Changing your network's NAT (Network Address Translation) type can significantly enhance your online experience, especially in gaming or voice-over-IP services. This guide will walk you through the process of adjusting your router and Windows 11 settings to modify your NAT type.
Understanding NAT Types
- Open NAT for fewer restrictions (recommended for gaming). It may pose security risks.
- Moderate NAT for a balance between connectivity and security. Suitable for most users.
- Strict NAT is highly secure but very restrictive, potentially causing issues in online gaming and peer-to-peer connections.
Initial Setup (on Windows 11)
Configure a static IP and enable network discovery to optimize your network for improved NAT type adjustments.
1. Assign Static IP (Optional but Recommended)
Having a static IP ensures your device maintains the same IP address, facilitating smoother NAT and port forwarding configurations.
- Go to Settings (
Win + I) > Network & Internet > Advanced network settings.
- Choose your connection type (Ethernet/Wi-Fi) to expand and view related settings.
- Click on 'View additional properties' and then click on the 'Edit' button under IP assignment.
- In the pop-up window, choose 'Manual' from the drop-down menu.
- Find the switch labeled 'IPv4' and flip it to the 'on' position. This enables your computer to connect to the internet using the IPv4 protocol.
- Then, fill out your network details in the below fields:
- IP address: Choose a unique address from your router's range, typically between 192.168.0.2 and 192.168.0.254.
- Subnet mask: Generally set to 255.255.255.0 for home networks, indicating your network's size.
- Gateway: Your router's IP address, acting as the central point for network traffic, often 192.168.0.1 or 192.168.1.1. Find it on your router or via the ipconfig command.
- Preferred DNS: Input the IP of a DNS server like 126.96.36.199 (Cloudflare) or 188.8.131.52 (Google), translating website names into IP addresses.
- Alternate DNS: Choose a secondary DNS, such as 184.108.40.206 (Cloudflare), to ensure continuity if the primary is down.
- After filling in the details, click 'Save' to set the static IP address to your PC.
2. Enable Network Discovery
Turning on Network Discovery makes your PC visible to other devices on your local network, facilitating tasks like file sharing.
- Open Settings > Network & Internet > Advanced network settings.
- Click on 'Advanced sharing settings'.
- Expand the 'Private networks' option and turn on the 'Network discovery' toggle. Then check the box 'Set up network connected devices automatically'.
- Then, expand the 'Public networks' option and turn on the 'Network discovery'.
Configuring Your Router
Access your router settings to enable UPnP, manage port forwarding, activate DMZ mode, or edit the configuration file for tailored NAT adjustments.
Access Router Settings
- Open your browser and log in to your router’s web interface. To do this, type the default gateway address `http://192.168.0.1` or http://192.168.1.1 in the address bar and hit
- Log in with your credentials (found in your router's manual or online).
ipconfig, and hit
Enter. Find the ‘Default Gateway’ from the IP configuration information and note down the address next to it.
Method 1: Enable UPnP (Universal Plug and Play)
Universal Plug and Play (UPnP) simplifies device communication on your network, essential for gaming and peer-to-peer connections.
- Once you are in the router settings, find UPnP settings (often under 'Advanced' or 'NAT Forwarding').
- Under NAT Forwarding, select the ‘UPnP’ tab and turn on the ‘UPnP’ switch.
- Restart your router. After the reboot, your NAT Type will no longer be strict.
Method 2: Port Forwarding
Manual port forwarding allows specific ports to be open, improving connectivity for certain applications. This method is more secure but requires specific port information.
- First, log in to your router web app.
- Go to the 'Advanced' tab, look for the 'NAT Forwarding' or 'Forwarding' options and select it. If you don't have an Advanced tab or section, find and select 'NAT Forwarding' or 'Forwarding'.
- In the left panel, expand the 'Forwarding' or 'NAT Forwarding' section and click on 'Port Triggering' or 'Port Forwarding'.
- Now, click the 'Add' or 'Add New' button to create a new port forwarding entry.
- In the 'Adding Port Forwarding Entry' window, fill in the fields for 'Service Name' or 'Application' with the name of your application or game, and 'Device IP Address' (if available) with your computer's static IP address you set, whether it's connected via Ethernet or Wi-Fi.
- To select an app from a list of existing options, simply click the 'View Existing Applications" button.
- Select the type of port (UDP or TCP) for both 'Triggering Protocol/Internal' and 'External Protocol' depending on the specific requirements of the game or apps. Some games or apps might use only UDP, some only TCP, and others might use both. But make sure to choose the same protocol type for both ports.
- Then, enter the same port number for 'Triggering Protocol' and 'External Protocol' whether you're using UDP or TCP. For example, we are using the port '5062' with TCP protocol for the Fortnite game.
- Unless your app or game requires a single protocol type (TCP or UDP), you can streamline port forwarding by selecting 'All' in the Protocols field. This opens ports for both protocols for smooth performance.
- Finally, click 'Save' to save the port forwarding rule.
- Your port forwarding rule is now saved. You can easily enable or disable the rule using the buttons under the 'Status' column.
- Once it's done, restart your router. After it comes back online, launch your game again and check your NAT type. It should be set Open NAT type now.
