When I’m called in to consult on network traffic management, I usually end up recommending heavy-duty, network traffic solutions such as Cisco’s IOS NetFlow, F5 Network’s BIG-IP, or Juniper’s Network and Security Manager (NSM). These are serious tools for serious networks. But, if you’re using Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 and all you really want is do is keep your users from eating up your Internet connection’s bandwidth catching up on the episode of Modern Family on Hulu that they missed last night, Windows’ built-in URL Quality of Service (QoS)-based traffic management is all need.
Windows has had QoS traffic management for a while now, but it used applications, IP addresses, and port numbers to determine which traffic got priority. That’s both overkill and more complicated than you might need for your business network.
Starting with the latest versions of Windows, you can set traffic priority by Website address. This way, as a network administrator all you need do is set up policies by Website address, instead of digging around for IP addresses. So, for example, you could set the ZDNet Website to have a high-priority while locking down ESPN.