Thoughts, information and reflections about technology

Blocking Runescape on a Linksys WRTG54

I finally got fed up with our son playing runescape when he is supposed to be doing his homework. The final straw was when the network slowed to a crawl while I was trying to get some work out. I went downstairs and sure enough, it was runescape on his laptop and not anything homework related.

Now, something like runescape should most likely not cause network problems. However, I really don’t have the time to troubleshoot it right now.

Most of the newer routers give you the tools to either block internet access at certain times, block services, block sites or block by keyword.

CAUTION – when you work with your router, this is always a chance of (1) completely hosing the router configuration and ‘bricking’ it and (2) blocking yourself from internet access that you need.

How you go about blocking access to a particular site and the amount of control you will have will depend on the router model and the firmware installed. In our case, we are running a Linksys WRTG54 and an early version of the firmware – v 1.x

There is a tab titled “Access Restrictions”. You can define up to 10 policies. The basic procedure is

1. Name the policy. In our case it was runescape.
2. IMPORTANT – you need to edit the list of PCs with the “EDIT LIST OF PCS” button. This determines which PCs the policy will apply to. You can specify the PCs by their MAC address which can be a pain. I went with the “Kill them all and let God sort them out” approach and blocked based on an internal IP range of 1-254. In other words, the policy applies to every device on our network.
3. Enter a value for block by url. In this case www.runescape.com This will block all access to the runescape site.

Be careful with any of the other settings. You could cut off all internet access for your network.

Apply the settings and test them out.

Done – Runescape is kaput until further notice.

Make sure that the kids know that any cute moves like a cold reset of the router will result in something that will make the inquisition look like romper room. (You should back up your router settings anyway or at least save a hardcopy of the configuration pages, especially if you are using port forwarding for things like remote access. In the case of the WRTG54, you can go to ADMINISTRATION – CONFIG MANAGEMENT – BACKUP to save a copy of your router configuration to a local machine. (Note – you should also have hard copies of any port forwarding or port triggering you might be using)

I’m not a big fan of taking draconian steps with a network. Currently I just don’t have the time to manually police things. Overall, I really think Runescape has a lot of educational value. The problem is that it can be addictive.

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