If you ever worked with Mikrotik routers, you probably got used to 'simple queuing', a very simply manageable list of IP->speed rules. I guess other router OSes have something similar, for those who have never seen any, I link a screenshot: http://wiki.mikrotik.com/images/3/3d/Queue.jpg

Now, this concept is pretty easy and staightforward, and my boss (who started a mid-sized local ISP) was using this for shaping customer traffic ever since. Now we came to a point where mikrotik simple queues no longer scale, mostly because of 3 reasons:

  • any machine we tried isn't capable to work with more than ~2500 rules, especially with speeds reaching above 300Mbit.
  • the main problem - as the network is mostly wireless, we would like a tool that can automatically measure if there's some latency or packetloss happening somewhere, and prioritize/limit traffic so the wireless connection isn't stressed anymore.
  • we would like to somehow effectively distribute spare bandwidth (esp. during nights) to users that will appreciate that, but holding the traffic aggregated to guaranteed speeds when there's peak.

I've gone through the obvious routing software (vyatta, bird,...), but found nothing interesting enough. I'm asking whether there's some free software with such capabilities; and if not, whether anyone here has some experience with those (expensive) Cisco/Juniper/Allot/similar QoS blackboxes and could refer if those can actually help me.



  • cool post guys, mastershaper looks like a good idea to work with it sounds more network-performance based. I've used cisco and vyatta on production for all sorts of stuff. i wouldnt switch a cisco device with a pc based application because of the reliability unless i couldnt do otherwise. But vyatta has allways been better in terms of performance. I did a benchmark once a cisco 2811 vs vyatta on an old dual xeon. Cisco would go 100% on the cpu once it reaches a certain packet rate or go wirespeed 100mbit/sec, Vyatta wouldnt reach 4% of the cpu on wirespeed (1GBit ) and that included the pppoe
    – user76036
    Mar 27 '11 at 14:39

The Linux kernel - by default - supports traffic shaping.

Shorewall can do traffic shaping and has WebMin support, it seems. Maybe try something like this, or search the internet for "webmin traffic shaping linux".


Try master shaper..


http://www.mastershaper.org/shaper2/index.php Username: demo Password: demo

  • looks working good, but doesn't seem really ready for "enterprise" :(
    – user58072
    Oct 24 '10 at 9:42

OpenBSD's packetfilter PF has ALTQ wich is known to be a very robust and good solution for QoS.

The pFsense firewall is a good starting point to test it out (make sure you use the stable 1.x version)


Don't know if you have the functionality in Linux, but FreeBSD has dummynet, which is very flexible. An easy way of getting the functionality of this is to set up a m0n0wall server or device - basically a router/firewall with lots of very stable functionality. You can put your server behind this, and use m0n0wall to do all kinds of traffic shaping.

Installing m0n0wall on a low end server (or even an old desktop) would get you a lot of what the high end network devices you list give. To support more rules etc, you would need a better hardware of course. The m0n0 docs talk about maximising throughput. I've not seen any tests confirming it, but the principles will probably be helpful to you.

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