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Traffic Control HOWTO

Version 1.0.2

Martin A. Brown



"Oct 2006"
Revision History                                                             
Revision 1.0.2            2006-10-28           Revised by: MAB               
Add references to HFSC, alter author email addresses                         
Revision 1.0.1            2003-11-17           Revised by: MAB               
Added link to Leonardo Balliache's documentation                             
Revision 1.0              2003-09-24           Revised by: MAB               
reviewed and approved by TLDP                                                
Revision 0.7              2003-09-14           Revised by: MAB               
incremental revisions, proofreading, ready for TLDP                          
Revision 0.6              2003-09-09           Revised by: MAB               
minor editing, corrections from Stef Coene                                   
Revision 0.5              2003-09-01           Revised by: MAB               
HTB section mostly complete, more diagrams, LARTC pre-release                
Revision 0.4              2003-08-30           Revised by: MAB               
added diagram                                                                
Revision 0.3              2003-08-29           Revised by: MAB               
substantial completion of classless, software, rules, elements and components
Revision 0.2              2003-08-23           Revised by: MAB               
major work on overview, elements, components and software sections           
Revision 0.1              2003-08-15           Revised by: MAB               
initial revision (outline complete)                                          

  Traffic control encompasses the sets of mechanisms and operations by which
packets are queued for transmission/reception on a network interface. The
operations include enqueuing, policing, classifying, scheduling, shaping and
dropping. This HOWTO provides an introduction and overview of the
capabilities and implementation of traffic control under Linux.

� 2006, Martin A. Brown

      Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document
    under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.1 or any
    later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no
    invariant sections, with no Front-Cover Texts, with no Back-Cover Text. A
    copy of the license is located at []
Table of Contents
1. Introduction to Linux Traffic Control
    1.1. Target audience and assumptions about the reader
    1.2. Conventions
    1.3. Recommended approach
    1.4. Missing content, corrections and feedback
2. Overview of Concepts
    2.1. What is it?
    2.2. Why use it?
    2.3. Advantages
    2.4. Disdvantages
    2.5. Queues
    2.6. Flows
    2.7. Tokens and buckets
    2.8. Packets and frames
3. Traditional Elements of Traffic Control
    3.1. Shaping
    3.2. Scheduling
    3.3. Classifying
    3.4. Policing
    3.5. Dropping
    3.6. Marking
4. Components of Linux Traffic Control
    4.1. qdisc
    4.2. class
    4.3. filter
    4.4. classifier
    4.5. policer
    4.6. drop
    4.7. handle
5. Software and Tools
    5.1. Kernel requirements
    5.2. iproute2 tools (tc)
    5.3. tcng, Traffic Control Next Generation
    5.4. IMQ, Intermediate Queuing device
6. Classless Queuing Disciplines (qdiscs)
    6.1. FIFO, First-In First-Out (pfifo and bfifo)
    6.2. pfifo_fast, the default Linux qdisc
    6.3. SFQ, Stochastic Fair Queuing
    6.4. ESFQ, Extended Stochastic Fair Queuing
    6.5. GRED, Generic Random Early Drop
    6.6. TBF, Token Bucket Filter
7. Classful Queuing Disciplines (qdiscs)
    7.1. HTB, Hierarchical Token Bucket
    7.2. HFSC, Hierarchical Fair Service Curve
    7.3. PRIO, priority scheduler
    7.4. CBQ, Class Based Queuing
8. Rules, Guidelines and Approaches
    8.1. General Rules of Linux Traffic Control
    8.2. Handling a link with a known bandwidth
    8.3. Handling a link with a variable (or unknown) bandwidth
    8.4. Sharing/splitting bandwidth based on flows
    8.5. Sharing/splitting bandwidth based on IP
9. Scripts for use with QoS/Traffic Control
    9.1. wondershaper
    9.2. ADSL Bandwidth HOWTO script (myshaper)
    9.3. htb.init
    9.4. tcng.init
    9.5. cbq.init
10. Diagram
    10.1. General diagram
11. Annotated Traffic Control Links

1. Introduction to Linux Traffic Control

  Linux offers a very rich set of tools for managing and manipulating the
transmission of packets. The larger Linux community is very familiar with the
tools available under Linux for packet mangling and firewalling (netfilter,
and before that, ipchains) as well as hundreds of network services which can
run on the operating system. Few inside the community and fewer outside the
Linux community are aware of the tremendous power of the traffic control
subsystem which has grown and matured under kernels 2.2 and 2.4.

  This HOWTO purports to introduce the concepts of traffic control, the
traditional elements (in general), the components of the Linux traffic
control implementation and provide some guidelines . This HOWTO represents
the collection, amalgamation and synthesis of the []
LARTC HOWTO, documentation from individual projects and importantly the LARTC
mailing list over a period of study.

  The impatient soul, who simply wishes to experiment right now, is
recommended to the []  
Traffic Control using tcng and HTB HOWTO and [] LARTC
HOWTO for immediate satisfaction.


1.1. Target audience and assumptions about the reader

  The target audience for this HOWTO is the network administrator or savvy
home user who desires an introduction to the field of traffic control and an
overview of the tools available under Linux for implementing traffic control.

  I assume that the reader is comfortable with UNIX concepts and the command
line and has a basic knowledge of IP networking. Users who wish to implement
traffic control may require the ability to patch, compile and install a
kernel or software package [1]. For users with newer kernels (2.4.20+, see
also Section 5.1), however, the ability to install and use software may be
all that is required.

  Broadly speaking, this HOWTO was written with a sophisticated user in mind,
perhaps one who has already had experience with traffic control under Linux.
I assume that the reader may have no prior traffic control experience.

1.2. Conventions

  This text was written in [] DocBook ([http://] version 4.2) with vim. All formatting has
been applied by [] xsltproc based on DocBook XSL and 
LDP XSL stylesheets. Typeface formatting and display conventions are similar
to most printed and electronically distributed technical documentation.

1.3. Recommended approach

  I strongly recommend to the eager reader making a first foray into the
discipline of traffic control, to become only casually familiar with the tc
command line utility, before concentrating on tcng. The tcng software package
defines an entire language for describing traffic control structures. At
first, this language may seem daunting, but mastery of these basics will
quickly provide the user with a much wider ability to employ (and deploy)
traffic control configurations than the direct use of tc would afford.

  Where possible, I'll try to prefer describing the behaviour of the Linux
traffic control system in an abstract manner, although in many cases I'll
need to supply the syntax of one or the other common systems for defining
these structures. I may not supply examples in both the tcng language and the
tc command line, so the wise user will have some familiarity with both.


1.4. Missing content, corrections and feedback

  There is content yet missing from this HOWTO. In particular, the following
items will be added at some point to this documentation.

��*�  A description and diagram of GRED, WRR, PRIO and CBQ.
��*�  A section of examples.
��*�  A section detailing the classifiers.
��*�  A section discussing the techniques for measuring traffic.
��*�  A section covering meters.
��*�  More details on tcng.

  I welcome suggestions, corrections and feedback at <>.
All errors and omissions are strictly my fault. Although I have made every
effort to verify the factual correctness of the content presented herein, I
cannot accept any responsibility for actions taken under the influence of
this documentation.


2. Overview of Concepts

  This section will introduce traffic control and examine reasons for it,
identify a few advantages and disadvantages and introduce key concepts used
in traffic control.

