Quake Live just launched into public beta, likely putting extra strain on your small office network and productivity. The free first-person shooter is based on the classic Quake III Arena, but now it runs inside a web browser. It's perfect for slacking off on nearly any PC, and when I finish this post, I'm going to jump into the fray. But if your employees can't wait to finish their work before playing, here's how to block access to the game.
Your Internet connection is full of software ports, virtual strands isolated for specific communications. Email access, FTP, instant messaging, and other Internet activities default to a certain port. Web traffic uses port 80, but Quake Live requires port 5222 even though it lives in a web browser; just block this port to leave other Internet services unaffected.
Log into your router's configuration web page. Check your specific model for instructions. Essentially, you'll enter the router's internal network IP address into a web browser as a URL, such as http://192.168.0.1. You'll be prompted for a password--which you hopefully already changed and know.
Look for an area about the firewall or security. On a Linksys WRT310N, for example, change an access restriction setting. Type the application name to keep things tidy, enter the port range--5222 to 5222--and block TCP. After picking Add, click the new Quake Live application setting, and click the right arrows to block that traffic. Click Save Settings or a similar option on your router, and restart it if needed.
That's it. Your small business will be a little bit less fun but a lot more productive.
Zack Stern is a San Francisco-based writer and editor who's doing whatever it takes to avoid being fragged by the economy.