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HFSC - linux traffic shaping's best kept secret
#!/bin/bash
# As the "bufferbloat" folks have recently re-discovered and/or more widely
# publicized, congestion avoidance algorithms (such as those found in TCP) do
# a great job of allowing network endpoints to negotiate transfer rates that
# maximize a link's bandwidth usage without unduly penalizing any particular
# stream. This allows bulk transfer streams to use the maximum available
# bandwidth without affecting the latency of non-bulk (e.g. interactive)
# streams.
# In other words, TCP lets you have your cake and eat it too -- both fast
# downloads and low latency all at the same time.
# However, this only works if TCP's afore-mentioned congestion avoidance
# algorithms actually kick in. The most reliable method of signaling
# congestion is to drop packets. (There are other ways, such as ECN, but
# unfortunately they're still not in wide use.)
# Dropping packets to make the network work better is kinda counter-intuitive.
# But, that's how TCP works. And if you take advantage of that, you can make
# TCP work great.
# Dropping packets gets TCP's attention and fast. The sending endpoint
# throttles back to avoid further network congestion. In other words, your
# fast download slows down. Then, as long as there's no further congestion,
# the sending endpoint gradually increases the transfer rate. Then the cycle
# repeats. It can get a lot more complex than that simple explanation, but the
# main point is: dropping packets when there's congestion is good.
# Traffic shaping is all about slowing down and/or dropping (or ECN marking)
# packets. The thing is, it's much better for latency to simply drop packets
# than it is to slow them down. Linux has a couple of traffic shapers that
# aren't afraid to drop packets. One of the most well-known is TBF, the Token
# Bucket Filter. Normally it slows down packets to a specific rate. But, it
# also accepts a "limit" option to specify the maximum number of packets to
# queue. When the limit is exceeded, packets are dropped.
# TBF's simple "tail-drop" algorithm is actually one of the worst kinds of
# "active queue management" (AQM) that you can do. But even still, it can make
# a huge difference. Applying TBF alone (with a short enough limit) can make a
# maddeningly high-latency link usable again in short order.
# TBF's big disadvantage is that it's a "classless" shaper. That means you
# can't prioritize one TCP stream over another. That's where HTB, the
# Hierarchical Token Bucket, comes in. HTB uses the same general algorithm as
# TBF while also allowing you to filter specific traffic to prioritized queues.
# But HTB has a big weakness: it doesn't have a good, easy way of specifying a
# queue limit like TBF does. That means, compared to TBF, HTB is much more
# inclined to slow packets rather than to drop them. That hurts latency, bad.
# So now we come to Linux traffic shaping's best kept secret: the HFSC shaper.
# HFSC stands for Hierarchical Fair Service Curve. The linux implementation is
# a complex beast, enough so to have a 9 part question about it on serverfault
# ( http://serverfault.com/questions/105014/does-anyone-really-understand-how-hfsc-scheduling-in-linux-bsd-works ).
# Nonetheless, HFSC can be understood in a simplified way as HTB with limits.
# HFSC allows you to classify traffic (like HTB, unlike TBF), but it also has
# no fear of dropping packets (unlike HTB, like TBF).
# HFSC does a great job of keeping latency low. With it, it's possible to fully
# saturate a link while maintaining perfect non-bulk session interactivity.
# It is the holy grail of traffic shaping, and it's in the stock kernel.
# To get the best results, HFSC should be combined with SFQ (Stochastic
# Fairness Queueing) and optionally an ingress filter. If all three are used,
# it's possible to maintain low-latency interactive sessions even without any
# traffic prioritization. Further adding prioritization then maximizes
# interactivity.
# Here's how it's done:
# set this to your internet-facing network interface:
WAN_INTERFACE=eth1
# set this to your local network interface:
LAN_INTERFACE=eth0
LAN_NETWORK=192.168.1.0/24
# how fast is your downlink?
MAX_DOWNRATE=6144kbit
# how close should we get to max down? e.g. 95%
USE_DOWNPERCENT=0.95
# how fast is your uplink?
MAX_UPRATE=384kbit
# how close should we get to max up? e.g. 90%
USE_UPPERCENT=0.90
# what port do you want to prioritize? e.g. for ssh, use 22
# 3074 for xbox
INTERACTIVE_PORT=3074
# NOTE: port 22 is prioritized as well, see below for the full list of
# prioritized ports. (this script has been updated to use some loops to make
# adding / removing ports easier, and I've added a number of xbox-related
# ports.)
## now for the magic
# set this to the path to your tc binary
#TC=/usr/sbin/tc
