Firewalla can block/allow activities based on a schedule, say from 10 am to 1 pm.
What this is asking is to aggregate the time spent on certain activities (e.g. gaming), and set a limit for it over a certain period (e.g. throughout a day or week). Firewalla can not do this accurately, and the margin of error is very high.
The technology behind this involves predicting people's behavior at the network level, and it is something very difficult to do accurately at the moment.
Currently, we are still evaluating a few pieces of algorithms that may make the prediction more accurate. If we have anything new, will be updating this article.
"What this is asking is to aggregate the time spent on certain activity (e.g. gaming), and set limit for it over certain period (e.g. throughout a day or week)."
Correct. Circle already does this and it works well enough.
It doesn't need to be perfect, but if someone is streaming videos, it should be pretty obvious when they are actively doing it because there is a steady stream of data coming from YouTube or Vimeo or Netflix or whatever. Sure, things like caching/buffering, downloading, pausing and walking off would make this less accurate, but let's just say we aren't worried as much about those kinds of nuances.
Maybe you could allow us to set a DATA cap for a given time window. After x bytes have been downloaded (or uploaded) then the IP is blocked until the next day.
I would like to be able to group a bunch of IPs/URLs/services into a category and then set a limit based on one or both of the above (time and/or data) for a set group on my network. Inaccurate is better than non-existent.
Agreed, we are experimenting on the time limit to see how much of accuracy we can get.
As for the suggestion of data limit, it is easier to be achieved actually. But we are not sure how practical that is, can you tell us more about the use case you have in mind? What kind of service you are planning to set limits on? You can send the details to email@example.com if you don't mind.
I've sent a reply to that email as requested, but in short, TIME limiting is what I really want. The primary reason for suggesting DATA limiting is because I figure that must be pretty easy for you to implement and then I could use it as a crude method of time limiting activities like video streaming. If I could determine a (very) rough average of how much data is used per minute when actively streaming a video, then I could just take that data rate and multiply by how many minutes I want to allow streaming and set the data limit at that point. It would be very crude, but good enough for my purposes. (The users could cheat this by watching at a lower quality, but my users are not tech savvy and so I'm not worried about that yet).
Data limiting would also help for if a user downloads videos to watch offline later. Setting time limits on the router would never help here.
Another advantage to being able to set a data limit based on sites would be if you were on a metered connection and you wanted to prevent a user on your network from burning all your data on a certain set of activities.
Offering BOTH time limiting AND data limiting and then being able to mix-and-match how you use those would be very powerful.
Time limiting was one of the key things I hoped Firewalla would do. Once finally set up, Microsoft's time limits (Screen limits) work great for the Xbox. But I'd ideally like to give my child N number of total hours between the Xbox and the iPad. Disappointed that this is not going to happen on Firewalla.
We are working on it, likely will have the first version ready for use in 1.972.
Any update on the time limit feature availability as mentioned "We are working on it"? I would like this to be available before purchasing the Firewalla gold device.
This was moved out to 1.973, 1.972 was loaded too many features, and we were late about 2 months on it.
Any update on this? I’ve been waiting for this!
If you're still interested I can tell you how I setup a schedule-based set of rules that are proving very effective at blocking my kids from gaming during "school hours" (8am-3pm) without blocking access to regular educational sites...it was critical during COVID lock-downs.
While not overly difficult the key thing is to know what gaming sites your kids visit...and that is something you can pull from a review of the Flows from their devices. I ended up adding several IPs to the "All Gaming Sites" list found under rule category matching. I added stuff like:
*.steamcontent.com *rbxcdn.com (ie..roblox which now has it's own blocking options) *.joinsquad.com *.mojang.com
It looks like some of those may now be redundant with the system managed list...but better safe than sorry. I found one of my kids was a master at finding ways to get around my blocks...he took it as a measure of pride...so stay one step ahead. It took a while to find out the IP that was used for some games for P2P gaming...but once you find that server you can add it to the blocked list and it's done.
Has there been any progress or updates regarding this?
Looking for an update regarding this?
I’m also looking for the same.
I too would very much like this feature! My kids have different schedules on different days, so it's not really helpful to do strictly time-of-day scheduling.
It shouldn't be too hard to use a traffic threshold to determine if someone is on the internet and/or on certain categories like gaming. E.g. a device like a PC will normally have a "baseline" level of traffic - say 10 KB across a given hour (usually in evenly-spaced intervals, as certain apps do polling / regular data updates). This is the level of traffic when the person is not actively using the internet (or gaming site or whatever). Then if traffic suddenly spikes up from that - you know that they're currently on. Then if it goes back down to the baseline level, and remains there say for more than 10 minutes, then you stop the cumulative time count-up, and maybe subtract 10 minutes. Voila.
Any update here? It seems to have been promised and then constantly delayed...
This feature is a lot more difficult than we initially thought. The fundamental problem is to accurately identify application (video, gaming) behavior from the network. We have been enhancing this in the past few releases, and so far the prediction is not that accurate, such we can use to regulate kids. (the margin of error is very very high, and the calculation depends on network speed, application type ... and even somethings that's not even possible to predict)
We will continue to try this from release to release. Once we get the duration calculated, it will be pretty easy to do the limit.
Under devices network flow, selecting "Apps" give a rough estimate of time spent per designated application.
The "shopping" application is not accurate, and it would be great if you could elaborate how everything is defined or provide the ability for end users to build definitions.
Could you not use this flow/applications as the base line with simple if/and/else statements?
Ex: IF day = Today and device group = "kids" and application "YouTube" is > 1 hour, then block "YouTube"
What Firewalla product (if any) would work similar to 'circle' where the users are allocated device and we can create a schedule when the users can access internet. So basically looking at limiting internet access for our child. I understand there are features which will allow/block certain websites? Are there any other parental features that are available through Firewalla products? Thanks
Please sign in to leave a comment.