How to Use Your Router to Limit People's Internet Usage

By Rebecca Mecomber

As more Internet service providers impose bandwidth caps on accounts, you may want to control or restrict Internet usage to certain times of the day and to certain applications. Many major router manufacturers provide the means to control Internet usage with the "Quality of Service (QoS)" or "Internet Access Policy" features. With QoS enabled, you can manually control upstream bandwidth for certain devices, or even prioritize certain computers and applications more than others. To restrict Internet usage to a certain period of time and to particular websites and applications, utilize the router's Internet Access Policy, if available.

QoS Utility

Step 1

Open your Web browser and type the IP address of your router to access the administrative interface. Check the underside or back of your router to determine the IP address; the IP for most routers is 192.168.1.1 or 192.168.0.1. Log in to your router's administrative interface with the default username and password specified by the manufacturer.

Step 2

Navigate to the QoS feature on the router. For a Linksys router, click the "Applications and Gaming" tab and click "QoS." For a Netgear router, click "QoS" under "Advanced" in the side panel. Click "Enable" or "Setup QoS mode."

Step 3

Create your QoS policy by adding a new rule for each computer or Internet application. For example, if you want to restrict bandwidth usage for a particular online game played on all devices in the network, click the drop-down menu under "Category" for Linksys routers or "Priority Category" for Netgear routers. Select "Online Games" or "Online Gaming" from the list and set the priority. A low priority means that the game will receive lower bandwidth speeds compared to other games and applications currently active on the network. To prioritize one computer over all other computers in the network, select "MAC Address" from the menu, specify the MAC address of the computer to be prioritized and select "High" in the list.

Click the "Apply" or "Save Settings" button.

Internet Access Policy

Step 1

Open your Web browser and type the IP address of your router to access the administrative interface. Check the underside or back of your router to determine the IP address; the IP for most routers is 192.168.1.1 or 192.168.0.1. Log in to your router's administrative interface with the default username and password specified by the manufacturer.

Step 2

Navigate to the Internet Access policy utility on the router. Click the "Access Restrictions" tab and the "Internet Access Policy" button. Type in a name for this policy, such as "Dorm Room" or "Children's Policy." Click "Enabled" to activate the feature.

Step 3

Click the "Edit List" button to add the MAC addresses of the devices you want to restrict. You can create a time schedule, block websites by URL addresses, block application ports and more.

Click "Save Settings."

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