The IP address alone is not sufficient to provide information to a computer. How does the computer network know what to do with the information? This is determined by the port number to which the information packet is sent. This message tells you what is Port forwarding; and how do you forward ports.

What is Port Forwarding?

In common parlance, a port is where ships anchor/berth and planes land. They then continue their journey according to the planned schedule. In information technology jargon, ports are hardware and software (called logical ports) and they help with everything the computer does. The various points you see on your computer for connecting peripherals are called hardware ports. Their job is to send the received information to the correct process(es).

Logical ports are not built in hardware. You can’t see them, but they’re there – over 6,000 ports in any working computer. Although not all are used, some are common (for example, port 80 is reserved for interacting with HTTP). Another example: port 25 is used to send an email (SMTP).

Once a data packet reaches an IP address (i.e. computers and IoT devices), the port forwards the data packet to the respective part of the device so that it can be processed properly. So how does the computer know exactly where to transfer the data? This is made possible by ports. The computer, which receives data, relays it to the indicated ports which serve different purposes.

You know that everything on the internet has an Internet Protocol (IP) address. In addition to the IP address, the sender’s network also sends a port address. For example, if you are accessing something on the web through any internet browser, the port address would be like 192.168.1.13:80 where 80 is the port number on the computer or any IoT device that has the IP address 192.168.1.13. A similar style of port addresses are used for printing and scanning things, uploading and downloading things to/from the internet, and many other things a computer does.

If you want to know which ports are open on your PC, type the following command in a CMD and press the Enter key.

netstat -a

port forwarding

Third-party port scanner apps are also available to give you details about your computer’s ports.

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Port forwarding is also known as port mapping. It is needed when trying to access a computer network from outside the network’s firewall or router. Online gamers often need to perform port forwarding.

How to forward ports?

Although you can forward ports using PowerShell through the Netsh command, it is difficult to know the values ​​of the parameters supplied with the command.

There are free third-party software like FwdPortForwardingApp (Link) that help you with port forwarding so you don’t have to experiment with different command line parameter values ​​(values ​​to supply to the command).

You can configure port forwarding from your router or firewall. The router method is simpler, so we’ll talk about it.

  1. Launch your browser
  2. Enter 192.168.1.1 in the browser address bar
  3. Your router’s home page is displayed
  4. Fill in your username and password for the router you are trying to connect to
  5. ID in most cases is administrator and the password is the password; some routers have administrator as username and password; if you can’t find it, call your router manufacturer’s service center for the username and password
  6. In the router page, find port forwarding under Advanced settings
  7. Fill in the port number you want the items to be forwarded to
  8. Save and exit the router; restart the router for the changes to take effect

Note that using this method would require you to have a static IP address on the port receiving the forwarding. You can configure your static IP address using the IPv4 or IPv6 option in your computer’s network troubleshooting option in Control Panel.

You can also configure the router’s firewall using third-party tools such as Simple port forwarding application. You can download the Simple Port Forwarding app from here.

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