Xbox Live - Router & Port Forwarding - Guide
Published by ozzy on 2006-03-28

Routers & Port Forwarding
Have you ever noticed that sometimes you can't join certain games on Xbox LIVE??? Have you noticed that in some games there are people that you can't hear or talk to?? If this is the case you probably don't have a fully 100% xbox live compatible router or you don't have your ports setup for optimal online gaming. Here are some notes and instructions to hopefully assist you people in at least working towards fixing up your setup and which may alleviate these issues.

Network and Router Intro
First things first - I'm assuming your setup looks something like this:

Xbox -> Broadband Router -> (possibly a modem) -> Internet

Your broadband router may have a built-in ADSL modem or you may be using a separate external modem (ADSL or Cable). You may also have one or more network hubs and/or switches - these shouldn't affect things for this discussion.

If you are using a broadband router (with multiple wired and/or wireless ports) which does NAT for connection sharing (NB: This is typically the case with most if not all of these devices) and you have an external (separate) modem then I'm expecting that you are running your modem in Bridging (passthrough) mode and not Routing (NAT) mode - if this is not that case then you "may" want to try connecting your xbox directly to the modem instead.

Now this guide is going to be using some potentially confusing acronyms and terms (like NAT, UDP, TCP, Port, UPnP, IP, DMZ, etc) - in most cases you don't actually need to know what these mean or what they really represent - most of the time you just need to find and select an option with that name in the routers administrative interface. Which brings us to another point - most (if not all) home broadband routers have some form of administrative interface (where you can set things up and change settings) - it is usually accessed via a web based (via a web browser) interface. To make changes to the router configuration you will need to know:

- the web address for this admin interface (usually something like or or something like that - more on this elsewhere)
- the administrative account name (usually "admin" or something like that)
- the password

Use one of the Three Options below to configure your broadband router to make it more Xbox Live compatible.
All of the Options below require you to log into the routers administrative interface (using a web browser) and make changes to its configuration. Options 2 and 3 also require you to know the IP Address of your Xbox (instructions for doing this are given after the three options). The second option also requires you to work out how to setup port forwarding rules in the router. The following web site details instructions (with pictures) (for a huge number of Routers) on how to both log into the web interface (giving the usual default address and username) and how to configure a port forwarding rule for each router. In most cases the example given is to setup a port forward to the PCs IP Address - you want to set it up to forward to the Xboxes IP Address instead. If your exact router is not listed then perhaps try choosing a similar one and use the example. http://www.portforward.com/routers.htm

Three Basic Options for Setting up your Router
Option 1: UPnP - the first thing to check is to see if your broadband router supports a feature called UPnP (Universal Plug and Play) and turn it on. You may also be able to install a newer firmware in your router (which you can usually obtain from your router manufacturers web site) which has the UPnP feature. However UPnP just may not be available for your router in which case try Option 2.

Option 2: Port Forwarding - the second option you can try is to see if your router supports the setup of "port forwarding" rules and if so setup (three) port forwarding rules for the following three ports to the IP address of your Xbox:
UDP 88
UDP 3074
TCP 3074
(see http://www.portforward.com/routers.htm for more info on how to do this)

Option 3: DMZ Host - the last option you can try is to see if your router supports specifying a DMZ (Exposed) Host and if so configure it so that the IP address of your Xbox is setup as the DMZ Host.

Your Xboxes IP Address
To setup any port forwarding or DMZ rules you need to determine the IP Address of the device you are going to forward these ports to (your xbox).

Most people with a router will have it setup such that it is a DHCP server and all the devices you connect to your LAN will be DHCP clients - which will be automatically assigned an IP address (and other information) by the DHCP Server in your router.

Most routers have a nice status web page which show you the currently connected devices (DHCP Clients Table, Attached Devices, LAN Status, etc) and their MAC addresses and IP Addresses - however how do you determine which one of these devices is the Xbox?

The easiest way is to have only two devices active on your LAN (the PC you are using to administer the router with and the xbox). Have them both connected and turned on and then go to the routers connected devices web page and hopefully you should have only two devices listed in the table. One of them will be your PC and the other will be the Xbox. By a process of elimination if you determine your PC (Computers) IP Address the other one will be the Xbox.

An alternative is to manually assign an IP Address (and Gateway and DNS server address) to your Xbox (using the Xbox Dashboard network settings) - you must assign an address from the same pool as the routers DHCP Server assigns (basically one which has the same first three numbers in the IP address as your PC (and the web admin interface address) has - e.g. 192.168.???. NB: Don't choose an address which is already in use on your home network.

Your Computer's IP Address
Windows 98SE and ME users
- Click the Start button.
- Click Run button.
- In the text area type Winipcfg. (Your computer's IP address should be listed next to IP Address. If you have more than one NIC card select the IP address that starts with 192.168.)

Windows 2000 and XP
- Click the Start button.
- Click Run button.
- In the text area type cmd. (A black screen should pop up on the screen.)
- In the black screen type IPConfig. (Your computer's IP address should be listed next to IP Address. If you have more than one NIC card select the IP address that starts with 192.168.)