Using the port forwarding feature, you can allow certain types of incoming traffic to reach your local network. For example, you might need to open ports for online gaming connections or voice communication.

Note: Port forwarding can expose devices on your network to the internet. If you don't need to port forward, we recommend not doing so. Charter Communications isn't responsible for any risks that arise if you choose to use port forwarding.

To find out if your router offers a port forwarding feature, refer to its user manual.

 

What is Port Forwarding?

Port forwarding allows remote computers to connect to a specific computer or service within a private local-area network (your home network).

Computers in your home network obtain internet access through your cable modem connected to a router. Your router is configured with a public IP address for communicating with the internet as well as a private IP address for communicating with devices in your home. Your computers and other internet-connected devices behind the router communicate only with a private IP address issued by your router.

People use port forwarding for a variety of purposes. The most common reasons to use port forwarding are:

  • Gaming Systems (PlayStation, Xbox, Wii, etc).
  • Game Servers
  • Web Cams
  • Voice Over IP (VoIP) Devices
  • Web Server
  • FTP Server

When your router assigns IP addresses to the computers and devices in your home, it's acting as a Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) server.

cloud to router to private IP addresses

Normally, your router ignores any inbound traffic that isn't a response to your own outbound traffic.

computer to cloud to router to red X's in front of public IP addresses

When using the port forwarding feature of your router, you can allow certain types of incoming traffic to reach devices in your home network.

computer to cloud to router to red X's in front of two public IP addresses and a green check mark in front of one desired connection