Help, Support, Hints and Fixes

What is port forwarding? Why do I care? How do I do it?
Learn with me today how these settings can make a world of difference when using your magicjack plus at home.

First, why do I care?
Every internet protocol uses ports. For devices that are likely to use some ports fairly exclusively, it can help to tell the router that certain devices take priority when it comes to these ports. While this doesn’t have to be done, when you’ve got just one magicJack device and:

  • heavy traffic on your router,
  • a very old router
  • or a very thin broadband connection,

it can make the difference between jittery or lagging phone connections and a clear one.

Second, how do I do it?
Each router is slighly different. I’m using an ASUS RT-N16 with TomatoUSB firmware. If you’re using tomatoUSB, you can follow along. If you’re using a different router, you should be able to find pages that use a similar method on your router’s web interface.

Once you’re logged into your router, find the basic networking page. Since we’ve already enabled the basic DHCP server, all devices connected to our router are automatically assigned an IP address. On my Local Area Network or LAN, every computer address starts with 192.168.0.something. Yours may start with 192.168.1.something. Regardless, my router is set up to automatically dole out a local IP address to any connected device that needs one from a range. Here, that range is from 100 to 149. That means my router can dole out up to 50 IP addresses from that range.

However, whenever the router reboots, any device could be assigned a random IP address from within that range. The IP ending in 100 could be my computer one day or my nook the next day. It can be useful to make sure when a popular device connects to my router that I give it a permanent IP address outside the range of automated DHCP. I usually start with numbers below 100.

When I look at my device list in the router web interface, I see a list of devices currently connected to the router. All of them have an IP address starting with 192.168.0.something, except of course for the modem which connects my router to the outside world. Notice that some IP’s end with numbers below 100. Others end with numbers between 100 and 149. These are randomly assigned by DHCP. The lower numbers are all other devices that have been assigned an IP address statically.

To do that, we need write down the MAC Address of the magicJack Plus. If you’re not sure of your magicJack’s mac address, look on the back of it. Or if your router has the capability, you can look up the first three couplets of the MAC address using the OUI database. When you click OUI, it brings you to another website that shows you the licensee for MAC addresses starting in the range shown. However you confirm, make sure you know the mac address for your magicJack.

Then go to the static DHCP page and add in your preferred static IP for the MAC Address of the MagicJack Plus. Tomato USB gives me a shortcut. I can click the ‘static’ link just below the MagicJack plus and add it to my static page.

The next available IP shows as 6, so I’ll add that IP and name it magicJack Plus. Remember to save your settings. It may take a moment while your router restarts some services.

Now that my magicJack plus has a static IP on my router, I can port-forward to that specific IP.

So I’ll navigate to port forwarding in my router web interface. The examples shown here are not real and wouldn’t work anyway, since my router uses addresses in the range 192.168.0.something, not 1.something.

Make sure your first port-forward is set for UDP. Leave source address blank. Put 10000-65535 in the external ports. This is a wide port range used for rtp, which we won’t go into here. Leave internal ports blank. Put 192.168.0.6 (or your preferred IP) into the Internal Address field. Give your portforward a memorable description, like “magicJack Plus – rtp range”. Click Add

For your second port-forward, set it also to UDP. Leave source address blank. Put 5060,5070 (no spaces) in external ports. This defines two specific ports used for the sip protocol, which we won’t go into here. Put 192.168.0.6 (or again your preferred IP) into the internal address field. Give your second port-forward a memorable description, like “magicJack Plus – sip ports”. Click Add. Scroll down to the bottom and save your results. Once again, your router may decide to restart some services, so this could take a while.

You now have port-forwarding set up for your router. There is one last step. To be sure everything is working correctly, unplug the poewr on your magicJack plus and your router. Repower your router first and wait for it to reboot. Once you can access it again from your web interface, repower in the magicJack plus. The magicJack should now be assigned it’s new IP. When you review your device list of connected devices, it should show up correctly with the new IP address.

If you find these kinds of settings to be challenging, you may want to check out portforward.com. There you will find recipes for a fairly large number of specific routers, where you can follow directions for free, or if you prefer you can download the paid software and let the software do it for you.

That’s all there is to setting up port forwarding for your magicJack plus.

16 Responses to Port Forwarding for the magicJack plus

  • There is noplace on this page for me to receive my new phone number. How do i get it ?

    • If you are using Firefox with “NoScript” addon installed, your browser may be hindering full access to third-party domains needed by the registration process. Similarly if you are using any browser plugin or addon that attempts to limit javascripts or advertisements. Try a different browser like Chrome, Safari, or (ugh) Internet Explorer.

  • Sorry but your audio message is meaningless

  • Chris, thanks for the helpful video. Nice job putting it together. I’ll try this and let you know how it worked with my MJ+.

  • Hi Chris: My router TP-LINK TL-WR841N keep shutting out Magicjack plus 2014 I just got a few days ago
    Magicjack customer support don’t help much. After plug in the MJ plus in router, it works for few minutes to few hours then when i call home i get a message that your Mj plus is not available to answer your call.Thanks in advance.