2.1. What is it?

  Traffic control is the name given to the sets of queuing systems and
mechanisms by which packets are received and transmitted on a router. This
includes deciding which (and whether) packets to accept at what rate on the
input of an interface and determining which packets to transmit in what order
at what rate on the output of an interface.

  In the overwhelming majority of situations, traffic control consists of a
single queue which collects entering packets and dequeues them as quickly as
the hardware (or underlying device) can accept them. This sort of queue is a

Note The default qdisc under Linux is the pfifo_fast, which is slightly more 
     complex than the FIFO.                                                  

  There are examples of queues in all sorts of software. The queue is a way
of organizing the pending tasks or data (see also Section 2.5). Because
network links typically carry data in a serialized fashion, a queue is
required to manage the outbound data packets.

  In the case of a desktop machine and an efficient webserver sharing the
same uplink to the Internet, the following contention for bandwidth may
occur. The web server may be able to fill up the output queue on the router
faster than the data can be transmitted across the link, at which point the
router starts to drop packets (its buffer is full!). Now, the desktop machine
(with an interactive application user) may be faced with packet loss and high
latency. Note that high latency sometimes leads to screaming users! By
separating the internal queues used to service these two different classes of
application, there can be better sharing of the network resource between the
two applications.

  Traffic control is the set of tools which allows the user to have granular
control over these queues and the queuing mechanisms of a networked device.
The power to rearrange traffic flows and packets with these tools is
tremendous and can be complicated, but is no substitute for adequate

  The term Quality of Service (QoS) is often used as a synonym for traffic

2.2. Why use it?

  Packet-switched networks differ from circuit based networks in one very
important regard. A packet-switched network itself is stateless. A
circuit-based network (such as a telephone network) must hold state within
the network. IP networks are stateless and packet-switched networks by
design; in fact, this statelessness is one of the fundamental strengths of

  The weakness of this statelessness is the lack of differentiation between
types of flows. In simplest terms, traffic control allows an administrator to
queue packets differently based on attributes of the packet. It can even be
used to simulate the behaviour of a circuit-based network. This introduces
statefulness into the stateless network.

  There are many practical reasons to consider traffic control, and many
scenarios in which using traffic control makes sense. Below are some examples
of common problems which can be solved or at least ameliorated with these

  The list below is not an exhaustive list of the sorts of solutions
available to users of traffic control, but introduces the types of problems
that can be solved by using traffic control to maximize the usability of a
network connection.

Common traffic control solutions

��*�  Limit total bandwidth to a known rate; TBF, HTB with child class(es).
��*�  Limit the bandwidth of a particular user, service or client; HTB
    classes and classifying with a filter. traffic.
��*�  Maximize TCP throughput on an asymmetric link; prioritize transmission
    of ACK packets, wondershaper.
��*�  Reserve bandwidth for a particular application or user; HTB with
    children classes and classifying.
��*�  Prefer latency sensitive traffic; PRIO inside an HTB class.
��*�  Managed oversubscribed bandwidth; HTB with borrowing.
��*�  Allow equitable distribution of unreserved bandwidth; HTB with
��*�  Ensure that a particular type of traffic is dropped; policer attached
    to a filter with a drop action.

  Remember, too that sometimes, it is simply better to purchase more
bandwidth. Traffic control does not solve all problems!


2.3. Advantages

  When properly employed, traffic control should lead to more predictable
usage of network resources and less volatile contention for these resources.
The network then meets the goals of the traffic control configuration. Bulk
download traffic can be allocated a reasonable amount of bandwidth even as
higher priority interactive traffic is simultaneously serviced. Even low
priority data transfer such as mail can be allocated bandwidth without
tremendously affecting the other classes of traffic.

  In a larger picture, if the traffic control configuration represents policy
which has been communicated to the users, then users (and, by extension,
applications) know what to expect from the network.


2.4. Disdvantages


  Complexity is easily one of the most significant disadvantages of using
traffic control. There are ways to become familiar with traffic control tools
which ease the learning curve about traffic control and its mechanisms, but
identifying a traffic control misconfiguration can be quite a challenge.

  Traffic control when used appropriately can lead to more equitable
distribution of network resources. It can just as easily be installed in an
inappropriate manner leading to further and more divisive contention for

  The computing resources required on a router to support a traffic control
scenario need to be capable of handling the increased cost of maintaining the
traffic control structures. Fortunately, this is a small incremental cost,
but can become more significant as the configuration grows in size and

  For personal use, there's no training cost associated with the use of
traffic control, but a company may find that purchasing more bandwidth is a
simpler solution than employing traffic control. Training employees and
ensuring depth of knowledge may be more costly than investing in more

  Although traffic control on packet-switched networks covers a larger
conceptual area, you can think of traffic control as a way to provide [some
of] the statefulness of a circuit-based network to a packet-switched network.

2.5. Queues

  Queues form the backdrop for all of traffic control and are the integral
concept behind scheduling. A queue is a location (or buffer) containing a
finite number of items waiting for an action or service. In networking, a
queue is the place where packets (our units) wait to be transmitted by the
hardware (the service). In the simplest model, packets are transmitted in a
first-come first-serve basis [2]. In the discipline of computer networking
(and more generally computer science), this sort of a queue is known as a

  Without any other mechanisms, a queue doesn't offer any promise for traffic
control. There are only two interesting actions in a queue. Anything entering
a queue is enqueued into the queue. To remove an item from a queue is to
dequeue that item.

  A queue becomes much more interesting when coupled with other mechanisms
which can delay packets, rearrange, drop and prioritize packets in multiple
queues. A queue can also use subqueues, which allow for complexity of
behaviour in a scheduling operation.

  From the perspective of the higher layer software, a packet is simply
enqueued for transmission, and the manner and order in which the enqueued
packets are transmitted is immaterial to the higher layer. So, to the higher
layer, the entire traffic control system may appear as a single queue [3]. It
is only by examining the internals of this layer that the traffic control
structures become exposed and available.

2.6. Flows

  A flow is a distinct connection or conversation between two hosts. Any
unique set of packets between two hosts can be regarded as a flow. Under TCP
the concept of a connection with a source IP and port and destination IP and
port represents a flow. A UDP flow can be similarly defined.

  Traffic control mechanisms frequently separate traffic into classes of
flows which can be aggregated and transmitted as an aggregated flow (consider
DiffServ). Alternate mechanisms may attempt to divide bandwidth equally based
on the individual flows.

  Flows become important when attempting to divide bandwidth equally among a
set of competing flows, especially when some applications deliberately build
a large number of flows.

2.7. Tokens and buckets

  Two of the key underpinnings of a shaping mechanisms are the interrelated
concepts of tokens and buckets.

  In order to control the rate of dequeuing, an implementation can count the
number of packets or bytes dequeued as each item is dequeued, although this
requires complex usage of timers and measurements to limit accurately.
Instead of calculating the current usage and time, one method, used widely in
traffic control, is to generate tokens at a desired rate, and only dequeue
packets or bytes if a token is available.

  Consider the analogy of an amusement park ride with a queue of people
waiting to experience the ride. Let's imagine a track on which carts traverse
a fixed track. The carts arrive at the head of the queue at a fixed rate. In
order to enjoy the ride, each person must wait for an available cart. The
cart is analogous to a token and the person is analogous to a packet. Again,
this mechanism is a rate-limiting or shaping mechanism. Only a certain number
of people can experience the ride in a particular period.

