Shut Off the Internet With a Literal Valve

Lefty loosey, righty tighty.

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Sep 27 2017, 3:19pm

The internet is a series of tubes. Everyone knows this. But what if there was one valve in your home to control the flow of that sweet, sweet bandwidth? Crank it open and let the internet flood, or bring it down to a trickle when your roommates are hogging the network.

Ilker Dagli, a system and network administrator at Near East University in North Cyprus, posted a video of the valve he and his team at the Innovation and Information Technologies Center created to control bandwidth speeds. They call it the NetValve.

As sysadmin, they occasionally need to throttle network bandwidth—typically, they'd do this using a bunch of terminal commands. "There were some software solutions which simplifies it," Dagli told me via email. "But there wasn't any hardware solution...And it should be as easy as our grandmothers can use."

They connected a classic metal valve to a custom-built single board computer that runs an embedded operating system, and developed the software that controls the network. Turning the valve left increases the bandwidth, and turning it right slows it down. Lefty loosy, righty tighty.

Since several people in the YouTube comments and across Reddit asked where they could purchase this steampunk creation, Dagli and the team started a crowdfunding campaign to make and ship more of them. As of publishing, they had raised $20 of their $50,000 goal in five days.