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HTB is an ideal qdisc to use on a link with a known bandwidth, because the innermost (root-most) class can be set to the maximum bandwidth available on a given link. Flows can be further subdivided into children classes, allowing either guaranteed bandwidth to particular classes of traffic or allowing preference to specific kinds of traffic.
In theory, the PRIO scheduler is an ideal match for links with variable bandwidth, because it is a work-conserving qdisc (which means that it provides no shaping). In the case of a link with an unknown or fluctuating bandwidth, the PRIO scheduler simply prefers to dequeue any available packet in the highest priority band first, then falling to the lower priority queues.
Of the many types of contention for network bandwidth, this is one of the easier types of contention to address in general. By using the SFQ qdisc, traffic in a particular queue can be separated into flows, each of which will be serviced fairly (inside that queue). Well-behaved applications (and users) will find that using SFQ and ESFQ are sufficient for most sharing needs.
The Achilles heel of these fair queuing algorithms is a misbehaving user or application which opens many connections simultaneously (e.g., eMule, eDonkey, Kazaa). By creating a large number of individual flows, the application can dominate slots in the fair queuing algorithm. Restated, the fair queuing algorithm has no idea that a single application is generating the majority of the flows, and cannot penalize the user. Other methods are called for.
For many administrators this is the ideal method of dividing bandwidth amongst their users. Unfortunately, there is no easy solution, and it becomes increasingly complex with the number of machine sharing a network link.
To divide bandwidth equitably between N IP addresses, there must be N classes.
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