Question 3rd Party Parental Controls for a Linksys EA7300 Router ?

Dec 8, 2021
I use a Linksys EA7300 wireless router and I'm looking for a way to block the internet connection to certain devices at certain times. My main concern is the amount of data my family is using and it primarily comes from members of our family falling asleep with their tablets on while streaming. We've been getting really close to our data limits and I'm looking for a way to shut off the internet at certain times (without physically unplugging the modem).

The Linksys routers is "supposed" to have parental controls built in but they suck. I have looked through Reddit and Google but most people say the same thing about the built in parental controls, they don't work. I found a great post about the same issue from a few years ago. The recommendations were OpenDNS and NextDNS. While I like the idea of not cost from OpenDNS, FreeDNS is only $1.99 a month so I can handle that. What I want to know is if, there are any better options out there that people have used ? Thanks.
The main reason parental controls don't work is because of encryption. Thanks to our government getting caught intercepting and tracking data they were not suppose to the whole internet has pretty much gone encrypted with stuff like HTTPS. In addition most browsers now encrypt the DNS so one of the last holes has been mostly plugged.
Things like opendns only work if you can force the traffic through the opendns server if the user has control of the client they can directly use the encrypted dns servers at say cloudflare.

This means any for of so called "deep packet inspection" can not longer work no matter what a firewall manufacture claims. So pretty much any form of traffic filters or parental controls are a worthless feature. You can not see the actual URL, you will still get IP addresses but most those mean little with everything being hosted at big cloud data centers. IP address filters do still work for some larger locations that are not shared between multiple web sites.

BUT your requirements are a little different. You really don't seem to care what exactly they are doing just how much when they are doing it. Time of day filters should work ok. I don't know about linksys but it is a pretty easy function to match a IP/mac address and then put a rules in that says it can only use the internet between a certain set of hours. I know tplink and asus can do it but I suspect without actually reading the manual that linksys can also.

Now if you actually want a quota system I have not seen that on a consumer router. The problem is even though some devices can track open sessions and keep track they have no place to store long term data. So monthly caps are hard to implement and you take the chance of losing data if the router is rebooted. There is/was one third party firmware called gargoyle that had this ability.

Another note on any form of packet monitor/filter. Most routers use a hardware acceleration feature that lets the NAT bypass the CPU chip. This means you can not use any kind of program feature to monitor data without disabling this feature. It depends on how fast your internet connection is.
Using the CPU to do the NAT will cap out your connection at about 300mpbs it will be even less the more filtering and rules you apply to the data