Method 3: Enable DMZ (Demilitarized Zone) Mode
Some routers have a DMZ option that allows you to place a device outside the local network. You can quickly enable DMZ mode if you can't set up port forwarding or change other router settings. While this can potentially solve NAT issues, it's a less secure option.
- Open your router's web configuration page and head over to your router's 'Advanced' settings.
- In the left panel, expand 'NAT Forwarding' or 'Forwarding' and click 'DMZ' option.
- Enable the 'DMZ' option, enter the static IP address you set for your PC, and click 'Save'.
- Restart your router.
While this might be helpful for specific situations like video conferencing, remember it comes with significant security risks. DMZ mode may cause issues like latency and server quality for online gaming, but it will open all ports for an 'Open NAT'.
Method 4: Edit Router Configuration File to Change NAT Type
Editing your router's configuration file offers a powerful way to customize your Network Address Translation (NAT) type permanently. This will improve your online experiences without compromising device security.
The configuration file directly manages every router function including the assignment of IP addresses, stores Wi-Fi passwords, and even decides which apps get priority for fast internet access. Here’s how you can edit the configuration file.
- Open your favorite web browser and head to your router's configuration page. You can usually find the address printed on the bottom or back of your router.
- Go to the 'Advanced' tab in the web app and look for 'System Tools'. Then, select it.
- Then, click on 'Backup & Restore' or 'Save and Restore Settings'. Before making any changes, make sure you save your current configuration. So, look for the backup option.
- Then, find and click the 'Backup' or 'Save Configuration' button. It usually has an option that will allow you to back up your router’s configuration.
- In the Save as window, choose a location and click 'Save' to save the router configuration file. You can use the backup file to restore the settings in case something goes wrong.
- If you are prompted to keep or discard the saved configuration file, click 'Keep'.
- After creating the backup file, locate it in your computer, make a duplicate copy, and save that second copy in a different, secure location.
- Now, you can edit the configuration file to change the NAT type. However, you can only do this if the file is in '.ini' format not '.bin' format.
- Right-click the file and select 'Open with' then 'Notepad'.
- Then, quickly find the
connection.inisection by pressing
Fand typing it in the search bar.
- Then, look for the
- Underneath the last 'bind' line, paste the following lines but replace the ports number (3478-3479) with those required by your specific game or app:
bind application=CONE(UDP) port=3478-3479
- If you need multiple ports for different apps, just copy and paste the same code you used for the first port, but change the port number in each new copy.
- Then, save the edited configuration file.
- Go back to your router's configuration page, where you previously backed up the file.
- Click the 'Browse' button under the Restore section. Find and select the updated configuration file you just saved.
- Then, click 'Restore' to restore the settings.
- After that, reboot your router and check if the NAT type is changed on your app.
Enable UPnP using Windows Network Settings
If you cannot enable UPnP via router settings or your router doesn't have options for it, you can do it using Network Infrastructure.
Manually forwarding ports is like opening and closing these gates yourself, while UPnP acts like an automatic gatekeeper, opening ports for applications as needed.
- Open File Explorer and click on 'Network' at the bottom left corner.
- Right-click the 'Network Adapter' (or "Network Infrastructure" if available) and choose 'Properties'.
- In the newly opened window, click 'Settings'.
- After that, click 'Add' in the Advanced Settings window.
- Type a descriptive name like 'GTA V Online' in the Description of service field.
- Enter your IPv4 address in the Name or IP address field.
- Type the same port number specific to your game in both the 'External' and 'Internal Port Number' fields.
- Select your protocol type (UDP or TCP) and then click 'OK'.
- Repeat the above steps for different services or apps.
- Once it's done, click 'Apply' and then 'OK' on all open windows.
This method creates temporary port forwarding rules that reset every time you restart your router or disconnect your network. Then you will need to repeat the process each time you encounter a closed NAT type.
Verifying NAT Type Changes
After making changes, you can often check the NAT type directly in applications (like games) or via specific router settings. If not, below is a quick guide to check NAT type using Command Prompt in Windows 11.
- Verify the NAT Type in Application Settings.
For most online games and some applications, you can find the NAT type displayed within the application’s network settings. Launch the application, navigate to its network or connection settings, and look for a section that displays the NAT type. This immediate feedback can help you understand if the adjustments have enhanced your connectivity as intended.
- Check the NAT Type in Your Router's Interface.
Access your router's web interface by typing its IP address into your web browser. Log in with your credentials. Once inside, navigate to a section related to NAT settings, network, or status. Different routers have different terminologies, but you're looking for a page that shows your current NAT type. This method provides a direct insight from your router's perspective.
- Restart Your Router and PC.
In some cases, changes to NAT types won't take effect until after a system restart. Turn off your router and PC, wait for a few moments, then turn them back on. This step ensures that all new configurations are loaded correctly and can solve connectivity issues that a simple refresh might not.
- Always ensure your router's firmware is up to date to protect against vulnerabilities.
- Consider the risks associated with each NAT type, especially if enabling UPnP or DMZ.
- Regularly review and update your router's security settings.
Conclusion. Adjusting your NAT type in Windows 11 involves configuring your router and making corresponding settings adjustments on your PC. While changing NAT type can improve connectivity for certain applications, it's vital to understand and manage the security risks involved. Always maintain a balance between network accessibility and protection.