Networking Dilemma

Hi Tek Syndicate crew and family from down under,

My friends and I are planning to move in to a place pretty soon and networking comes to play in our minds. We're planning to split our internet data bill according to our individual usage and evenly dividing the remaining. The problem is with monitoring data usage of each individual device. I was thinking of the ability to create multiple user accounts on a router to monitor each account's data usage but I'm not sure which router has that feature. Furthermore, I have a laptop and a desktop which I want to connect in a secured environment for file transfers and running intra-network programs which my friends will not be able to access.

I have thought of building a customised router running pfsense, and networking through a UM switch. The problem is that I do not have old hardware available at my disposal and would prefer not to spend $500 on low-end PC components just for the router. If anyone knows where I can get cheap, old but reliable hardware in Sydney, Australia, then i might consider this path. If normal routers running DD-WRT is fine, then I'll just opt for that but I'm not entirely sure whether DD-WRT has the features that I'm looking for either.

tl;dr I'm moving in with friends. I need a secure network environment for personal file transfers and the ability to monitor each user's internet data usage to split the tab. Do not have old parts to build pfsense router and prefer not to spend $500 building one unless someone finds me a cheap store in Sydney, Australia. Not sure if DD-WRT has enough features to cut it.

Any help is welcomed and much appreciated.


Maybe one of these -

has RMON and SNMP. Maybe overkill and a bit pricey though. Then have some home plugs to route to each room etc or wi-fi. Have you had a look for some 2nd hand cisco gear? If not then gumtree or even on OCAU, there is always someone who is parting out old network gear.

There are ways of doing it with openwrt, but i've never tried so I can't really tell you how. What I would do is assign static IP addresses to each device, maybe having a different range for each user ( - for user 1, - for user 2 for example) then using some application on the router to monitor the bandwidth usage per ip address, then at the end of the month add everything up and work out the percentages. Although it might just be easier to just split the bill evenly. As for the other part I'm not really sure what a simple way of doing that would be. One thing you could do is on your router running openwrt you create an interface for each user, so you'll have a WAN interface and a bunch of LAN interfaces, each one will be on a different subnet (,, etc) and on a separate virtual LAN). You set up firewall rules on the router so all the LANs can access the internet from the WAN interface but they can't talk to each other. Then you connect a switch or access point to your LAN interface on the router, now you have the internet and your computers can communicate with each other but your friends won't be able to access them.

If I create multiple subnets, is there a way to allow each user to only be assigned an IP from their allocated subnet using DHCP, ie given different accounts or something of that matter? I'd prefer DHCP to static IPs because assigning static IPs creates a mess and it would be inconvenient if a friend was to visit and use the internet.

In ddwrt, theres a graph that shows how much data has been used by each connection. I believe its done by mac address.

DDwrt is free. give it a shot.