota'ing!

  6. #6
    Untangle Ninja jcoehoorn's Avatar
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    Mar 2010
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    York, NE
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    Default

    I need to lead off saying it isn't just Untangle that has this problem... competing products do this the same way, with the same failings.

    That out of the way, the problem is Bandwidth Control and and other traffic shaping tools are still rooted in traditional Quality of Service (Qos) networking concepts. Traditional Quality of Service isn't really about bandwidth management. It assumes if you need to download 4GB worth of material, you're gonna (eventually) need the full 4GB, no matter what kind of data it is: game installer, movie for offline viewing, email attachment, zip archive, streaming video, FaceTime call, whatever. If it's 4GB in size now, it'll be 4GB in size later and doesn't change. That is, traditional QoS techniques don't actually try to save any bandwidth.

    QoS took this assumption and still managed to make things better with the idea it doesn't matter to you whether the 4GB game download takes 9 minutes or 13 minutes... it's on the same order, where you've got time to go get coffee either way. But the streaming content does matter to you, because a delay can cause buffering and jitter. Therefore, the streaming content should be prioritized over the large static downloads, and in this way you can effectively handle both needs.

    The other thing to understand about traditional QoS is it doesn't really function in terms of individual streams or devices. Rather, it only targets entire categories of traffic. Oh, and there are only about 7 different categories (QoS levels) you can assign to: Very High, High, Medium (default), Low, Limited, and Limited Severely.

    The modern adaptive streaming approach renders these assumptions obsolete. Now, streams will adapt based on bandwidth available. If you're having problems watching the 4GB stream in 4K, the service will automatically adjust down to HD and may only use 2GB; likely you won't even notice, and 2GB of total traffic is saved. If you prioritize streaming content for QoS, suddenly what would have been a 2GB download at standard HD adjusts to want 4GB of 4K quality video. Therefore traditional QoS used together with modern adaptive streaming increases your bandwidth needs, because the priority grant means it's more likely to adapt a stream bitrate up during light periods than down during periods of congestion. But failing to use QoS can cause the streaming content not to function at all, because the buffering and jitter come back. We're stuck between a rock and a hard place here.

    Furthermore, traditional QoS lacks the ability to effectively target individual devices or streams. If you set a bandwidth limits to match the needs of a single HD stream, you fail because all the streaming content in your network shares this same limit. As soon as two devices end up streaming at the same time suddenly they only have half the bandwidth available each for their streams because they're both in the same category, sharing the same limit, and quality really suffers.

    In your case, this means even if you made a separate policy for your each of your TVs that sets them at a priority with a download limit corresponding to standard HD (not 4K) streams, they still ultimately all end up sharing the same limit, and the separate policies don't help. As soon as two devices start watching video at the same time, you're stuck.

    I'd love to be proved wrong here, but I unfortunately have yet to see a modern bandwidth control product that does better, on any platform. I think there's an opportunity for Untangle to differentiate themselves in the market and build something that handles modern adaptive streaming in a better way, especially as HTTPS and DoH make their core filtering product increasingly ineffective.

    I know it's possible to build such a product, because all the major cellular carriers offer "unlimited" data plans, where streaming video is throttle to (usually) 480p, and this is handled per video rather than for the entire category in their network. But I've yet to see it offered at the small network level.

    Hmm... I need to go turn this into a blog post.
    Last edited by jcoehoorn; 01-29-2021 at 09:54 AM.
    Armshouse and Graytin like this.
    Five time Microsoft ASP.Net MVP managing a Lenovo RD330 / E5-2420 / 16GB with Untangle 16.2 to protect 500Mbits for ~450 residential college students and associated staff and faculty

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