How can I restrict data usage on my network per-user?
Question by Adam Sandler /

How can I prevent users, whom I’ve authorized to use my wifi network, from overshooting their data usage limit. Suppose if I have a 20GB/month braoadband plan and there are five users using it, how can it be ensured that each of them only gets to use 4GB worth of data and not beyond?

Or is there any application available that would let me track their usage in the name of their computer’s MACId / IP Address?

And the Modem Router in question here is the TP-Link W8961ND.

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Answers (8)
  • Nevzat Akkaya

    You can also use a server (be it Windows or Linux server) and define user caps on user configuration.

  • Peter Norkawich

    First of all, are you sure you want all of these management headaches? If so, it can be done in several ways depending upon your network equipment. With Cisco gear, the management of bandwidth can be done at the port level, address or MAC Address level or, in the case of Internet bandwidth at the firewall.

    This can be a major nightmare from a management point of view. Microsoft can provide a disk usage limit per user.

    • Adam Sandler

      Need details, on how a normal everyday user can do all of that.
      We have a modem router that is plugged into the telephone line to get the broadband access.

  • Bruce Epper

    NetLimiter will work if all of the usage is on a single machine and it is configured in such a way that other users cannot terminate the application/process.

    I you want a more effective means of establishing a usage quota, you would be better served setting up a proxy server and only allowing internet traffic to run through that machine. This way, everyone needs to log into the proxy server to get to the internet and all traffic can be logged. The server itself is normally capable of making sure quotas are not exceeded by either throttling usage as it approaches the defined limit or by not allowing any further traffic from the user in question until the usage monitor has been reset. The limits can be established by the hour, day, week, or month in most cases.

    You should check on the Sophos UTM Home Edition. It used to be the Astaro Security Gateway and is available free. You just need to have a spare computer to run it on. It may have a relatively easy quota mechanism already there for you for WiFi access.

    • Adam Sandler

      We got no spare computers to run that application on. Can you suggest another way round?
      the priority is just to keep a track(log of total data usage) of every device that connects to the WiFi network and accesses the internet, even if we can’t set a limit.
      I just need to know who used how much.


  • ha14

    How to reliably limit the amount of bandwidth your room mate or bad office colleague uses

    NetLimiter – Ultimate Bandwidth Shaper

    some modern routers have bandwidth distribution limiting capabilities built in

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