Main menu

"Goodbye, Jean-Luc, I'm gonna miss you. You had such potential. But then again, all good things must come to an end."
- Q, Star Trek: TNG

Linksys, Open NAT, and Halo 3

by Ken Newquist / October 3, 2007

I've had an Xbox for going on four years, and a 360 for one and a half. I've spent many a happy hour playing online, both over Verizon DSL and RCN Cable, on the 360 ... at least until Halo 3 arrived.

For some reason, Halo 3 refused to play nice like the rest of my game; it would let me get into two or three multiplayer games and then suddenly lose its mind and drop the network connection.

After a few days of this, I decided to do some research. First, some background: I'm running a Linksys WCG200 wireless cable router. My 360 plugs directly into one of the Ethernet ports on the router. When my connection problems would happen, one of three things would occur:

  1. The 360 would report a network error.
  2. The 360 would report incompatible network settings (and say that I had Open NAT setup)
  3. The 360 would simply lose the ability to join any games.

In each case the 360 could browse the network for games, it just couldn't do anything with what it found. In digging around the net, I came across this article about configuring an Xbox to work with a Linux-based NAT solution:

The author reports similar symptoms to what I saw. The kicker was this:

The moral of the story is that an "open" NAT as the XBox Dashboard reports it may not actually be an "open" NAT, if you don't have UPnP support. It seems that XBox Live! really relies on UPnP when running in a NAT configuration, so you need to provide that support if you want a smooth experience.

UPnP is shorthand for "Universal Plug and Play". I logged into my router, went to the Administration tab, and found that UPnP support had been set to "off". I set it to "on", and immediately noticed a difference; the 360 was much quicker to find and connect to games, and for the first time I wasn't the one dropping out of matches.

Blog Topic: 
Topic: 

Comments

Good to hear you sorted it out, Ken!

-----------------------------------------
http://ditlog.blogspot.com/
A busy gamer dad shares his thoughts on gaming, geek life, and other eclectic topics of the day.

...the more the makers throw lug wrenches in the way!

Dah! I hate the "I've got a better solution than the standard one, there's no way it can cause trouble if my way is better, right?" approach to interoperability.

Glad you sorted it, Ken.

Cheers,
John

That's for the geeky good will guys. :) I haven't had a chance to test this too much since I've been away at a conference the last few days, but I'll be back gaming on Sunday, and I should know by the middle of the week whether or not it worked.

I'll be curious to see if the Half-Life 2 Orange Box will have similar issues when it's released for the Xbox.

HOw do you log into the router? I can't find it on my computer. I am curently running on Windows XP.

Check your router's documentation; the way it usually works is that you plug an Ethernet cord into your router, then one into your laptop, launch a web browser and then go to some IP address (like 192.168.0.1).

You then log in using your router's admin username and password (which should also be described in the documentation). If you don't know this, try calling either tech support for the router or, if you got the router through your ISP/cable company, call them.

The sad news is this hasn't solved the problem. Some days are better than others, but I almost always have connectivity issues now with a wide range of games. I suspect the issue is the cable router itself, and I'm considering getting a Xbox Live-certified router to replace the one I got from RCN. 

Probably, yes. As an option of last resort (assuming you have the appropriate protection on your computers) you could disable the router firewall. That's the nuclear option though, so you may want to consider upgrading to an Xbox 360-compliant router instead.