    • It helps to set your magicJack’s IP to a static IP outside the range of the DHCP. It’s a common enough problem that I will probably do a video about it.

  • Thanks for the how-to. I set this up today and removed my mj+ from the dmz, so that made me feel a little safer. I was also hoping for a side benefit of getting my Caller ID working, as it went out a few days ago. It did not help with that, but I just learned from MJ tech support that it’s a system wide problem. Also, I did your procedure on a Motorola 6580. The only real point of note is it liked to have both the internal and external ports open, not just the externals alone.

    • I have to wonder if the tech manufactured a reason your Caller ID wasn’t working to disperse blame to something nebulous like “system wide problems”. It’s a fairly common tactic to manage callers quickly who don’t have a more important concern like the inability to dial. My caller ID has been working as expected for the last month, so system wide? Don’t think so. It’s great that you figured out the specific settings for the Motorola 6580. Your comment is going to probably get me to rewrite the top part of this article. Port forwarding really only helps people who have very slow connections, on the order of 1.5Mbps/128Kbps service or lower. If you have internet service above 10Mbps/1Mbps, port forwarding is probably unnecessary unless you have heavy duty gamers and video streaming happening all the time. Also, when you have multiple magicJacks, only one would be able to be port-forwarded anyway. With the slower connection, you will only be able to get one phone working properly, so it seems to be the only instance where port-forwarding might actually help.

  • It’s funny, it was letting me do port forwarding for both magic jacks, then suddenly my problem came back where I couldn’t hear the person who called me’s voice but they could hear me. That was why I moved my mj+ to the DMZ to begin with. That was about the same time I lost my CID too. For a while it worked with port forwarding. My other MJ+ is still using port forwarding fine though.

    I do do a little streaming, but probably not enough to be considered heavy, and I do have plenty of bandwidth. Off hand I think about 25 down and 4 up. If you don’t think there’s any adverse affects to leaving it as-is, I’ll let things stay put. I’ve also verified others with the caller-id issue at this link.

    I’m the one (sd73) at the link that posted that my CID returned on my magic jack I use for faxing. BTW, that works intermittently well at best, but with the low volume of faxing I do it’s good enough.

    Thanks for your input!
    Richard

    • Hmmm. I wonder if it’s a regional thing that some of us aren’t getting CID. I hope they figure it out soon, for your sake. 25/4 speed is plenty fast. When mine was still at 15/3, we had no trouble streaming multiple video and using magicJack going at the same time.

      There might be negligible reduction in response time for the non-port-forwarded second device if you removed all the DMZ and port-forwarding, but if it’s working to your satisfaction, there probably is no harm in leaving your PF settings as they are, eh?

      What’s the baud rate of your fax setup? I’ve read the best reliable fax speed some can get is around 9600.

  • I’m not even sure if it’s regional. My folks live near by and they weren’t affected at all. I wonder if it was a certain release of the MJ+ hardware? The line that’s giving me the problems is a pretty early release, whereas the Fax and my parents that are working correclty have slightly newer ones.

    I’m glad you mentioned the fax speed. I checked and it was set to 19,200. I never thought to look at that before. I brought it down to 9,600. Now I’m actually looking forward to getting another fax.

    • What you say makes sense. Slight changes in firmware/hardware integration could account for it. I’m afraid at 9600 baud the fax is going to be very slow. I’d be curious to see what the outcome is with regards to fidelity and completion of longer faxes is though. I’m also curious why you’re not using a modern printer that can copy to pdf and just send pdfs via email. They keep well as digital documents.

  • I’ll be curious about getting the longer faxes too. It’s mostly used for the rare client that needs to send a fax in. It doesn’t happen often, but I prefer to keeping a cheap magic jack dedicated to that rather than paying for land line. All outgoing we do is digital. I can’t wait until faxing is relegated to the tech heap pagers and tape answering machines are in. For what it’s worth, we use the Brother MFC-7220 and it really does a terrific job as a laser/scanner/fax and they’re super cheap and reliable.

  • Hey Chris
    My country’s ISPs recently blocked MagicJack and I have a linksys E1000 v2.1 router. Is there anyway I can get my MagicJack Plus to work?
    I tried port-forwarding on my router the way I could understand it and didn’t work.
    Please Help !

    • It would probably mean that other VOIP companies would similarly be blocked. Pakistani ISP’s can do as they please, so long as customers are willing to pay. If your ISP chooses to block ports, there is not a lot you can do about it, especially since magicJack’s ports are locked in firmware. I don’t know what the laws and citizens’ rights are like in Pakistan. If you were a citizen of the United States, as a customer of such an ISP, you could organize with other customers to show your displeasure regarding port blocking by holding non-violent demonstrations and boycotts. Is your ISP controlled by the government, or is there a law that says these ports must be blocked? Is this an edict or a law voted on by the people of your country? What can you do, peacefully to change it? Alternatively, it might be interesting to let journalists in other countries know about it and see if pressure from abroad could persuade the government to change its laws. You’ll have to show proof positive that this is happening and explain why it is a bad thing, because any good journalist will only publish what is provable. Good luck.

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