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Explaining traffic shaping

Limiting outbound network bandwidth per client IP-address

Apr. 1, 2020 -

Last month I received an automated alert indicating excessive bandwidth usage, usually a sign of trouble. When this happens, you should follow a standard incident procedure, trying to isolate the source of the traffic before shutting it down. The cause of this incident was not what I expected however... requiring a different kind of mitigation than a simple blockade.

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Bugs in Microsoft Outlook cause it to keep synchronising IMAP folders, a problem experienced by many people (see the number of views!)
Bugs in Microsoft Outlook cause it to keep synchronising IMAP folders, a problem experienced by many people (see the number of views!)
Bandwidth graph with unusual spike indicating that something is wrong - you don't need to be Sherlock Holmes to find it
Bandwidth graph with unusual spike indicating that something is wrong - you don't need to be Sherlock Holmes to find it
Using the iftop tool to see bandwidth usage per connected IP-address
Using the iftop tool to see bandwidth usage per connected IP-address
Using tokens to control traffic - only passengers (or data packets) with a valid token are allowed. Tokens are returned as traffic reaches its destination.
Using tokens to control traffic - only passengers (or data packets) with a valid token are allowed. Tokens are returned as traffic reaches its destination.
Sample traffic shaping script
Sample traffic shaping script
Bandwidth graph of AMS-IX shows a predictable pattern - notice the wave-like pattern
Bandwidth graph of AMS-IX shows a predictable pattern - notice the wave-like pattern

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