  To extend the analogy, imagine an empty line for the amusement park ride
and a large number of carts sitting on the track ready to carry people. If a
large number of people entered the line together many (maybe all) of them
could experience the ride because of the carts available and waiting. The
number of carts available is a concept analogous to the bucket. A bucket
contains a number of tokens and can use all of the tokens in bucket without
regard for passage of time.

  And to complete the analogy, the carts on the amusement park ride (our
tokens) arrive at a fixed rate and are only kept available up to the size of
the bucket. So, the bucket is filled with tokens according to the rate, and
if the tokens are not used, the bucket can fill up. If tokens are used the
bucket will not fill up. Buckets are a key concept in supporting bursty
traffic such as HTTP.

  The TBF qdisc is a classical example of a shaper (the section on TBF
includes a diagram which may help to visualize the token and bucket
concepts). The TBF generates rate tokens and only transmits packets when a
token is available. Tokens are a generic shaping concept.

  In the case that a queue does not need tokens immediately, the tokens can
be collected until they are needed. To collect tokens indefinitely would
negate any benefit of shaping so tokens are collected until a certain number
of tokens has been reached. Now, the queue has tokens available for a large
number of packets or bytes which need to be dequeued. These intangible tokens
are stored in an intangible bucket, and the number of tokens that can be
stored depends on the size of the bucket.

  This also means that a bucket full of tokens may be available at any
instant. Very predictable regular traffic can be handled by small buckets.
Larger buckets may be required for burstier traffic, unless one of the
desired goals is to reduce the burstiness of the flows.

  In summary, tokens are generated at rate, and a maximum of a bucket's worth
of tokens may be collected. This allows bursty traffic to be handled, while
smoothing and shaping the transmitted traffic.

  The concepts of tokens and buckets are closely interrelated and are used in
both TBF (one of the classless qdiscs) and HTB (one of the classful qdiscs).
Within the tcng language, the use of two- and three-color meters is
indubitably a token and bucket concept.

2.8. Packets and frames

  The terms for data sent across network changes depending on the layer the
user is examining. This document will rather impolitely (and incorrectly)
gloss over the technical distinction between packets and frames although they
are outlined here.

  The word frame is typically used to describe a layer 2 (data link) unit of
data to be forwarded to the next recipient. Ethernet interfaces, PPP
interfaces, and T1 interfaces all name their layer 2 data unit a frame. The
frame is actually the unit on which traffic control is performed.

  A packet, on the other hand, is a higher layer concept, representing layer
3 (network) units. The term packet is preferred in this documentation,
although it is slightly inaccurate.

3. Traditional Elements of Traffic Control


3.1. Shaping

  Shapers delay packets to meet a desired rate.

  Shaping is the mechanism by which packets are delayed before transmission
in an output queue to meet a desired output rate. This is one of the most
common desires of users seeking bandwidth control solutions. The act of
delaying a packet as part of a traffic control solution makes every shaping
mechanism into a non-work-conserving mechanism, meaning roughly: "Work is
required in order to delay packets."

  Viewed in reverse, a non-work-conserving queuing mechanism is performing a
shaping function. A work-conserving queuing mechanism (see PRIO) would not be
capable of delaying a packet.

  Shapers attempt to limit or ration traffic to meet but not exceed a
configured rate (frequently measured in packets per second or bits/bytes per
second). As a side effect, shapers can smooth out bursty traffic [4]. One of
the advantages of shaping bandwidth is the ability to control latency of
packets. The underlying mechanism for shaping to a rate is typically a token
and bucket mechanism. See also Section 2.7 for further detail on tokens and

3.2. Scheduling

  Schedulers arrange and/or rearrange packets for output.

  Scheduling is the mechanism by which packets are arranged (or rearranged)
between input and output of a particular queue. The overwhelmingly most
common scheduler is the FIFO (first-in first-out) scheduler. From a larger
perspective, any set of traffic control mechanisms on an output queue can be
regarded as a scheduler, because packets are arranged for output.

  Other generic scheduling mechanisms attempt to compensate for various
networking conditions. A fair queuing algorithm (see SFQ) attempts to prevent
any single client or flow from dominating the network usage. A round-robin
algorithm (see WRR) gives each flow or client a turn to dequeue packets.
Other sophisticated scheduling algorithms attempt to prevent backbone
overload (see GRED) or refine other scheduling mechanisms (see ESFQ).

3.3. Classifying

  Classifiers sort or separate traffic into queues.

  Classifying is the mechanism by which packets are separated for different
treatment, possibly different output queues. During the process of accepting,
routing and transmitting a packet, a networking device can classify the
packet a number of different ways. Classification can include marking the
packet, which usually happens on the boundary of a network under a single
administrative control or classification can occur on each hop individually.

  The Linux model (see Section 4.3) allows for a packet to cascade across a
series of classifiers in a traffic control structure and to be classified in
conjunction with policers (see also Section 4.5).

3.4. Policing

  Policers measure and limit traffic in a particular queue.

  Policing, as an element of traffic control, is simply a mechanism by which
traffic can be limited. Policing is most frequently used on the network
border to ensure that a peer is not consuming more than its allocated
bandwidth. A policer will accept traffic to a certain rate, and then perform
an action on traffic exceeding this rate. A rather harsh solution is to drop
the traffic, although the traffic could be reclassified instead of being

  A policer is a yes/no question about the rate at which traffic is entering
a queue. If the packet is about to enter a queue below a given rate, take one
action (allow the enqueuing). If the packet is about to enter a queue above a
given rate, take another action. Although the policer uses a token bucket
mechanism internally, it does not have the capability to delay a packet as a 
shaping mechanism does.

3.5. Dropping

  Dropping discards an entire packet, flow or classification.

  Dropping a packet is a mechanism by which a packet is discarded.


3.6. Marking

  Marking is a mechanism by which the packet is altered.

Note This is not fwmark. The iptablestarget MARKand the ipchains--markare    
     used to modify packet metadata, not the packet itself.                  

  Traffic control marking mechanisms install a DSCP on the packet itself,
which is then used and respected by other routers inside an administrative
domain (usually for DiffServ).

4. Components of Linux Traffic Control




Table 1. Correlation between traffic control elements and Linux components
|traditional element|Linux component                                        |
|shaping            |The class offers shaping capabilities.                 |
|scheduling         |A qdisc is a scheduler. Schedulers can be simple such  |
|                   |as the FIFO or complex, containing classes and other   |
|                   |qdiscs, such as HTB.                                   |
|classifying        |The filter object performs the classification through  |
|                   |the agency of a classifier object. Strictly speaking,  |
|                   |Linux classifiers cannot exist outside of a filter.    |
|policing           |A policer exists in the Linux traffic control          |
|                   |implementation only as part of a filter.               |
|dropping           |To drop traffic requires a filter with a policer which |
|                   |uses "drop" as an action.                              |
|marking            |The dsmark qdisc is used for marking.                  |

4.1. qdisc

  Simply put, a qdisc is a scheduler (Section 3.2). Every output interface
needs a scheduler of some kind, and the default scheduler is a FIFO. Other
qdiscs available under Linux will rearrange the packets entering the
scheduler's queue in accordance with that scheduler's rules.

  The qdisc is the major building block on which all of Linux traffic control
is built, and is also called a queuing discipline.

  The classful qdiscs can contain classes, and provide a handle to which to
attach filters. There is no prohibition on using a classful qdisc without
child classes, although this will usually consume cycles and other system
resources for no benefit.

