Review: cFosSpeed Traffic Shaper

Today in my networking class we were discussing about the different protocols used, congestion was mentioned at some point in class and then it hit me: I never ever spoke about a nifty program I use called cFosSpeed! Never told anyone about it, never mentioned it when people suffer slow browsing speeds while trying to download stuff!

As a result I have decided to write this review about a little program called cFosSpeed. It has been around for several years, I think I have been using it for possibly 5+ years, when it first came out.

cFosSpeed is a traffic shaping software for Windows, it works on both 32 and 64-bit versions of Windows. It installs a driver that you can see on your network adapter's properties. By default it comes configured with options that are suited for most people, but of course it can be customized easily by tweaking settings in the GUI or editing a couple of files.

So what does it do exactly? Imagine this situation: you are downloading something using Bittorrent. Obviously you want to download at max speed. However, can you browse sites properly with BT eating up your line? Pages timeout, never load or you just give up and pause the download for your browsing session… cFosSpeed manages the traffic for you by shaping it much like what your ISP might do, set priorities to different types of traffic from low (such as P2P) to high (media streaming).

The result is better traffic management, and since it controls both upload and download queues you technically do not have to set limits to software that has such an option (like P2P). Upon installation your browser pops up to the page where one of the links is for you to test it for yourself!

cFosSpeed works by sending ping packets to some point in the path between your computer and their website (this can be configured to another site). However the TTL is set low, so it will never reach its destination but somewhere in between. In my case it hits the router/device just after my ISP's gateway after my home network (hop 3 in trace routes). This as well can be configured if for example, your ISP sets low priorities to pings at certain points, or if cFosSpeed messes up differentiating your local network to the external network.

Well that is more or less the idea of cFosSpeed, some pictures might explain the above a bit better.

Below is one of the many skins that come with cFosSpeed. This is my favorite, called Liquid Crystal. It shows the number of connections (77), download speed (28.7k) and upload speed (9.8k) along with the latency to the hop I mentioned above.

Below are the connections currently established. I blanked out the source and destination IP addresses. As you can see it shows the program that is currently using the connection, layer 7 (application layer) detection, data transferred, connection speed and most importantly what class the traffic is categorized. As you can see utorrent.exe has been set to lower while chrome.exe (Google Chrome) has been set to the highest priority.

cFosSpeed does a good job at detecting your network interfaces. As I only have one link that takes me to the outside world, I have my wireless interface only being shaped.

Some basic protocols are defined below along with a slider to control the priority of each. Basic rule is to have as little as possible protocols on high otherwise it is simply useless to shape traffic. I decided to increase HTTP only to maximum priority as shown below.

Here's the priority based on programs instead of just protocol. cFosSpeed prioritizes protocols first and then programs. This is good, a low priority program has data set low but basics such as resolving domains higher.

There are many other options inside, along with extra features. As you can see from the menus above, there is a section to control your Internet budget (if your connection has transfer metered with overages for example) and another section with traffic analysis and statistics.

cFosSpeed is actually pretty cheap for what you get. It costs only $19.90 (currency can be changed), sometimes they have offers but you will need to check frequently (its already cheap as it is!). Compared to other traffic shapers or limiters cFosSpeed probably has the best features, simple install and forget process and the lowest price.

You may check the cFos site here for more details and a better explanation of what it does. Click on one of the little flags at the top to switch to your language of choice.

Update 1: I just went through my email and found the email with my licence key, here is the timestamp: Date: Wed, 20 Oct 2004 10:54:18 +0200. Over 5 years :-P!

Update 2: If you want to get a free licence, here is the page.

Update 3: I revisit cFosSpeed, this time version 7.

4 thoughts on “Review: cFosSpeed Traffic Shaper”

  1. wow, cfos is great at being bloatware and that is it. you can get the same functions out of a decent belkin or linksys router with bandwidth managment and you can set the bandwidth consumed from torrents/p2p through whatever client you are using. to check what connections your comp is using under windows type CMD in the run box in your start menu and type netstat -n in the command prompt box. the only thing this program does is add bloatware and a buggy network driver that will cause more harm than good. 0 stars. this program is for morons only

  2. @crack

    I’m not sure when you have tried cfos, or what kind of hardware. If it has been a long time, then many changes have occurred since then. The only way they can improve their product is if they get feedback on what works and what doesn’t.

  3. I have found cfos to be very helpful. While Crack is right that a decent router can traffic shape as well as cfos, lots of times I am not on my home network and cfos allows me to prioritize my bandwidth at school, work or wherever. Also I like having the bandwidth display in the lower right corner and cfos looks a lot better than the other offerings out there. And a lifetime license for $20! I certainly recommend it.

  4. I had this from gaming software that came with my crosshair motherboard, I never noticed any problems until I upgraded my modem and router to the new Virgin superhub and I started getting download speeds of 4Mbs instead of the 100Mbs that I was supposed to get, anyway after 5 days of going through everything I could think of I tracked it down to this cfosspeed thing, after deleting I now have my 100+Mbs.

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