Multiple Open NAT Xboxes, One Internet Connection, Not Possible! - Think Again...

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This is our launch week so let's kick things off by "busting" a Technomyth that seems to be permeating networking forums the world over... the short answer is "DHCP reservation", and yes... it can help you connect 2 or more consoles with all with fully open NAT. Before I get started, please keep in mind this is not intended to be a step by step guide, you will need to educate yourself on your router and it's firmware in order to get this to work. Trust me, it's better to learn a little bit about networking and the ins and outs of your router than to rely to rely on someone else to keep your set-up running. If you run into a problem in the future, you may not have the luxury of an internet connection to search for an answer! With that sad... let's get started.

**UPDATE** see the bottom of the page for instructions on setting up a DGL-4500 router with multiple xboxes.

It's a problem that's plauged mankind since... well, at least Xbox live was invented, you have more than one Xbox, but only one router. A quick Google search will most times reveal a "solution" (not really) that involves port forwarding, DMZ, UPnP and any other assortment of terms that most console gamers just don't want to have to deal with... Let's face it, the reason you're a console gamer is most likely, you'd prefer to spend your time gaming rather than tweaking computer settings to get your games to work right?

Google I love ya, but you're only as good as the worst piece of info you sling my way. First off, forget most of what you've read on those networking forums... the members mean well, and some of them may even be running multiple xboxes with open NAT, but most don't really know how or why it works, so they aren't much help. The other issue is, some people *think* they've achieved multiple open NAT, but their Xboxes are lying to them, and they get random infrequent disconnects that are chalked up to something else.

The issue here is really quite simple... by now you probably know a little bit about ports/port-fowarding blah blah blah... (if not, start reading up) the bottom line is this:

1.) Your Xbox is just like a PC, in that it needs to use "ports" to communicate with the outside world (internet), but you can't have more than one device on your network using the same ports at the same time.

2.) PCs in this situation can be told to use a different but similar port, if the preferred port is in use by another PC. The Xbox actually can do the same thing, and does it automatically with the proper UPnP protocol.

3.) Your problem is, the router sometimes forgets which xbox is using "non standard" ports, and mixes things up, causing at least one xbox to drop connection to the LIVE servers.

So how do you fix this? Simple... give up and sell your extra consoles.


Sorry I couldn't resist, you need a router that supports two things... proper UPnP, and something called "Static DHCP" or "DHCP reservation". DO NOT CONFUSE STATIC DHCP WITH STATIC IP ADDRESSES! THEY AREN'T THE SAME THING! Think of "static DHCP" as a hybrid between Static Ip assignment and DHCP... because, well... that's what it is.

 Proper UPnP:

Not all routers do the plug n play thing the same way, if your router can't run open NAT with a single Xbox (without port-forwarding), you most likely need to get a new router.


Static DHCP/DHCP Reservation:

The static DHCP is a bit more tricky, and unless you're really good at following instructions to a tee, you may end up needing a new router as well... The issue here is, unless your router comes with a DHCP reservation feature (some D-link  and Apple routers do,) you either need to install 3rd party firmware on your router, or you need to buy a router that already has this feature. The 3rd party Firmware in question can either be DD-WRT, or Tomato.

**A bit of warning, just attempting to install 3rd party router firmware can result in a really ugly lawn decoration that looks a lot like a router.**

For all intents and purposes, installing the new firmware is pretty simple, and only takes a few minuets, but there is little to no room for error. I opted to NOT try this.

So, first off check to see if your router already has static DHCP or DHCP reservation. If not,might as well check the prices on routers that do, I suggest D-link's DGL-4500 router on firmware version 1.22na, some have had success with the D-link DIR-655, or the Apple Airport Extreme (but I have not tried these).

next see if your current router can run 3rd party firmware, or if a nice cheap router at your local techno store can. Do you feel like possibly bricking a router? Go for it... it's certainly cheaper (free) if it works, but you're out of an internet connection if it doesn't.

It's that simple... After getting UPnP/Static DHCP working together it's simply a matter of setting up your WiFi network (no need to play with ports to DMZ), testing xbox live connections, and enjoying console gaming again. I currently have 3 xboxes all open NAT, all able to use all features at all times thanks to this little piece of info.


I've gotten a number of requests/comments asking for more information in regards to getting the DLINK DGL-4500 to work. I can’t stress enough that I did not intend to be too specific on this topic for various reasons (to prompt readers to learn about their own routers/set-ups, and to make this information useful for those that choose to download 3rd party firmware). However, I understand the frustration, so… the following will outline how to get multiple xbox’s running open NAT on the DGL-4500.

Step 1) Set Xbox to Automatically detect IP address:

(If you don’t know what I’m talking about, and don’t want to learn, you might as well stop right here and seriously consider giving up, this isn’t easy, if it was you wouldn’t be here… now would you?)

Open up your router’s settings page by entering this into your web browser’s address bar: (other brands or models just GOOGLE “set up page address” and your router’s brand & model number to get the proper ip adress). DGL-4500 users should start out at a password page, but chances are you don’t have a password set up, so just click “log in”… Then you’ll be automatically taken to the “Status” tab. Scroll down to the bottom of the “device info page” (the page you’re automatically taken to after you hit “log in”). You should see a list of devices that have connected to the router recently. Note the Ip addresses they have… Now say you have three Xboxes you want to connect… if all the other devices listed only go up to for instance, maybe set aside,, & for your Xboxes since nothing else is using these ip addresses. Simple!

Next start your Xboxes, and navigate to the network settings screen. You need to set your xbox to auto detect Ip address, while you're in thenetwork settings NOTE THE MAC ADDRESS FOR EACH XBOX!!! Write is down next to the ip for that same xbox.

Step 2) Setting up DHCP Reservation:

Head back to your PC, dial into the router again and this time Click the “basic” tab, and then “network settings” on the left side bar…


scroll down to the bottom and you’ll see a “DHCP Reservation list” and above that you’ll see an area called “add DHCP reservation”, this is where you’ll enter up your Xbox’s information. You’ll need the Xbox’s MAC addresses, and IP addresses (that you selected). That’s it…

Step 3) Make sure your UPnP is enabled…

You’re going to want to click on the advanced tab and then on the sidebar (to the left) click advanced network. Make sure the three check boxes are clicked under UPnP. See below:


That should do it!!!! Let me know if you have any problems by leaving a comment. I’ll do my best to update the info and help you out. Enjoy!

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