  The classless qdiscs can contain no classes, nor is it possible to attach
filter to a classless qdisc. Because a classless qdisc contains no children
of any kind, there is no utility to classifying. This means that no filter
can be attached to a classless qdisc.

  A source of terminology confusion is the usage of the terms root qdisc and
ingress qdisc. These are not really queuing disciplines, but rather locations
onto which traffic control structures can be attached for egress (outbound
traffic) and ingress (inbound traffic).

  Each interface contains both. The primary and more common is the egress
qdisc, known as the root qdisc. It can contain any of the queuing disciplines
(qdiscs) with potential classes and class structures. The overwhelming
majority of documentation applies to the root qdisc and its children. Traffic
transmitted on an interface traverses the egress or root qdisc.

  For traffic accepted on an interface, the ingress qdisc is traversed. With
its limited utility, it allows no child class to be created, and only exists
as an object onto which a filter can be attached. For practical purposes, the
ingress qdisc is merely a convenient object onto which to attach a policer to
limit the amount of traffic accepted on a network interface.

  In short, you can do much more with an egress qdisc because it contains a
real qdisc and the full power of the traffic control system. An ingress qdisc
can only support a policer. The remainder of the documentation will concern
itself with traffic control structures attached to the root qdisc unless
otherwise specified.

4.2. class

  Classes only exist inside a classful qdisc (e.g., HTB and CBQ). Classes are
immensely flexible and can always contain either multiple children classes or
a single child qdisc [5]. There is no prohibition against a class containing
a classful qdisc itself, which facilitates tremendously complex traffic
control scenarios.

  Any class can also have an arbitrary number of filters attached to it,
which allows the selection of a child class or the use of a filter to
reclassify or drop traffic entering a particular class.

  A leaf class is a terminal class in a qdisc. It contains a qdisc (default 
FIFO) and will never contain a child class. Any class which contains a child
class is an inner class (or root class) and not a leaf class.

4.3. filter

  The filter is the most complex component in the Linux traffic control
system. The filter provides a convenient mechanism for gluing together
several of the key elements of traffic control. The simplest and most obvious
role of the filter is to classify (see Section 3.3) packets. Linux filters
allow the user to classify packets into an output queue with either several
different filters or a single filter.

��*�  A filter must contain a classifier phrase.
��*�  A filter may contain a policer phrase.

  Filters can be attached either to classful qdiscs or to classes, however
the enqueued packet always enters the root qdisc first. After the filter
attached to the root qdisc has been traversed, the packet may be directed to
any subclasses (which can have their own filters) where the packet may
undergo further classification.


4.4. classifier

  Filter objects, which can be manipulated using tc, can use several
different classifying mechanisms, the most common of which is the u32
classifier. The u32 classifier allows the user to select packets based on
attributes of the packet.

  The classifiers are tools which can be used as part of a filter to identify
characteristics of a packet or a packet's metadata. The Linux classfier
object is a direct analogue to the basic operation and elemental mechanism of
traffic control classifying.

4.5. policer

  This elemental mechanism is only used in Linux traffic control as part of a
filter. A policer calls one action above and another action below the
specified rate. Clever use of policers can simulate a three-color meter. See
also Section 10.

  Although both policing and shaping are basic elements of traffic control
for limiting bandwidth usage a policer will never delay traffic. It can only
perform an action based on specified criteria. See also Example 5.



4.6. drop

  This basic traffic control mechanism is only used in Linux traffic control
as part of a policer. Any policer attached to any filter could have a drop

Note The only place in the Linux traffic control system where a packet can be
     explicitly dropped is a policer. A policer can limit packets enqueued at
     a specific rate, or it can be configured to drop all traffic matching a 
     particular pattern [6].                                                 

  There are, however, places within the traffic control system where a packet
may be dropped as a side effect. For example, a packet will be dropped if the
scheduler employed uses this method to control flows as the GRED does.

  Also, a shaper or scheduler which runs out of its allocated buffer space
may have to drop a packet during a particularly bursty or overloaded period.


4.7. handle

  Every class and classful qdisc (see also Section 7) requires a unique
identifier within the traffic control structure. This unique identifier is
known as a handle and has two constituent members, a major number and a minor
number. These numbers can be assigned arbitrarily by the user in accordance
with the following rules [7].


The numbering of handles for classes and qdiscs

      This parameter is completely free of meaning to the kernel. The user
    may use an arbitrary numbering scheme, however all objects in the traffic
    control structure with the same parent must share a major handle number.
    Conventional numbering schemes start at 1 for objects attached directly
    to the root qdisc.
      This parameter unambiguously identifies the object as a qdisc if minor
    is 0. Any other value identifies the object as a class. All classes
    sharing a parent must have unique minor numbers.

  The special handle ffff:0 is reserved for the ingress qdisc.

  The handle is used as the target in classid and flowid phrases of tc filter
statements. These handles are external identifiers for the objects, usable by
userland applications. The kernel maintains internal identifiers for each

5. Software and Tools


5.1. Kernel requirements

  Many distributions provide kernels with modular or monolithic support for
traffic control (Quality of Service). Custom kernels may not already provide
support (modular or not) for the required features. If not, this is a very
brief listing of the required kernel options.

  The user who has little or no experience compiling a kernel is recommended
to Kernel HOWTO. Experienced kernel compilers should be able to determine
which of the below options apply to the desired configuration, after reading
a bit more about traffic control and planning.

Example 1. Kernel compilation options [8]
# QoS and/or fair queueing                                                   

  A kernel compiled with the above set of options will provide modular
support for almost everything discussed in this documentation. The user may
need to modprobe module before using a given feature. Again, the confused
user is recommended to the Kernel HOWTO, as this document cannot adequately
address questions about the use of the Linux kernel.

5.2. iproute2 tools (tc)

  iproute2 is a suite of command line utilities which manipulate kernel
structures for IP networking configuration on a machine. For technical
documentation on these tools, see the iproute2 documentation and for a more
expository discussion, the documentation at [] Of the tools in the iproute2 package, the binary tc is the only
one used for traffic control. This HOWTO will ignore the other tools in the

  Because it interacts with the kernel to direct the creation, deletion and
modification of traffic control structures, the tc binary needs to be
compiled with support for all of the qdiscs you wish to use. In particular,
the HTB qdisc is not supported yet in the upstream iproute2 package. See 
Section 7.1 for more information.

  The tc tool performs all of the configuration of the kernel structures
required to support traffic control. As a result of its many uses, the
command syntax can be described (at best) as arcane. The utility takes as its
first non-option argument one of three Linux traffic control components, 
qdisc, class or filter.

Example 2. tc command usage
[root@leander]# tc                                                           
Usage: tc [ OPTIONS ] OBJECT { COMMAND | help }                              
where  OBJECT := { qdisc | class | filter }                                  
       OPTIONS := { -s[tatistics] | -d[etails] | -r[aw] }                    

  Each object accepts further and different options, and will be incompletely
described and documented below. The hints in the examples below are designed
to introduce the vagaries of tc command line syntax. For more examples,
consult the [] LARTC HOWTO. For even better
understanding, consult the kernel and iproute2 code.

