The aim of Port Forwarding a router or modem is to allow specified connections to pass through the firewall.
Sometimes, when playing online games, you may have trouble connecting to certain people or servers. This is often due to NAT (Network Address Translation) settings and firewalls. This is most often a problem with games consoles, especially when you have more than one internet user in your household.
The best way to check the NAT settings on a console is to navigate to the Settings section, find the Network settings, and then run a connectivity test, which can usually be found in this menu (The location of settings and options varies between different consoles).
After the test has completed, the console will display some information on the screen. Find NAT settings in the list, and look at the results. If you are using a Microsoft or Nintendo console, it will use the words STRICT, MODERATE, or OPEN, whereas if you are using a Sony console, it will use TYPE 1, TYPE 2, or TYPE 3.
Console NAT Types
STRICT or TYPE 3:
A user with Strict/Type 3 NAT Settings will find that the time taken to connect to a game will be considerably longer than it should be, and they may encounter other issues, such as problems with voice chat and connection speed and stability.
A user with Strict/Type 3 NAT Settings will usually only be able to connect to others with Strict/Type 3 settings, but may be able to connect to games hosted by players with Open/Type 1 settings. However, if they are connected to an Open/Type 1 host, they may be disconnected with no warning when others join the game.
MODERATE or TYPE 2:
A user with Moderate/Type 2 NAT Settings should be able to play the game with fewer problems than a person with Strict or Type 3, but may still find that the time taken to connect to a game is still longer than it should be, and may also encounter issues with voice chat and other features.
A user with Moderate/Type 2 NAT Settings will be able to connect to other users with Open/Type 1 and Moderate/Type 2 settings, but may encounter connectivity issues.
OPEN or TYPE 1:
A user with Open/Type 1 NAT Settings will be able to play the game with no NAT issues, and should be able to connect to a game quickly. They will be able to use all features of the game with no issues caused by their NAT settings.
A user with Open/Type 1 Nat Settings will be able to connect to anyone, and should not encounter any connectivity issues.
PC NAT Settings
NAT Settings on PC games are more complicated, as there are no preset connections that games have to use. If you are experiencing connectivity issues when trying to play online multiplayer games on a PC, you should search for the ports required for the specific game that you are trying to play.
In order to Port Forward, you must first find the IP Address of the router or modem that your PC or Console connects to. To do this, you must use a PC that is connected to the Router or Modem that you wish to set up Port Forwarding for.
On a Windows system, open the Start Menu and search for "cmd". Run cmd.exe, and when it opens type in "ipconfig /all" (without the speech marks). Scroll to the top of the resulting list and find your "Default Gateway". This will be a list of numbers seperated by full stops, for example, my default gateway is 192.168.0.1. This number will be different depending on your system and which router or modem you own.
The next step is to open a web browser, and enter the Default Gateway into the address bar. This will usually take you to the login page for your router or modem. This page will be different depending on your router or modem, and will sometimes require a username and password to access. If you do not know the username and password, ask someone who you think may know. If you cannot find out the username and password, you can search for the default usernames and passwords for the specific make and model of router or modem that you have, or you can attempt to find out by contacting your Internet Service Provider.
After you have logged in to the router or modem, you need to find the IP address of your computer or console. If you do not have many devices connected to the router, this should be simple. If you do have a lot of connections, you may need to find out what your computer's MAC Address is. This can be found in the same place as the Default Gateway, under "Physical Address". Navigate to the Connections section of the router or modem, and find the IP address for the computer you wish to port forward for. You can either use the computer's name or MAC Address to find it in the list.
If you are trying to port forward for a console, you can find the IP address for the console in the Settings section of the Console. Beware that in order to port forward, you must set up a Static IP Address for the console. If your console is already connected to the internet, copy down the settings that it has automatically applied, and then choose a manual IP address. Enter the exact same settings into the correct fields in order to avoid any issues.
After you have found the IP address of the device that you wish to set up Port Forwarding for, you must find the Port Forward section. This is sometimes found in Advanced Settings, or may be found in a list. Once again, this can differ depending on which router or modem you own.
You now need to find out which ports are required for the game or console that you wish to play. You can usually find this information by searching the internet, but you can also contact the support team for the game that you wish to play, and try asking them.
In the port forwarding section, you may be able to enter a Name, a Start and End port, a protocol, and an IP Address. The name is there to let you identify the connection, the Start and End Ports, and the Protocol, should match up to the ports and protocols required by the game, and the IP address should be the address of the PC or console that you wish to set up port forwarding for.
PC Games will usually only require a small amount of ports to be forwarded, but consoles usually require a larger amount. This is because the features of the console, such as voice chat and matchmaking, often use additional ports that the games themselves do not use.
Once you have finished entering the required information, you should save the changes and apply them. The router or modem may require a restart to finish the process, but once that is done, if you are on a console run a connection test again, and if you are on a PC attempt to connect once more. If you have followed these steps correctly, you should have Open/Type 1 NAT Settings, and should be able to connect and play.
As always, there are differences between different systems and network configurations, so this guide may not work for all people, but most recent modems, routers, and consoles use similar settings and menus, so this guide should be useful for most people.