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When I'm playing a game, I don't want Dropbox taking hogging my network connection. I have been able to noticeably reduce my latency by turning it off while playing. The same is true to a lesser extend for web browsing.

I'm looking for network equivalents for niceness and scheduling policies (SCHED_BATCH etc. in schedtool). Does such a thing exist? Alternatively, automatically cutting off network access for a specific process while another one is running would work too.

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Generally this is work for a traffic shaper, so that is what you should look for. As for identifying what packets belong to what application, you will probably want to look at network namespaces and/or Cgroups, but I would expect there to be some ready-to-use solutions (likely based on these).

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I already knew about these building blocks but never used them before. A ready-made solution is what I am in fact looking for. –  Erik Apr 2 '13 at 16:59

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