Example 3. tc qdisc
[root@leander]# tc qdisc add    \ (1)                                        
>                  dev eth0     \ (2)                                        
>                  root         \ (3)                                        
>                  handle 1:0   \ (4)                                        
>                  htb            (5)                                        

(1)   Add a queuing discipline. The verb could also be del.
(2)   Specify the device onto which we are attaching the new queuing
(3)   This means "egress" to tc. The word root must be used, however. Another
    qdisc with limited functionality, the ingress qdisc can be attached to
    the same device.
(4)   The handle is a user-specified number of the form major:minor. The
    minor number for any queueing discipline handle must always be zero (0).
    An acceptable shorthand for a qdisc handle is the syntax "1:", where the
    minor number is assumed to be zero (0) if not specified.
(5)   This is the queuing discipline to attach, HTB in this example. Queuing
    discipline specific parameters will follow this. In the example here, we
    add no qdisc-specific parameters.

  Above was the simplest use of the tc utility for adding a queuing
discipline to a device. Here's an example of the use of tc to add a class to
an existing parent class.

Example 4. tc class
[root@leander]# tc class add    \ (1)                                        
>                  dev eth0     \ (2)                                        
>                  parent 1:1   \ (3)                                        
>                  classid 1:6  \ (4)                                        
>                  htb          \ (5)                                        
>                  rate 256kbit \ (6)                                        
>                  ceil 512kbit   (7)                                        

(1)   Add a class. The verb could also be del.
(2)   Specify the device onto which we are attaching the new class.
(3)   Specify the parent handle to which we are attaching the new class.
(4)   This is a unique handle (major:minor) identifying this class. The minor
    number must be any non-zero (0) number.
(5)   Both of the classful qdiscs require that any children classes be
    classes of the same type as the parent. Thus an HTB qdisc will contain
    HTB classes.
(6) (7)
      This is a class specific parameter. Consult Section 7.1 for more detail
    on these parameters.


Example 5. tc filter
[root@leander]# tc filter add               \ (1)                            
>                  dev eth0                 \ (2)                            
>                  parent 1:0               \ (3)                            
>                  protocol ip              \ (4)                            
>                  prio 5                   \ (5)                            
>                  u32                      \ (6)                            
>                  match ip port 22 0xffff  \ (7)                            
>                  match ip tos 0x10 0xff   \ (8)                            
>                  flowid 1:6               \ (9)                            
>                  police                   \ (10)                           
>                  rate 32000bps            \ (11)                           
>                  burst 10240              \ (12)                           
>                  mpu 0                    \ (13)                           
>                  action drop/continue       (14)                           

(1)   Add a filter. The verb could also be del.
(2)   Specify the device onto which we are attaching the new filter.
(3)   Specify the parent handle to which we are attaching the new filter.
(4)   This parameter is required. It's use should be obvious, although I
    don't know more.
(5)   The prio parameter allows a given filter to be preferred above another.
    The pref is a synonym.
(6)   This is a classifier, and is a required phrase in every tc filter
(7) (8)
      These are parameters to the classifier. In this case, packets with a
    type of service flag (indicating interactive usage) and matching port 22
    will be selected by this statement.
(9)   The flowid specifies the handle of the target class (or qdisc) to which
    a matching filter should send its selected packets.
      This is the policer, and is an optional phrase in every tc filter
(11)  The policer will perform one action above this rate, and another action
    below (see action parameter).
(12)  The burst is an exact analog to burst in HTB (burst is a buckets
(13)  The minimum policed unit. To count all traffic, use an mpu of zero (0).
(14)  The action indicates what should be done if the rate based on the
    attributes of the policer. The first word specifies the action to take if
    the policer has been exceeded. The second word specifies action to take

  As evidenced above, the tc command line utility has an arcane and complex
syntax, even for simple operations such as these examples show. It should
come as no surprised to the reader that there exists an easier way to
configure Linux traffic control. See the next section, Section 5.3.

5.3. tcng, Traffic Control Next Generation

  FIXME; sing the praises of tcng. See also [
Traffic-Control-tcng-HTB-HOWTO/]   Traffic Control using tcng and HTB HOWTO
and tcng documentation.

  Traffic control next generation (hereafter, tcng) provides all of the power
of traffic control under Linux with twenty percent of the headache.


5.4. IMQ, Intermediate Queuing device


  FIXME; must discuss IMQ. See also Patrick McHardy's website on [http://] IMQ.


6. Classless Queuing Disciplines (qdiscs)

  Each of these queuing disciplines can be used as the primary qdisc on an
interface, or can be used inside a leaf class of a classful qdiscs. These are
the fundamental schedulers used under Linux. Note that the default scheduler
is the pfifo_fast.


6.1. FIFO, First-In First-Out (pfifo and bfifo)

Note This is not the default qdisc on Linux interfaces. Be certain to see    
     Section 6.2 for the full details on the default (pfifo_fast) qdisc.     

  The FIFO algorithm forms the basis for the default qdisc on all Linux
network interfaces (pfifo_fast). It performs no shaping or rearranging of
packets. It simply transmits packets as soon as it can after receiving and
queuing them. This is also the qdisc used inside all newly created classes
until another qdisc or a class replaces the FIFO.


  A real FIFO qdisc must, however, have a size limit (a buffer size) to
prevent it from overflowing in case it is unable to dequeue packets as
quickly as it receives them. Linux implements two basic FIFO qdiscs, one
based on bytes, and one on packets. Regardless of the type of FIFO used, the
size of the queue is defined by the parameter limit. For a pfifo the unit is
understood to be packets and for a bfifo the unit is understood to be bytes.

Example 6. Specifying a limit for a packet or byte FIFO
[root@leander]# cat bfifo.tcc                                                   
 * make a FIFO on eth0 with 10kbyte queue size                                  
dev eth0 {                                                                      
    egress {                                                                    
        fifo (limit 10kB );                                                     
[root@leander]# tcc < bfifo.tcc                                                 
# ================================ Device eth0 ================================ 
tc qdisc add dev eth0 handle 1:0 root dsmark indices 1 default_index 0          
tc qdisc add dev eth0 handle 2:0 parent 1:0 bfifo limit 10240                   
[root@leander]# cat pfifo.tcc                                                   
 * make a FIFO on eth0 with 30 packet queue size                                
dev eth0 {                                                                      
    egress {                                                                    
        fifo (limit 30p );                                                      
[root@leander]# tcc < pfifo.tcc                                                 
# ================================ Device eth0 ================================ 
tc qdisc add dev eth0 handle 1:0 root dsmark indices 1 default_index 0          
tc qdisc add dev eth0 handle 2:0 parent 1:0 pfifo limit 30                      

6.2. pfifo_fast, the default Linux qdisc

  The pfifo_fast qdisc is the default qdisc for all interfaces under Linux.
Based on a conventional FIFO qdisc, this qdisc also provides some
prioritization. It provides three different bands (individual FIFOs) for
separating traffic. The highest priority traffic (interactive flows) are
placed into band 0 and are always serviced first. Similarly, band 1 is always
emptied of pending packets before band 2 is dequeued.


  There is nothing configurable to the end user about the pfifo_fast qdisc.
For exact details on the priomap and use of the ToS bits, see the pfifo-fast
section of the LARTC HOWTO.

6.3. SFQ, Stochastic Fair Queuing

  The SFQ qdisc attempts to fairly distribute opportunity to transmit data to
the network among an arbitrary number of flows. It accomplishes this by using
a hash function to separate the traffic into separate (internally maintained)
FIFOs which are dequeued in a round-robin fashion. Because there is the
possibility for unfairness to manifest in the choice of hash function, this
function is altered periodically. Perturbation (the parameter perturb) sets
this periodicity.


