I recently bought a second wireless router for several reasons, but one of them was to control how my kids connect to the Internet. First, I wanted to limit how much bandwidth they could use in a given period of time. After that, the internet connection would go down and they had to ask me if they wanted to reconnect.
I set it up so that normal browsing and streaming works fine, but if they started bulk uploading movies or something crazy I would quickly figure it out as the bandwidth limit was quickly exceeded. Fortunately, my Netgear router has built-in traffic limiting and bandwidth limiting functionality.
First, log into your router using a web browser and the Netgear Smart Wizard web interface should appear:
Now scroll down the left pane and find Traffic Meter under Advanced.
On newer versions with Netgear Genie, you need to first click on the Advanced tab, then Advanced Setup and you will find the traffic counter at the bottom.
The first thing you need to do is enable the traffic counter by checking the box at the very top.
Then you have two options: limit the bandwidth by volume, that is, in megabytes of data per month, or limit it by time. To control connection time, it will only work for PPPoE, PPTP and L2TP connections. So it’s better to use the traffic volume control of your choice. By default, it is set to Unlimited, so the router will record the usage of traffic passing through the router. You can leave it that way if you just want to record bandwidth statistics and not limit your internet usage.
Otherwise, click on the dropdown and you will see that you can only limit downloads or uploads and downloads (in both directions):
In my case, I just wanted to limit the number of downloaded files, so I chose “Download only”. If you want to limit the download size, select “Both directions”. If you select “Both directions”, the amount of downloaded and sent data will be counted against the monthly limit in MB. After that, you need to enter a number for the monthly data limit. It might be a good idea to first turn on the traffic meter and see how much bandwidth is being used for a week or two, then determine the monthly limit. If you don’t know how much data you are using during normal activity, you can set the limit too high or too low.
After that, there are a couple more options to configure:
In the “Traffic counter” section, you need to select the time and day to reset the traffic counter. It’s up to you and doesn’t really matter if you remember it yourself. In the Traffic Control section, you can now choose whether you want to actually turn off your internet connection when the limit is reached, or if you just want to display a warning message and / or turn on one of the LEDs on the router flashing green and yellow. Since I never look at my router, the blinking LED was not very useful to me. Disconnecting the internet connection is exactly what I wanted to do.
That’s all! As soon as you return to the page, you will see traffic statistics for your internet connection at the bottom:
Please note that this is only internet traffic, not local traffic. Therefore, if you copy a file from one computer to another on the same network, and it goes through the router, it will not register this in the monthly limit and will not count it in traffic statistics. Enjoy!