TC=/sbin/tc
# remove any existing qdiscs
# this lets you re-run this script as much as you want to try different
# settings, we're always starting fresh
$TC qdisc del dev $WAN_INTERFACE root 2> /dev/null
$TC qdisc del dev $WAN_INTERFACE ingress 2> /dev/null
$TC qdisc del dev $LAN_INTERFACE root 2> /dev/null
$TC qdisc del dev $LAN_INTERFACE ingress 2> /dev/null
# computations
MAX_UPNUM=`echo $MAX_UPRATE | sed 's/[^0-9]//g'`
MAX_UPBASE=`echo $MAX_UPRATE | sed 's/[0-9]//g'`
MAX_DOWNNUM=`echo $MAX_DOWNRATE | sed 's/[^0-9]//g'`
MAX_DOWNBASE=`echo $MAX_DOWNRATE | sed 's/[0-9]//g'`
NEAR_MAX_UPNUM=`echo "$MAX_UPNUM * $USE_UPPERCENT" | bc | xargs printf "%.0f"`
NEAR_MAX_UPRATE="${NEAR_MAX_UPNUM}${MAX_UPBASE}"
NEAR_MAX_DOWNNUM=`echo "$MAX_DOWNNUM * $USE_DOWNPERCENT" | bc | xargs printf "%.0f"`
NEAR_MAX_DOWNRATE="${NEAR_MAX_DOWNNUM}${MAX_DOWNBASE}"
HALF_MAXUPNUM=$(( $MAX_UPNUM / 2 ))
HALF_MAXUP="${HALF_MAXUPNUM}${MAX_UPBASE}"
HALF_MAXDOWNNUM=$(( $MAX_DOWNNUM / 2 ))
HALF_MAXDOWN="${HALF_MAXDOWNNUM}${MAX_DOWNBASE}"
## mark small packets - i.e. ACKs
## (run this once and/or add it to your regular IP tables rules) -- this iptables command
# only needs to run once per reboot, whereas the rest of this script can be run as often
# as you like to try different settings (the qdiscs are cleared / reset at the top of the script)
#/usr/sbin/iptables -t mangle -A PREROUTING -p tcp -m length --length 0:128 -j MARK --set-mark 2
# install HFSC under WAN to limit upload
$TC qdisc add dev $WAN_INTERFACE root handle 1: hfsc default 11
$TC class add dev $WAN_INTERFACE parent 1: classid 1:1 hfsc sc rate $NEAR_MAX_UPRATE ul rate $NEAR_MAX_UPRATE
$TC class add dev $WAN_INTERFACE parent 1:1 classid 1:10 hfsc sc umax 1540 dmax 5ms rate $HALF_MAXUP ul rate $NEAR_MAX_UPRATE
$TC class add dev $WAN_INTERFACE parent 1:1 classid 1:11 hfsc sc umax 1540 dmax 5ms rate $HALF_MAXUP ul rate $HALF_MAXUP
#$TC class add dev $WAN_INTERFACE parent 1:1 classid 1:11 hfsc sc umax 1540 dmax 5ms rate $HALF_MAXUP ul rate $NEAR_MAX_UPRATE
# install ingress filter to limit download to 97% max
MAX_DOWNRATE_INGRESSNUM=`echo "$MAX_DOWNNUM * 0.97" | bc | xargs printf "%.0f"`
MAX_DOWNRATE_INGRESS="${MAX_DOWNRATE_INGRESSNUM}${MAX_DOWNBASE}"
$TC qdisc add dev $WAN_INTERFACE handle ffff: ingress
# NOTE: we route all prioritized traffic through the ingress filter with NO policing;
# that is, we do not police-limit prioritized traffic.
# prioritize interactive port blocks: xbox gaming
for i in $INTERACTIVE_PORT 30000 31000 32000 33000 34000 35000 36000 37000 38000 39000 40000 41000; do
# recent xbox games enjoy using high ports -- the same port numbers which
# client OSes occasionally also use for source ports for bulk traffic (e.g.
# http for streaming) -- so, don't prioritize high source ports, only high
# dest ports (that is, only prioritize streams connecting to ports the gaming
# servers are listening on)
# $TC filter add dev $WAN_INTERFACE protocol ip parent 1:0 prio 1 u32 match ip sport $i 0xfc00 flowid 1:10
$TC filter add dev $WAN_INTERFACE protocol ip parent 1:0 prio 1 u32 match ip dport $i 0xfc00 flowid 1:10
# policer:
# $TC filter add dev $WAN_INTERFACE parent ffff: protocol ip prio 1 u32 match ip sport $i 0xfc00 flowid :1
$TC filter add dev $WAN_INTERFACE parent ffff: protocol ip prio 1 u32 match ip dport $i 0xfc00 flowid :1
done
# do prioritize low xbox source port, some games still use this port range for a source port
# (in that case it doesn't matter which port they listen on; the client connects
# from the low source port to any server-side port)
$TC filter add dev $WAN_INTERFACE protocol ip parent 1:0 prio 1 u32 match ip sport $INTERACTIVE_PORT 0xfc00 flowid 1:10
# policer:
$TC filter add dev $WAN_INTERFACE parent ffff: protocol ip prio 1 u32 match ip sport $INTERACTIVE_PORT 0xfc00 flowid :1
# prioritize additional single ports: ssh, VPN, webex, google hangouts
# audio / video. VPN port (4500) may also be used for AT&T / t-mobile phone
# calls over wifi, and Apple Facetime uses ports around 3xxx, which are already
# prioritized for xbox. in fact it's probably safe to prioritize any low
# source AND dest ports (lower than 20,000) other than 80 and 443 (but we
# don't do that here)
for i in 22 4500 9000 19302 19303 19304 19305 19306 19307 19308 19309; do
$TC filter add dev $WAN_INTERFACE protocol ip parent 1:0 prio 1 u32 match ip sport $i 0xffff flowid 1:10
$TC filter add dev $WAN_INTERFACE protocol ip parent 1:0 prio 1 u32 match ip dport $i 0xffff flowid 1:10
# policer:
$TC filter add dev $WAN_INTERFACE parent ffff: protocol ip prio 1 u32 match ip sport $i 0xffff flowid :1
$TC filter add dev $WAN_INTERFACE parent ffff: protocol ip prio 1 u32 match ip dport $i 0xffff flowid :1
done