Example 7. Creating an SFQ
[root@leander]# cat sfq.tcc                                                     
 * make an SFQ on eth0 with a 10 second perturbation                            
dev eth0 {                                                                      
    egress {                                                                    
        sfq( perturb 10s );                                                     
[root@leander]# tcc < sfq.tcc                                                   
# ================================ Device eth0 ================================ 
tc qdisc add dev eth0 handle 1:0 root dsmark indices 1 default_index 0          
tc qdisc add dev eth0 handle 2:0 parent 1:0 sfq perturb 10                      

  Unfortunately, some clever software (e.g. Kazaa and eMule among others)
obliterate the benefit of this attempt at fair queuing by opening as many TCP
sessions (flows) as can be sustained. In many networks, with well-behaved
users, SFQ can adequately distribute the network resources to the contending
flows, but other measures may be called for when obnoxious applications have
invaded the network.

  See also Section 6.4 for an SFQ qdisc with more exposed parameters for the
user to manipulate.

6.4. ESFQ, Extended Stochastic Fair Queuing

  Conceptually, this qdisc is no different than SFQ although it allows the
user to control more parameters than its simpler cousin. This qdisc was
conceived to overcome the shortcoming of SFQ identified above. By allowing
the user to control which hashing algorithm is used for distributing access
to network bandwidth, it is possible for the user to reach a fairer real
distribution of bandwidth.

Example 8. ESFQ usage
Usage: ... esfq [ perturb SECS ] [ quantum BYTES ] [ depth FLOWS ]           
        [ divisor HASHBITS ] [ limit PKTS ] [ hash HASHTYPE]                 
HASHTYPE := { classic | src | dst }                                          

  FIXME; need practical experience and/or attestation here.

6.5. GRED, Generic Random Early Drop

  FIXME; I have never used this. Need practical experience or attestation.

  Theory declares that a RED algorithm is useful on a backbone or core
network, but not as useful near the end-user. See the section on flows to see
a general discussion of the thirstiness of TCP.

6.6. TBF, Token Bucket Filter

  This qdisc is built on tokens and buckets. It simply shapes traffic
transmitted on an interface. To limit the speed at which packets will be
dequeued from a particular interface, the TBF qdisc is the perfect solution.
It simply slows down transmitted traffic to the specified rate.

  Packets are only transmitted if there are sufficient tokens available.
Otherwise, packets are deferred. Delaying packets in this fashion will
introduce an artificial latency into the packet's round trip time.


Example 9. Creating a 256kbit/s TBF
[root@leander]# cat tbf.tcc                                                                    
 * make a 256kbit/s TBF on eth0                                                                
dev eth0 {                                                                                     
    egress {                                                                                   
        tbf( rate 256 kbps, burst 20 kB, limit 20 kB, mtu 1514 B );                            
[root@leander]# tcc < tbf.tcc                                                                  
# ================================ Device eth0 ================================                
tc qdisc add dev eth0 handle 1:0 root dsmark indices 1 default_index 0                         
tc qdisc add dev eth0 handle 2:0 parent 1:0 tbf burst 20480 limit 20480 mtu 1514 rate 32000bps 


7. Classful Queuing Disciplines (qdiscs)

  The flexibility and control of Linux traffic control can be unleashed
through the agency of the classful qdiscs. Remember that the classful queuing
disciplines can have filters attached to them, allowing packets to be
directed to particular classes and subqueues.

  There are several common terms to describe classes directly attached to the
root qdisc and terminal classes. Classess attached to the root qdisc are
known as root classes, and more generically inner classes. Any terminal class
in a particular queuing discipline is known as a leaf class by analogy to the
tree structure of the classes. Besides the use of figurative language
depicting the structure as a tree, the language of family relationships is
also quite common.

7.1. HTB, Hierarchical Token Bucket

  HTB uses the concepts of tokens and buckets along with the class-based
system and filters to allow for complex and granular control over traffic.
With a complex borrowing model, HTB can perform a variety of sophisticated
traffic control techniques. One of the easiest ways to use HTB immediately is
that of shaping.

  By understanding tokens and buckets or by grasping the function of TBF, HTB
should be merely a logical step. This queuing discipline allows the user to
define the characteristics of the tokens and bucket used and allows the user
to nest these buckets in an arbitrary fashion. When coupled with a 
classifying scheme, traffic can be controlled in a very granular fashion.


  Below is example output of the syntax for HTB on the command line with the 
tc tool. Although the syntax for tcng is a language of its own, the rules for
HTB are the same.

Example 10. tc usage for HTB
Usage: ... qdisc add ... htb [default N] [r2q N]                                 
 default  minor id of class to which unclassified packets are sent {0}           
 r2q      DRR quantums are computed as rate in Bps/r2q {10}                      
 debug    string of 16 numbers each 0-3 {0}                                      
... class add ... htb rate R1 burst B1 [prio P] [slot S] [pslot PS]              
                      [ceil R2] [cburst B2] [mtu MTU] [quantum Q]                
 rate     rate allocated to this class (class can still borrow)                  
 burst    max bytes burst which can be accumulated during idle period {computed} 
 ceil     definite upper class rate (no borrows) {rate}                          
 cburst   burst but for ceil {computed}                                          
 mtu      max packet size we create rate map for {1600}                          
 prio     priority of leaf; lower are served first {0}                           
 quantum  how much bytes to serve from leaf at once {use r2q}                    
TC HTB version 3.3                                                               


7.1.1. Software requirements

  Unlike almost all of the other software discussed, HTB is a newer queuing
discipline and your distribution may not have all of the tools and capability
you need to use HTB. The kernel must support HTB; kernel version 2.4.20 and
later support it in the stock distribution, although earlier kernel versions
require patching. To enable userland support for HTB, see [http://] HTB for an iproute2 patch to tc.

7.1.2. Shaping

  One of the most common applications of HTB involves shaping transmitted
traffic to a specific rate.

  All shaping occurs in leaf classes. No shaping occurs in inner or root
classes as they only exist to suggest how the borrowing model should
distribute available tokens.



7.1.3. Borrowing

  A fundamental part of the HTB qdisc is the borrowing mechanism. Children
classes borrow tokens from their parents once they have exceeded rate. A
child class will continue to attempt to borrow until it reaches ceil, at
which point it will begin to queue packets for transmission until more tokens
/ctokens are available. As there are only two primary types of classes which
can be created with HTB the following table and diagram identify the various
possible states and the behaviour of the borrowing mechanisms.


