There are times when your Xbox One gaming experience may not be all that much fun. You could be trying to connect with buddies via Xbox Live, but you just can’t join the game you want, or hear your friends talking – this is usually caused because of a mismatch of NAT types and you will have to make amendments on your home router.
If you use a router (and lets face it, most of you will), you need to allow inbound Xbox One connections through the router by opening up specific ‘ports’ or forwarding traffic onto your Xbox One, which is often known as ‘port-forwarding’. So how do you set up Xbox One port forwarding to make your Xbox Live experience so much better? Scroll down to find out…
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How To Port Forward For Xbox Live
As mentioned earlier, the Xbox One’s network connectivity can suffer from the fact that the Xbox One cannot easily communicate with Xbox Live members or the Xbox Live servers. This can however be sorted out by opening or forwarding its ports using the router’s inbuilt configuration utility, or other third party utilities.
Firstly, you need to log into the Xbox One’s administration panel and assign a static local IP address to the Xbox console. To do this, you need to make the change in the Network Settings area of the menu.
Or, if your router supports it, you could make a DHCP reservation within your router for your Xbox. This would mean your Xbox would remain set to ‘DHCP’ when trying to obtain an IP address, but the router would always give out the same IP as you have defined in the router. The router knows to only give your Xbox this address because the Xbox will use the hard-coded MAC address within the unit.
You would need to refer to your router manufacturer’s support documentation to confirm how to complete either of the above two options..
You will then need to go to the section within your router that caters for port forwarding. Guess what? This is usually referred to as the ‘Port Forwarding’ or ‘Forward Ports’ section within a router!
In the router’s ‘Port Forwarding’ section, forward the following ports to the IP address that you have assigned the console.
Make sure these ports are ‘port forwarded’
• Port 88 (UDP)
• Port 3074 (UDP & TCP)
• Port 53 (UDP & TCP)
• Port 80 (TCP)
• Port 500 (UDP)
• Port 3544 (UDP)
• Port 4500 (UDP)
Make sure they point to the static or DHCP reserved address of your Xbox One.
…and that’s it!
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So How Does Port Forward Work?
Network Address Translation Basics
The Network Address Translation (NAT) process is performed by the router (or firewall) to allow the local area network computers talk to the externally connected computers (for example, anything in the Internet!). The router acts as a gateway for the traffic moving between the local area network (your home) and the Internet.
NAT allows a router to share one IP address across several devices on the network. The router manages the multiple local IP addresses and lets them use the single ISP provided public IP, to connect to the Internet. This is also known as PAT (Port Address Translation).
During the router configuration, ports are used to direct the external internet traffic to the local computers with internal IP addresses. The open port allows the incoming traffic to know which device to go connect to and in most cases this happens automatically inside the router.
However, there are times some modifications need to be made. In the case of the Xbox, the other Xbox users, or Xbox Live servers, need to initiate communication with YOUR Xbox. Often, your router/firewall will block these requests by default as it doesn’t know if they are a security risk or not. Routers are smart, but they don’t know that you are an Xbox NINJA, just trying to kick everyone’s butt…
Common NAT types on Xbox Live
The three commonly used NAT configurations, the choice of which depends on the platform are, Open, Moderate and Strict. The moderate and Strict NAT types limit PCs or gaming consoles (our lovely Xbox One) connectivity.
Open NAT is, as the name suggests, the most compatible and the only one that can be accessed by all the other the other types (what we want!), hence the one with that provides the best connection options. On the other hand, Moderate NAT can only access similar Moderate NAT and Open NAT users, while the Strict NAT users can only access the Open NAT guys.
Network Ports Explained
A network port is a virtual pipeline that allows computers and internet enabled devices to communicate and exchange information. Think of a port as being a window or door to your home. Locking your doors or windows stops anyone from getting in or out. Opening them up allows access.
Port forwarding is the technique used to let Xbox Live servers or other Xbox One users access to your Xbox without compromise. It improves the host’s gaming experience by increasing the connection speeds and decreasing those horrid lobby wait times.
A forwarded port gives us the very lovely ‘NAT Type Open’ display…
Best DNS For Xbox Live
As a bonus, here’s another little trick you can use to potentially help with your Xbox Live experience.
Download Namebench (it’s free), and run it against the DNS server you currently use. Most people use the DNS server IP address that is provided to them by their ISP. You can obtain this information from your router.
Using Namebench, you can benchmark test DNS speeds for any DNS server you want. This can be your own ISP, Google Public DNS addresses (usually 126.96.36.199 or 188.8.131.52) or perhaps OpenDNS or UltraDNS.
These tests will tell you which DNS server will work best for you.