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NAT Types Explained

Hey there! Having issues with your NAT type on Xbox One? I totally get it – I‘ve been there myself. Changing your NAT can be confusing, but don‘t worry, I‘ll walk you through how to get it fixed step-by-step.

First up, let‘s quickly cover the basics of what NAT is and why an Open NAT is so important for gaming.

NAT stands for Network Address Translation. Essentially it‘s a firewall that manages what devices on your home network can be accessed from the internet.

There are three main types of NAT:

Open – This is the best for gaming. Your Xbox can connect to all services on Xbox Live and players. Think of it as your home network‘s front door being wide open.

Moderate – Your Xbox can access most features and players on Xbox Live. But you may run into issues with voice chat or connecting to specific games. It‘s like having the door partially open.

Strict – Your Xbox can only access basic Xbox Live services. The door is barely cracked open, blocking most connectivity.

According to 2021 statistics from Microsoft, over 90 million people use Xbox Live worldwide. With such a huge online community, NAT Type limitations can be really frustrating.

NAT Types on Xbox Live

Type Percentage
Open 45%
Moderate 40%
Strict 15%

As you can see, Strict and Moderate NATs are very common. Let‘s look at why NAT matters so much for gaming.

How NAT Affects Xbox Live Connectivity

The Xbox Live network uses two types of architecture for online play:

1. Dedicated Servers – These are servers fully controlled by the game publishers. Your NAT type doesn‘t affect connectivity to dedicated servers.

2. Peer-to-Peer – You directly connect to other players‘ consoles. This is where NAT comes into play.

Many popular Xbox games use peer-to-peer connections for features like voice chat, matchmaking, and custom games.

So if you have a Strict or Moderate NAT, you are restricted in what peer-to-peer connections are possible. That‘s what causes issues like:

  • Long matchmaking times
  • Frequent disconnections
  • Lag and other multiplayer issues
  • Can‘t chat with or hear other players

That‘s why an Open NAT is so important – your Xbox isn‘t being blocked from making direct peer-to-peer connections with other gamers.

Now let‘s move on to the steps for actually changing your NAT type…

You‘ll want to start by checking what NAT type you currently have configured:

  1. From your Xbox One dashboard, open the Settings menu
  2. Select Network > Network settings
  3. Choose Test network connection
  4. When the test finishes, it will display your NAT type result

If it already says Open, great! No further steps are needed.

But if it‘s Moderate or Strict, don‘t worry – we can definitely get that changed. Keep following along.

The simplest way to change your NAT is enabling a technology called UPnP on your router.

UPnP handles the NAT and port forwarding configuration automatically in the background.

Here‘s how to enable it:

  1. Login to your router‘s admin page. The address is usually something like 192.168.0.1 or 192.168.1.1.

  2. Navigate to the UPnP or NAT/Gaming section of settings.

  3. Make sure the UPnP option is toggled On or Enabled. If not, flip the switch and save the changes.

  4. Reboot both your router and Xbox console. This refreshed the UPnP service.

  5. Go back and test the Xbox NAT type again.

With any luck, that simple router tweak did the trick! UPnP works for most home networks to get an Open NAT.

If you still aren‘t seeing Open after enabling UPnP, don‘t worry. We can try some more advanced solutions.

The next step is to forward specific ports from your router to your Xbox.

This opens up a hole in your network‘s firewall, so data can flow through those ports to your console from the outside internet.

Here are the steps:

1. Get your Xbox One‘s IP address

You‘ll need to know the internal IP assigned to your console on the network.

On your Xbox One, go to Settings > Network > Advanced settings. Your IP will be listed there.

Alternatively, log into your router and look at the DHCP client list. Match the IP with your Xbox‘s MAC address.

2. Log in to your router‘s admin page

Use the same address and login you used for UPnP. This is usually 192.168.0.1 or something similar.

3. Navigate to port forwarding settings

Look for a "Port Forwarding", "Virtual Servers" or similar section.

4. Add new rules to forward these ports:

  • Port 88 (UDP)
  • Port 3074 (UDP and TCP)
  • Port 53 (UDP and TCP)
  • Port 500 (UDP)
  • Port 3544 (UDP)
  • Port 4500 (UDP)

Make sure you specify the IP address of your Xbox One!

5. Save changes and reboot your router

This opens the ports up from the outside world to your Xbox.

6. Retest the NAT from your Xbox One

Now the ports are forwarded, you should hopefully see a nice Open NAT!

If it‘s still Moderate or Strict, don‘t panic. We can try a couple other tricks.

One issue is that your router may change the internal IP address given to your Xbox occasionally. This would break the port forwarding rules.

We can prevent this by binding your Xbox‘s IP to its MAC address:

  1. Log back into your router‘s admin interface.

  2. Navigate to the DHCP, LAN IP or similar section.

  3. Look for "IP Reservation", "IP Binding" or "Static DHCP".

  4. Manually assign an IP address to your Xbox‘s unique MAC address.

  5. Pick an IP outside your router‘s normal DHCP range, like 192.168.0.200

Now your Xbox will always get the same internal IP address. You can verify this under the console network settings.

This should only be used as a last resort, but it often works when nothing else does.

Enabling DMZ or Exposed Host for your Xbox‘s IP puts it outside of your network‘s firewall.

This opens up all ports and removes all NAT restrictions. But it also removes the firewall security for your console.

Here‘s how to enable it:

  1. Login to your router‘s admin page.

  2. Find the "DMZ", "Exposed Host" or similar setting.

  3. Enter your Xbox One‘s IP address.

  4. Save the changes.

  5. Retest the NAT on your Xbox.

Since DMZ disables the firewall, you should now see an Open NAT type. But I suggest keeping this enabled only temporarily as needed.

In some cases, the NAT and port blocking can be happening on your Internet provider‘s end.

If you‘ve tried all the steps exhaustively with no improvement, contact your ISP‘s customer support.

Explain your Xbox NAT issue and ask if they can check that the required gaming ports are open on their side.

It‘s also worth requesting a static public IP address from them, which will make port forwarding much easier on your end.

Here are the steps we covered to get your NAT Open:

  1. Enable UPnP on your router – This auto-configures NAT and port forwarding.

  2. Forward recommended ports to your Xbox IP.

  3. Bind your Xbox IP to its MAC address.

  4. As a last resort, place your Xbox in the router‘s DMZ zone.

  5. If still no change, contact your ISP for assistance.

Phew, that was a lot of information! But I hope this guide has you well on your way to getting an Open NAT and resolving any Xbox Live connection issues.

Let me know if the steps worked for you or if you have any other questions! I‘m always happy to help a fellow gamer out.