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Chapter 9. Queueing Disciplines for Bandwidth Management

Now, when I discovered this, it really blew me away. Linux 2.2/2.4 comes with everything to manage bandwidth in ways comparable to high-end dedicated bandwidth management systems.

Linux even goes far beyond what Frame and ATM provide.

Just to prevent confusion, tc uses the following rules for bandwith specification:

mbps = 1024 kbps = 1024 * 1024 bps => byte/s
mbit = 1024 kbit => kilo bit/s.
mb = 1024 kb = 1024 * 1024 b => byte
mbit = 1024 kbit => kilo bit.
Internally, the number is stored in bps and b.

But when tc prints the rate, it uses following :

1Mbit = 1024 Kbit = 1024 * 1024 bps => byte/s

9.1. Queues and Queueing Disciplines explained

With queueing we determine the way in which data is SENT. It is important to realise that we can only shape data that we transmit.

With the way the Internet works, we have no direct control of what people send us. It's a bit like your (physical!) mailbox at home. There is no way you can influence the world to modify the amount of mail they send you, short of contacting everybody.

However, the Internet is mostly based on TCP/IP which has a few features that help us. TCP/IP has no way of knowing the capacity of the network between two hosts, so it just starts sending data faster and faster ('slow start') and when packets start getting lost, because there is no room to send them, it will slow down. In fact it is a bit smarter than this, but more about that later.

This is the equivalent of not reading half of your mail, and hoping that people will stop sending it to you. With the difference that it works for the Internet :-)

If you have a router and wish to prevent certain hosts within your network from downloading too fast, you need to do your shaping on the *inner* interface of your router, the one that sends data to your own computers.

You also have to be sure you are controlling the bottleneck of the link. If you have a 100Mbit NIC and you have a router that has a 256kbit link, you have to make sure you are not sending more data than your router can handle. Otherwise, it will be the router who is controlling the link and shaping the available bandwith. We need to 'own the queue' so to speak, and be the slowest link in the chain. Luckily this is easily possible.


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