Table 2. HTB class states and potential actions taken
|type  |class|HTB internal  |action taken                                   |
|of    |state|state         |                                               |
|class |     |              |                                               |
|leaf  |<    |HTB_CAN_SEND  |Leaf class will dequeue queued bytes up to     |
|      |rate |              |available tokens (no more than burst packets)  |
|leaf  |>    |HTB_MAY_BORROW|Leaf class will attempt to borrow tokens/      |
|      |rate,|              |ctokens from parent class. If tokens are       |
|      |<    |              |available, they will be lent in quantum        |
|      |ceil |              |increments and the leaf class will dequeue up  |
|      |     |              |to cburst bytes                                |
|leaf  |>    |HTB_CANT_SEND |No packets will be dequeued. This will cause   |
|      |ceil |              |packet delay and will increase latency to meet |
|      |     |              |the desired rate.                              |
|inner,|<    |HTB_CAN_SEND  |Inner class will lend tokens to children.      |
|root  |rate |              |                                               |
|inner,|>    |HTB_MAY_BORROW|Inner class will attempt to borrow tokens/     |
|root  |rate,|              |ctokens from parent class, lending them to     |
|      |<    |              |competing children in quantum increments per   |
|      |ceil |              |request.                                       |
|inner,|>    |HTB_CANT_SEND |Inner class will not attempt to borrow from its|
|root  |ceil |              |parent and will not lend tokens/ctokens to     |
|      |     |              |children classes.                              |

  This diagram identifies the flow of borrowed tokens and the manner in which
tokens are charged to parent classes. In order for the borrowing model to
work, each class must have an accurate count of the number of tokens used by
itself and all of its children. For this reason, any token used in a child or
leaf class is charged to each parent class until the root class is reached.

  Any child class which wishes to borrow a token will request a token from
its parent class, which if it is also over its rate will request to borrow
from its parent class until either a token is located or the root class is
reached. So the borrowing of tokens flows toward the leaf classes and the
charging of the usage of tokens flows toward the root class.


  Note in this diagram that there are several HTB root classes. Each of these
root classes can simulate a virtual circuit.

7.1.4. HTB class parameters


      An optional parameter with every HTB qdisc object, the default default
    is 0, which cause any unclassified traffic to be dequeued at hardware
    speed, completely bypassing any of the classes attached to the root
      Used to set the minimum desired speed to which to limit transmitted
    traffic. This can be considered the equivalent of a committed information
    rate (CIR), or the guaranteed bandwidth for a given leaf class.
      Used to set the maximum desired speed to which to limit the transmitted
    traffic. The borrowing model should illustrate how this parameter is
    used. This can be considered the equivalent of "burstable bandwidth".
      This is the size of the rate bucket (see Tokens and buckets). HTB will
    dequeue burst bytes before awaiting the arrival of more tokens.
      This is the size of the ceil bucket (see Tokens and buckets). HTB will
    dequeue cburst bytes before awaiting the arrival of more ctokens.
      This is a key parameter used by HTB to control borrowing. Normally, the
    correct quantum is calculated by HTB, not specified by the user. Tweaking
    this parameter can have tremendous effects on borrowing and shaping under
    contention, because it is used both to split traffic between children
    classes over rate (but below ceil) and to transmit packets from these
    same classes.
      Also, usually calculated for the user, r2q is a hint to HTB to help
    determine the optimal quantum for a particular class.


7.1.5. Rules

  Below are some general guidelines to using HTB culled from [http://] and the LARTC mailing list. These rules are
simply a recommendation for beginners to maximize the benefit of HTB until
gaining a better understanding of the practical application of HTB.


��*�  Shaping with HTB occurs only in leaf classes. See also Section 7.1.2.
��*�  Because HTB does not shape in any class except the leaf class, the sum
    of the rates of leaf classes should not exceed the ceil of a parent
    class. Ideally, the sum of the rates of the children classes would match
    the rate of the parent class, allowing the parent class to distribute
    leftover bandwidth (ceil - rate) among the children classes.
      This key concept in employing HTB bears repeating. Only leaf classes
    actually shape packets; packets are only delayed in these leaf classes.
    The inner classes (all the way up to the root class) exist to define how
    borrowing/lending occurs (see also Section 7.1.3).
��*�  The quantum is only only used when a class is over rate but below ceil.
��*�  The quantum should be set at MTU or higher. HTB will dequeue a single
    packet at least per service opportunity even if quantum is too small. In
    such a case, it will not be able to calculate accurately the real
    bandwidth consumed [9].
��*�  Parent classes lend tokens to children in increments of quantum, so for
    maximum granularity and most instantaneously evenly distributed
    bandwidth, quantum should be as low as possible while still no less than
��*�  A distinction between tokens and ctokens is only meaningful in a leaf
    class, because non-leaf classes only lend tokens to child classes.
��*�  HTB borrowing could more accurately be described as "using".


7.2. HFSC, Hierarchical Fair Service Curve

  The HFSC classful qdisc balances delay-sensitive traffic against throughput
sensitive traffic. In a congested or backlogged state, the HFSC queuing
discipline interleaves the delay-sensitive traffic when required according
service curve definitions. Read about the Linux implementation in German, 
HFSC Scheduling mit Linux or read a translation into English, HFSC Scheduling
with Linux. The original research article, A Hierarchical Fair Service Curve
Algorithm For Link-Sharing, Real-Time and Priority Services, also remains

  This section will be completed at a later date.

7.3. PRIO, priority scheduler

  The PRIO classful qdisc works on a very simple precept. When it is ready to
dequeue a packet, the first class is checked for a packet. If there's a
packet, it gets dequeued. If there's no packet, then the next class is
checked, until the queuing mechanism has no more classes to check.

  This section will be completed at a later date.

7.4. CBQ, Class Based Queuing

  CBQ is the classic implementation (also called venerable) of a traffic
control system. This section will be completed at a later date.


8. Rules, Guidelines and Approaches


8.1. General Rules of Linux Traffic Control

  There are a few general rules which ease the study of Linux traffic
control. Traffic control structures under Linux are the same whether the
initial configuration has been done with tcng or with tc.

��*�  Any router performing a shaping function should be the bottleneck on
    the link, and should be shaping slightly below the maximum available link
    bandwidth. This prevents queues from forming in other routers, affording
    maximum control of packet latency/deferral to the shaping device.
��*�  A device can only shape traffic it transmits [10]. Because the traffic
    has already been received on an input interface, the traffic cannot be
    shaped. A traditional solution to this problem is an ingress policer.
��*�  Every interface must have a qdisc. The default qdisc (the pfifo_fast
    qdisc) is used when another qdisc is not explicitly attached to the
��*�  One of the classful qdiscs added to an interface with no children
    classes typically only consumes CPU for no benefit.
��*�  Any newly created class contains a FIFO. This qdisc can be replaced
    explicitly with any other qdisc. The FIFO qdisc will be removed
    implicitly if a child class is attached to this class.
��*�  Classes directly attached to the root qdisc can be used to simulate
    virtual circuits.
��*�  A filter can be attached to classes or one of the classful qdiscs.





8.2. Handling a link with a known bandwidth

  HTB is an ideal qdisc to use on a link with a known bandwidth, because the
innermost (root-most) class can be set to the maximum bandwidth available on
a given link. Flows can be further subdivided into children classes, allowing
either guaranteed bandwidth to particular classes of traffic or allowing
preference to specific kinds of traffic.



8.3. Handling a link with a variable (or unknown) bandwidth

  In theory, the PRIO scheduler is an ideal match for links with variable
bandwidth, because it is a work-conserving qdisc (which means that it
provides no shaping). In the case of a link with an unknown or fluctuating
bandwidth, the PRIO scheduler simply prefers to dequeue any available packet
in the highest priority band first, then falling to the lower priority



8.4. Sharing/splitting bandwidth based on flows

  Of the many types of contention for network bandwidth, this is one of the
easier types of contention to address in general. By using the SFQ qdisc,
traffic in a particular queue can be separated into flows, each of which will
be serviced fairly (inside that queue). Well-behaved applications (and users)
will find that using SFQ and ESFQ are sufficient for most sharing needs.