# also VPN IP range - set this if you know your corporate VPN IP range
#$TC filter add dev $WAN_INTERFACE protocol ip parent 1:0 prio 1 u32 match ip src 1.2.3.4/24 flowid 1:10
#$TC filter add dev $WAN_INTERFACE protocol ip parent 1:0 prio 1 u32 match ip dst 1.2.3.4/24 flowid 1:10
# policer:
#$TC filter add dev $WAN_INTERFACE parent ffff: protocol ip prio 1 u32 match ip src 1.2.3.4/24 flowid :1
#$TC filter add dev $WAN_INTERFACE parent ffff: protocol ip prio 1 u32 match ip dst 1.2.3.4/24 flowid :1
# also icmp
$TC filter add dev $WAN_INTERFACE protocol ip parent 1:0 prio 1 u32 match ip protocol 1 0xff flowid 1:10
# policer:
$TC filter add dev $WAN_INTERFACE parent ffff: protocol ip prio 1 u32 match ip protocol 1 0xff flowid :1
# prioritize ack (iptables-marked packets)
$TC filter add dev $WAN_INTERFACE protocol ip parent 1:0 prio 2 handle 2 fw flowid 1:10
# policer:
$TC filter add dev $WAN_INTERFACE parent ffff: protocol ip prio 2 handle 2 fw flowid :1
# add SFQ (or fq_codel if you have at least kernel 3.16 or so)
# (or any anti-bufferbloat qdisc such as cake, if you have an ever newer kernel)
# NOTE:
# I tried running without hfsc, and only using fq_codel -- it doesn't work as well
# as running with both hfsc and SFQ. that is, xbox gaming latency went to hell cuz
# fq_codel didn't know when to start dropping packets. however, once you have hfsc
# in the mix any FQ-like qdisc should work here.
# UPDATE:
# I recommend using SFQ *instead* of fq_codel, at least on slow / 32-bit / embedded
# systems. In my anecdotal testing, fq_codel can slow down streams more than SFQ
# does, and introduce a bit of latency.
$TC qdisc add dev $WAN_INTERFACE parent 1:10 handle 30: sfq perturb 10
$TC qdisc add dev $WAN_INTERFACE parent 1:11 handle 40: sfq perturb 10
#$TC qdisc add dev $WAN_INTERFACE parent 1:10 handle 30: fq_codel
#$TC qdisc add dev $WAN_INTERFACE parent 1:11 handle 40: fq_codel
# enact policer for all other traffic
$TC filter add dev $WAN_INTERFACE parent ffff: protocol ip prio 50 u32 match ip src 0.0.0.0/0 police rate $MAX_DOWNRATE_INGRESS burst 20k drop flowid :2
# install HFSC under LAN to limit download
$TC qdisc add dev $LAN_INTERFACE root handle 1: hfsc default 11
$TC class add dev $LAN_INTERFACE parent 1: classid 1:1 hfsc sc rate 1000mbit ul rate 1000mbit
$TC class add dev $LAN_INTERFACE parent 1:1 classid 1:10 hfsc sc umax 1540 dmax 5ms rate 900mbit ul rate 900mbit
$TC class add dev $LAN_INTERFACE parent 1:1 classid 1:11 hfsc sc umax 1540 dmax 5ms rate $HALF_MAXDOWN ul rate $NEAR_MAX_DOWNRATE
# prioritize local LAN traffic
$TC filter add dev $LAN_INTERFACE protocol ip parent 1:0 prio 1 u32 match ip src $LAN_NETWORK match ip dst $LAN_NETWORK flowid 1:10
# prioritize interactive port blocks: xbox gaming
# see above for why we only prioritize the source port and not the dest port here
# (in this case source port is remote host's port)
for i in $INTERACTIVE_PORT 30000 31000 32000 33000 34000 35000 36000 37000 38000 39000 40000 41000; do
$TC filter add dev $LAN_INTERFACE protocol ip parent 1:0 prio 1 u32 match ip sport $i 0xfc00 flowid 1:10
# $TC filter add dev $LAN_INTERFACE protocol ip parent 1:0 prio 1 u32 match ip dport $i 0xfc00 flowid 1:10
done
$TC filter add dev $LAN_INTERFACE protocol ip parent 1:0 prio 1 u32 match ip dport $INTERACTIVE_PORT 0xfc00 flowid 1:10
# additional single ports: ssh, VPN, webex, google hangouts
for i in 22 4500 9000 19302 19303 19304 19305 19306 19307 19308 19309; do
$TC filter add dev $LAN_INTERFACE protocol ip parent 1:0 prio 1 u32 match ip sport $i 0xffff flowid 1:10
$TC filter add dev $LAN_INTERFACE protocol ip parent 1:0 prio 1 u32 match ip dport $i 0xffff flowid 1:10
done
# also VPN IP range - set this if you know your corporate VPN IP range
#$TC filter add dev $LAN_INTERFACE protocol ip parent 1:0 prio 1 u32 match ip src 1.2.3.4/24 flowid 1:10
#$TC filter add dev $LAN_INTERFACE protocol ip parent 1:0 prio 1 u32 match ip dst 1.2.3.4/24 flowid 1:10
# also icmp
$TC filter add dev $LAN_INTERFACE protocol ip parent 1:0 prio 1 u32 match ip protocol 1 0xff flowid 1:10
## OPTIONAL:
## prioritize any marked packets - use iptables to mark any other prioritized traffic;
## use iptables -t mangle -A PREROUTING -j MARK --set-mark 1 (plus other options)
## NOTE: this is different from ack marking above -- you'd use this with complex iptables rules, e.g. to not
## rate-limit web traffic to/from a specific IP
#$TC filter add dev $LAN_INTERFACE protocol ip parent 1:0 prio 2 handle 1 fw flowid 1:10
# add SFQ / fq_codel / cake / etc (see notes above)
$TC qdisc add dev $LAN_INTERFACE parent 1:10 handle 30: sfq perturb 10
$TC qdisc add dev $LAN_INTERFACE parent 1:11 handle 40: sfq perturb 10
#$TC qdisc add dev $LAN_INTERFACE parent 1:10 handle 30: fq_codel
#$TC qdisc add dev $LAN_INTERFACE parent 1:11 handle 40: fq_codel
@dulldusk
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dulldusk commented Jun 14, 2020

