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.