Q

How can I increase bandwidth at my Internet cafe?

I run an Internet cafe which has a bandwidth of only 256 Kbps and it is connected with DSL. I want add another provider to utilize Wi-Fi. Can I combine the two connection into one local area network?

Dealing with Internet cafe traffic is certainly not a simple task. My experience with Internet cafes has proven to me that their needs can be quite complex and special attention needs to be given when they are running lag sensitive applications such as games.

The good news is that there are ways to help deal with your bandwidth thirst, but you'll need to decide which way to go as there are quite a few alternatives.

Beginning from dedicated hardware devices, there are special machines placed usually between your Internet connection(s) and LAN, which manage the bandwidth amongst your clients.

One very popular device is called Packeteer – usually a 19 inch 2U slot with multiple interfaces and a powerful engine to help you prioritize your traffic. The downside of it is the price tag! You can obtain more information on this product by simply visiting their Website.

On the other hand, there is a software-based solution which seems to work well for anyone not willing to spend too much money for this service. Linux for example has traffic shaping already built into the kernel (IP route, TC filter and HTB Classes), so you don't even need to worry about obtaining the package.

The downside of this implementation is that it requires a lot of time to understand it if you're new to it, but I assure you its certainly worth it. You can find more information on Linux traffic shaping at www.Firewall.cx and www.opalsoft.net.

This was first published in September 2005

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