Block Streaming Media and Peer-to-Peer File Sharing

Last modified: April 3, 2012

On most networks a small number of users consume a high percentage of the total bandwidth.  Knowing which devices are eating up most of your bandwidth and limiting them can greatly increase your internet speed.

Typically, users who are hogging the network are doing one of these things:

  • Visiting streaming media websites, such as video-sharing websites (YouTube, Hulu), internet radio (Pandora, Spotify), and purveyors of HD movies (Netflix). HD movies are particularly a problem, consuming at times more than 1 megabyte per second!
  • Engaging in peer-to-peer file sharing,  with programs  such as BitTorrent and Limewire. These programs are so effective that a single user can choke an entire connection.

How to block streaming media

Blocking streaming media for a user or group of devices is easy.  Simply add the device to a group and set a rule that blocks the streaming media site or sites that are taking your bandwidth (see How to Block a Website).

How to block peer-to-peer file sharing

Unfortunately, blocking BitTorrent is extremely difficult.  BitTorrent can encrypt itself and mimic other types of legitimate data on the network like web traffic, making it hard to implement automatic blocking.

But don’t worry, hope isn’t lost!  EasyTomato makes it easy to identify which device is downloading large amounts of data (devices can’t hide that).  Once you know which device is using large amounts of bandwidth, talk with the person who uses it and explain how they are limiting everyone’s internet connection.

If talking doesn’t help, as a last resort you can always completely block the device from the internet (see Block a Device or Group from the Internet).