This is part 2 of our ongoing list of the most important reasons why a DD-WRT Router is beneficial to your Internet usage experience. For a full introduction to this series check out the first part Best Benefits & Advantages of DD-WRT #1 – VPN Connectivity. Enjoy!
Quality of Service (QoS) is a way to set bandwidth relationships between individual applications or protocols. While some manufacturers offer a very basic (poor) QoS management tool with their routers, the DD-WRT flavor of QoS is extremely powerful and quite useful. Older Wireless G routers are very unlikely to have QoS settings available at all.
What QoS can do is set advanced rules allowing the prioritization of devices, computers, video game consoles and which get first crack and preference at the Internet bandwidth in a network.
According to the Wikipedia entry on Quality of Service:
Conventional Internet routers and LAN switches operate on a best effort basis. This equipment is less expensive, less complex and faster and thus more popular than competing more complex technologies that provided QoS mechanisms. There were four “Type of service” bits and three “Precedence” bits provided in each IP packet header, but they were not generally respected. These bits were later re-defined as DiffServ Code Points (DSCP) and are sometimes honored in peered links on the modern Internet.
Much like broadband Internet providers and wireless carriers shape their network to try and give all users a somewhat fair experience, a DD-WRT router offers controls to decide which programs (Netflix, Skype, uTorrent) and devices (iPad, Macbook Pro, Xbox 360) get priority treatment in utilizing the bandwidth that the provider has allotted.
Here is a quick breakdown for the best reasons for using QoS on a DD-WRT Router:
1. IP Address Prioirtization
Want to stop a child or family member from hogging all the network bandwidth, running Hulu, Pandora, AIM, Gmail and just about every program in existence simultaneously? Throttle their bandwidth through the network using QoS so it doesn’t bring the entire network to an overloaded halt!
2. Application Prioritization
Prioritizing streaming video can be a solution in preventing lag from sites like Hulu, Netflix and BBC iPlayer. Proper QoS settings can prevent an FTP, BitTorrent or Newsbin download from making Youtube videos jittery in response. Everyone hates when one program causes everything else on your computer to slow down but you can prevent that with QoS.
Tired of getting killed in Call of Duty or Halo due to Xbox 360 lag and latency issues? Pumping up the strength of the Xbox 360’s QoS priority can return you to the killing machine you should be.
For users who utilize Voice Over IP (VOIP) technologies like Skype and Vonage for their voice of video calls, prioritizing bandwidth to these programs is a must if you want to maintain a high level of quality for those services. To run optimally, these programs need minimum settings to work properly. For more specifics on VOIP issues like latency, jitter and packet loss, Voip-Info has an excellent breakdown of that information.
3. MAC Address Prioritization
A MAC address is a method of identifying users without using specific IP addresses. Using MAC address prioritization will allow for bandwidth controls if your network doesn’t use static IP addresses but are auto assigned by a DHCP through your router.
If you need assistance in learning how to setup the DD-WRT QoS settings, the basics are fully explained on the DD-WRT QoS Wiki page.
All FlashRouters come with DD-WRT built in, fully prepared for any tweaking and prioritizing needed to get your network running at peak performance.
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