Distributed Mode Overview

Introduction

Distributed mode provides traffic shaping capabilities on networks that have no central computer. A common scenario is a home network that uses a hardware router rather than a server to provide internet to the clients.

Using the product in this mode allows you to keep network traffic spread evenly between the computers on the network without the need for an extra server computer to perform traffic shaping.

Overview

Distributed mode works by running a lightweight server on each computer on the network. The computers communicate with each other forming a mesh that allocates an equal amount of bandwidth to each client. This is all done transparently to the end-user with no configuration needed during operation.

In this way it does not require a central computer to provide bandwidth management for the network. Each client computer cooperates by sending out usage information at regular intervals, updating the other computers on the network. This information is gathered by all computers and traffic allocation data is sent back to each client, preventing it from using too much bandwidth.

Installation

To set up a distributed mode network you must run the setup program on each computer on the network. Choose Server Package for all machines and uncheck the Client Package option. The client package should only be installed on the administrator's computer for remote management of the clients.

Because the clients are in constant communication with each other, it is important to open the appropriate network ports to allow the data to pass through. The following ports should be opened on each computer:

  • 24824 TCP - Remote Management.
  • 24825 TCP - Allocation data.
  • 24826 UDP - Peer discovery.

Configuration

After installing the Server Package on each of the computers, log into one of the computers using the Manager Application. The manager is part of the Client Package.

After connecting to the computer you will be asked to provide information about the internet speed and network adapters. Ensure this is filled in correctly as it is important for the operation of the product.

Once you have configured the internet speed, it will be automatically sent to all other computers on the network, so it is not necessary to configure it for each client. On the other hand, network adapter information is particular to each computer so you must configure it for all clients. You should find that the adapter orientations are automatically detected during installation preventing the need to configure each computer.

Bandwidth Allocation

Once the internet speed and adapter settings are completed, the computers will form a mesh and allocate bandwidth evenly to each computer on the network. It is not necessary to create any rules in distributed mode because all of the allocation is done automatically.

In some cases you may still wish to create rules for certain traffic types. When creating rules it is important to know that they affect only the computer that you are logged into. Rule information is not sent between computers in the mesh.

An example of when it may be necessary to create a rule in distributed mode is to give priority to a certain traffic type. For example if one of the computers on the network runs network intensive applications such as file sharing or downloads, but also wishes to play online games, you create a rule that gives high priority to the ports that the game uses.

Even though distributed mode allocates bandwidth evenly to each client, there are times when there is spare bandwidth available. If the internet is not being used at full speed then any left over bandwidth is spread between the active computers. Take the following example:

  • Computer A - Using 20% of the internet bandwidth.
  • Computer B - Using 20% of the internet bandwidth.
  • Computer C - Idle.

If Computer C starts a download it will be given the remaining 60% of internet bandwidth. This allows the internet resource to be used efficiently at all times. Users are never limited when there is spare bandwidth available.

If Computer A then starts downloading at a higher speed, bandwidth is taken away from Computer C until they are at the same speed (40% each in this case).

Disabling Distributed Mode

It is possible to disable distributed mode for a computer by stopping the service. This will prevent the computer from being limited. Note that this will have an impact on other machines that are cooperating in the distributed mode mesh.

To disable the service, open the Service Control Manager in Windows (Control Panel, Administrative Tools, Services). Right click the Bandwidth Controller Server service and select Stop.

The service can be restarted at any time and the computer will then join the distributed mode group automatically.

Further Information

Note that distributed mode supports a maximum of 5 computers in the mesh. If extra computers try to join the mesh they will be rejected. For larger networks we recommend using a central computer and running the product in gateway mode.

For more information on deployment, rules and configuration see: