Most network routers ship preconfigured to allow normal Internet traffic, chat sessions and email to come and go through the network without hindrance. A router does this by enabling and opening ports commonly used by these protocols. However, Windows has more than 65,000 virtual data ports that applications can use to send and receive data over the Internet. Opening all of them is unsafe, as it may allow others to access your computer and data. Many legitimate applications also require that you open ports before they work as intended. Therefore, if you need to enable certain data ports for a game or other Internet-based program, you must open them in your router control panel as well as the Windows Firewall.
Open Ports on the Router
Open a Web browser and type the numerical IP address for the router's login page into the address bar. Press the "Enter" key.
Enter the administrator username and password for your router. Refer to the user guide if you don’t know the default login credentials. Press "Enter" or click "Login" after entering the username and password.
Click the tab used for opening ports and protocols on the router. The appropriate tab name may be "Applications & Gaming," "Port Forwarding," "External Applications" or something similar. If your router does not have a tab or link similar to those above, click "Settings" or "Advanced Settings" and look for links labeled "Ports," "Game Hosting" or something else that refers to programs not generally associated with standard Web browsing.
Click the "Open Ports" or "Port Forwarding" link or button. A new set of fields for the new open-port entry should appear in your browser. Enter a descriptive name for the application or game that requires the open port in the appropriate description or name field. For example, if you want to install a game that requires you open a port or range of ports on your router, enter the game's name in the field.
Enter a beginning and ending value for the port range in the “External Ports” or “Port Range” fields. Even if the application or game requires you to open only one port, you must enter two port values. For example, if an online game requires that you open only port 1557 on the router, you must enter it twice, both as the beginning and ending port values. If an application requires multiple ports, such as ports 4550 to 4559, enter “4550” in the first field and then type “4559” in the second.
Choose the protocol required for the application and open port. The protocol choices are TCP, UDP or TCP and UDP. Most IP-based applications and online games require the TCP protocol. Others might require that you use UDP, while some might even require you to enable both protocols. Refer to the installation instructions or user documentation for the game or program to determine which online protocol you must use.
Click the “Enable” or "Save" button to save the changes, and then reboot the router if prompted. After you reboot the router, it should allow data traffic on the port range you opened.
Open Ports in Windows Firewall
Click the Start button, then "Control Panel."
Click the "Windows Firewall" link, then "Advanced Settings." After the Windows Firewall window opens, click "Inbound Rules."
Click the "New Rule" button and then select "Port." Click the "Next" button.
Select the TCP or UDP protocol, then click "Specific Local Ports." Enter the port number or range in the "Specific Local Ports" field. Enter a range of ports in the "199-299" format, where ports 199 to 299 are the ones you want to open on the computer. Click the "Next" button.
Enable the "Allow the Connection" option, then click "Next." Enable the "Private" network list option, then click "Next." Enter a descriptive name for the port opening in the "Name" field. Optionally, enter a brief comment describing the open port in the "Description" box.
Click the "Finish" button to complete opening the port in Windows Firewall.
- The login page IP address for routers varies by manufacturer. Many manufacturers use "192.168.1.1," "192.168.0.1" or something similar as the default. If you do not know the default IP address for your router, check to see if there is a label or sticker on it that lists it. If there is no affixed label with the default IP address and login information, refer to the user guide or owner's manual for the router.
- Some applications or games might require you create a new rule in the Outbound Rules area of Windows Firewall, as well as in the Inbound Rules sections. Nevertheless, the process for creating a new Outbound Rule is the same as when creating an Inbound Rule, except you click the "Outbound Rules" link instead of the one for "Inbound Rules."
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