Most ISPs in India, and internationally, set download limits on their offerings. As a consumer, keeping track of these limits and accordingly using the allocated bandwidth can be difficult. For this reason, there are several traffic shaping applications available. One of the commercial apps available is cFosSpeed. The latest version 8 is the one we’re looking at today.
The program itself is tiny and is also available as trial software on the developer's site. At the heart of the program is the speed limiting feature, which offers a variety of customisations. You can choose to limit speeds and even set budgets in terms of download limits. The user can also choose to give higher priority to latency. This is handy for applications that require low latency over transfer speeds. Typically, games and real time communications would be the applications to benefit.
Support for multiple adapters
There’s even support for multiple network adapters and traffic shaping can be toggled for them. You can use cFosSpeed on Wi-Fi adapters, network adapters as well as 2G/3G adapters available for PCs and notebooks.
Apart from this, the software also has a real time network speed graph. While most network graph utilities show upload and download rates, the cFosSpeed also displays the number of concurrent connections and latency statistics in real time.
Setting hard download limits
cFosSpeed also keeps logs of all the applications and you can view usage graphs for pretty much any program over a month, three months or a year. There isn’t an option to look at daily stats though. However, you can look at live connections that are being made and choose to prioritise them.
Easy-to-setup priority system for programs
You also have the option to bunch programs into slots, so it’s easier to manage priorities and speed limitations for them. You can also set an overall bandwidth limit for the entire connections.
Overall, the user interface is a little difficult to get used to, especially if you’re new to this sort of thing. However, if you know the basics, you’ll be able to find your way around the software in no time at all. Most menus and windows have 'help' attached to them, so it’s easy to figure out what each of the checkboxes and buttons mean.
Basic traffic shaping setup screen
Although highly configurable, the software is pretty easy to use, offering users the options in the form of simple sliders to adjust bandwidth requirement priority for each software and protocol. Still, the entire software has a very traditional Windows look and feel to it without much effort put into aesthetics.
Speed limiting happens instantaneously, so it’s pretty quick. Memory consumption is also limited to under 15MB for the entire suite with close to no load put on the processor. The software adds a component to Windows, but it doesn’t affect the startup time of the system.
Applications can be grouped together
This is a good software to consider if you have a few PCs at work and you want to keep track and limit your bandwidth consumption. Priced at $20 (approximately Rs. 1,100), it’s a little expensive for everyone to go out and purchase. However, if you’re the kind of person who easily gets carried away by speeds, then this investment would be a small one in comparison to the bandwidth charges.
Updated 19 Jun, 2013, 5:48 pm IST
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