Many a times if you had played online games on your Xbox 360, you might have seen NAT information which could be strict, moderate or open type. For example in Gears of War 3, I have seen this setting when I try to join a game or a party.
What is NAT in simple words ?
In a network, when your internet is connected to your Router, and the router is one which takes care of connecting all devices to rest of the world. So imagine this as a person who answers all your phone calls and if it is for you, it will forward the call back to you. So in short, it knows where you are (IP address) and can identify if the information belong to you.
If your Xbox is connected over Wired network, you will face any NAT issues for sure.
- First it assigns IP address to your devices.
- Second it acts as layer of sending information which was requested from any of the device back to the device when a reply is received. Since the router is open to the world, and your devices are behind it, it acts as Network Address Translator device to send information to the right person.
What has XBOX to do with NAT ?
Actually nothing. Xbox does not control it, its the router that’s responsible for controlling it. However, if the NAT type is strict, it will result in :
- If you are in a game party where you are communicating with your friends over audio, you might not hear anything.
- When looking for an XBOX game or party, your NAT type is checked, and if it is strict, you cannot join a party or your friends might not be able to join.
How to change NAT Settings ?
First I will suggest you to give your Xbox 360 a static IP address. This will help you with the steps ahead and makes sure that you don’t see lot of changes in NAT Type every time you turn your Xbox . This can be done in the Network configuration under System Settings.
The settings which I am talking about below may differ from router to router. So you will need to look around if you don’t find it straight. Also, you can apply all or one of the settings, but always check NAT type status after every change you make.
Login to your router and for that you will need to know your router IP address and username /password. Use Manual or Search on the internet for that.
Turn on UPnP :
This is the first thing you need to do. It is easy and has almost zero configuration required if your router supports It. UPnP makes it easy for devices to discover the services from devices from any other UPnP device which here is your Xbox 360.
NAT Filtering :
I have seen this kind of settings in few of the routers which allows to setup NAT filtering directly. For my router, Netgear, it has the option to either keep it open or secure. However to my luck, I could only change from Strict to Moderate after using it.
Port Forwarding / Port Triggering
This is another technique which routers support to let external services to connect to one of your device. Depending on what is supported, you need to setup for the following ports :
The last one is used by Kinect for voice chat or even when you are playing games.
DMZ is something which can expose a computer or device IP address to the world including no restriction on any of the ports. This is insecure, but hacking into your Xbox is something that will happen when there is nothing to hack around. I am not a security expert, but If nothing else works for me, I will use this.
In DMZ settings, which could be under your WAN settings, you need to add the IP address of your Xbox. When you open it first, you will see that you can only add local IP address and that will be the last digit of your Xbox IP address.
If you are still wondering what DMZ is, then to surprise you, it has a military background where it is called as Demilitarized zone which is a gateway between two countries or boundaries.
Summary : These are your best chances to get your NAT to a stable one mode or keep it always open. This has worked for me, but I am yet to achieve a permanent open NAT but this has made sure that I do not get a Strict Nat type any more.