Out of all traffic shaping scripts i tested, and after much reading and more testing, and more reading and more testing, this script is yet the best working solution i used so far. Thank you eqhmcow for sharing your code and knowledge with the community. If i come to improve it in any way, i will be sure so share and let you know.

@eqhmcow
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eqhmcow commented Dec 1, 2020

I'm glad this has helped people over the years!

However, this script is now obsolete. Use tc_cake instead. It really is amazing, and the bufferbloat people deserve an enormous amount of kudos for creating it and getting it into mainline linux. Thanks also to the Red Hat linux company for employing some of those people.

Cake is dead simple to use:

WAN=eth1
LAN=eth0

/usr/sbin/tc qdisc del dev $WAN root 2> /dev/null
/usr/sbin/tc qdisc del dev $LAN root 2> /dev/null

BANDWIDTH=6mbit
UPBANDWIDTH=3mbit
/usr/sbin/tc qdisc add dev $WAN handle 1: root cake besteffort bandwidth $UPBANDWIDTH internet nat egress ack-filter dual-srchost ethernet
/usr/sbin/tc qdisc add dev $LAN handle 1: root cake besteffort bandwidth $BANDWIDTH internet ingress dual-dsthost ethernet

@ammarahm-ed
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ammarahm-ed commented Sep 29, 2021

@eqhmcow Thanks for the great script. I have tried the latest tc_cake script that you provided above but it seems to not work for my case. I have a vpn server where I am trying to rate limit every IP that connects.

tc qdisc del dev tun0 root 2> /dev/null

tc qdisc add dev tun0 handle 1: root cake besteffort bandwidth 3mbit internet egress triple-isolate nonat ack-filter ethernet

tun0 is the interface created by openvpn.

Any help would be great.

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