  The Achilles heel of these fair queuing algorithms is a misbehaving user or
application which opens many connections simultaneously (e.g., eMule,
eDonkey, Kazaa). By creating a large number of individual flows, the
application can dominate slots in the fair queuing algorithm. Restated, the
fair queuing algorithm has no idea that a single application is generating
the majority of the flows, and cannot penalize the user. Other methods are
called for.


8.5. Sharing/splitting bandwidth based on IP

  For many administrators this is the ideal method of dividing bandwidth
amongst their users. Unfortunately, there is no easy solution, and it becomes
increasingly complex with the number of machine sharing a network link.

  To divide bandwidth equitably between N IP addresses, there must be N


9. Scripts for use with QoS/Traffic Control




9.1. wondershaper

  More to come, see [] wondershaper.

9.2. ADSL Bandwidth HOWTO script (myshaper)

  More to come, see [
ADSL-Bandwidth-Management-HOWTO/implementation.html] myshaper.

9.3. htb.init

  More to come, see htb.init.

9.4. tcng.init

  More to come, see tcng.init.

9.5. cbq.init

  More to come, see cbq.init.

10. Diagram



10.1. General diagram

  Below is a general diagram of the relationships of the components of a
classful queuing discipline (HTB pictured). A larger version of the diagram
is [] available.


Example 11. An example HTB tcng configuration
 *  possible mock up of diagram shown at                                         
$m_web = trTCM (                                                                 
                 cir 512  kbps,  /* commited information rate */                 
                 cbs 10   kB,    /* burst for CIR */                             
                 pir 1024 kbps,  /* peak information rate */                     
                 pbs 10   kB     /* burst for PIR */                             
               ) ;                                                               
dev eth0 {                                                                       
    egress {                                                                     
        class ( <$web> )  if tcp_dport == PORT_HTTP &&  __trTCM_green( $m_web ); 
        class ( <$bulk> ) if tcp_dport == PORT_HTTP && __trTCM_yellow( $m_web ); 
        drop              if                              __trTCM_red( $m_web ); 
        class ( <$bulk> ) if tcp_dport == PORT_SSH ;                             
        htb () {  /* root qdisc */                                               
            class ( rate 1544kbps, ceil 1544kbps ) {  /* root class */           
                $web  = class ( rate 512kbps, ceil  512kbps ) { sfq ; } ;        
                $bulk = class ( rate 512kbps, ceil 1544kbps ) { sfq ; } ;        



11. Annotated Traffic Control Links

  This section identifies a number of links to documentation about traffic
control and Linux traffic control software. Each link will be listed with a
brief description of the content at that site.

��*�  HTB site, HTB user guide and HTB theory (Martin "devik" Devera)
      Hierarchical Token Bucket, HTB, is a classful queuing discipline.
    Widely used and supported it is also fairly well documented in the user
    guide and at [] Stef Coene's site (see below).
��*�  General Quality of Service docs (Leonardo Balliache)
    There is a good deal of understandable and introductory documentation on
    his site, and in particular has some excellent overview material. See in
    particular, the detailed [] Linux QoS
    document among others.
��*�  tcng (Traffic Control Next Generation) and tcng manual (Werner
      The tcng software includes a language and a set of tools for creating
    and testing traffic control structures. In addition to generating tc
    commands as output, it is also capable of providing output for non-Linux
    applications. A key piece of the tcng suite which is ignored in this
    documentation is the tcsim traffic control simulator.
      The user manual provided with the tcng software has been converted to
    HTML with latex2html. The distribution comes with the TeX documentation.
��*�  iproute2 and iproute2 manual (Alexey Kuznetsov)
      This is a the source code for the iproute2 suite, which includes the
    essential tc binary. Note, that as of
    iproute2-2.4.7-now-ss020116-try.tar.gz, the package did not support HTB,
    so a patch available from the [] HTB
    site will be required.
      The manual documents the entire suite of tools, although the tc utility
    is not adequately documented here. The ambitious reader is recommended to
    the LARTC HOWTO after consuming this introduction.
��*�  Documentation, graphs, scripts and guidelines to traffic control under
    Linux (Stef Coene)
      Stef Coene has been gathering statistics and test results, scripts and
    tips for the use of QoS under Linux. There are some particularly useful
    graphs and guidelines available for implementing traffic control at
    Stef's site.
��*�  [] LARTC HOWTO (bert hubert, et. al.)
      The Linux Advanced Routing and Traffic Control HOWTO is one of the key
    sources of data about the sophisticated techniques which are available
    for use under Linux. The Traffic Control Introduction HOWTO should
    provide the reader with enough background in the language and concepts of
    traffic control. The LARTC HOWTO is the next place the reader should look
    for general traffic control information.
��*�  Guide to IP Networking with Linux (Martin A. Brown)
      Not directly related to traffic control, this site includes articles
    and general documentation on the behaviour of the Linux IP layer.
��*�  Werner Almesberger's Papers
      Werner Almesberger is one of the main developers and champions of
    traffic control under Linux (he's also the author of tcng, above). One of
    the key documents describing the entire traffic control architecture of
    the Linux kernel is his Linux Traffic Control - Implementation Overview
    which is available in []
    PDF or [] PS format.
��*�  Linux DiffServ project
      Mercilessly snipped from the main page of the DiffServ site...
        Differentiated Services (short: Diffserv) is an architecture for
        providing different types or levels of service for network traffic.
        One key characteristic of Diffserv is that flows are aggregated in
        the network, so that core routers only need to distinguish a
        comparably small number of aggregated flows, even if those flows
        contain thousands or millions of individual flows.


[1]  See Section 5 for more details on the use or installation of a          
     particular traffic control mechanism, kernel or command line utility.   
[2]  This queueing model has long been used in civilized countries to        
     distribute scant food or provisions equitably. William Faulkner is      
     reputed to have walked to the front of the line for to fetch his share  
     of ice, proving that not everybody likes the FIFO model, and providing  
     us a model for considering priority queuing.                            
[3]  Similarly, the entire traffic control system appears as a queue or      
     scheduler to the higher layer which is enqueuing packets into this      
[4]  This smoothing effect is not always desirable, hence the HTB parameters 
     burst and cburst.                                                       
[5]  A classful qdisc can only have children classes of its type. For        
     example, an HTB qdisc can only have HTB classes as children. A CBQ qdisc
     cannot have HTB classes as children.                                    
[6]  In this case, you'll have a filter which uses a classifier to select the
     packets you wish to drop. Then you'll use a policer with a with a drop  
     action like this police rate 1bps burst 1 action drop/drop.             
[7]  I do not know the range nor base of these numbers. I believe they are   
     u32 hexadecimal, but need to confirm this.                              
[8]  The options listed in this example are taken from a 2.4.20 kernel source
     tree. The exact options may differ slightly from kernel release to      
     kernel release depending on patches and new schedulers and classifiers. 
[9]  HTB will report bandwidth usage in this scenario incorrectly. It will   
     calculate the bandwidth used by quantum instead of the real dequeued    
     packet size. This can skew results quickly.                             
[10] In fact, the Intermediate Queuing Device (IMQ) simulates an output      
     device onto which traffic control structures can be attached. This      
     clever solution allows a networking device to shape ingress traffic in  
     the same fashion as egress traffic. Despite the apparent contradiction  
     of the rule, IMQ appears as a device to the kernel. Thus, there has been
     no violation of the rule, but rather a sneaky reinterpretation of that  

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