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HOWTO: Block iTunes Radio streams to save bandwidth

Why block iTunes Radio stations?

Do you have users on your network listening to iTunes Radio streams and using up your available bandwidth? Many of the streaming radio stations use up to 128kbps. Just a handful of users listening to streaming iTunes Radio stations could easily use up your available bandwidth, even on a T1 line, causing a noticable slow down in your important applications and web browsing

Since even a company wide policy banning the use of iTunes streaming radio stations won't solve your problems, the best solution is to simply block the users from accessing them.

What if I have both Windows and Macs on my network?

The instructions below will work for all types of clients. If you choose to use the router-level blocking you do not have to even touch any of the clients on the network. If you choose to edit the hosts file on each client, the location of that file will vary by OS, but the instructions are the same.

How to do it

There are several options for blocking iTunes Radio streams. The easiest to implement is to block iTunes from accessing the source lists at the router. Another option is to edit the hosts file on each machine. Instructions for both methods are below, but working at the router level is usually the easiest since the hosts file would need to be edited on every machine.

Blocking iTunes Radio stations at the router

iTunes uses port 80, the standard port for web hosting and browsing, to download the "playlists" so it isn't likely that you can just shut down all traffic on port 80. Instead, you only want to prevent outbound access to the site from which the radio station playlists are downloaded. As of this writing (July 21, 2006), that site is pri.kts-af.net which points to tunes.apple.com.akadns.net and resolves to the IP address 17.254.2.170 For good measure, you may want to block access to all three of those. Some reports show that it previously resolved to 17.254.4.130 so you may wish to that IP address as well.

Editing the hosts file

If your router doesn't support this type of port blocking (most do) or for some other reason you cannot stop the outbound traffic at your router you can also edit the hosts file on each machine. Wikipedia has a handy guide if you need help locating the hosts file on your machine. Simply add the following lines to the file:

    0.0.0.0 17.254.2.170
    0.0.0.0 tunes.apple.com.akadns.net
    0.0.0.0 pri.kts-af.net
    

Again, you may want to also block the previous IP address. Simply add to the above:

    0.0.0.0 17.254.4.130
    

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