When I moved into my new apartment I brought with me a 1TB Time Capsule that I was previously using as a network storage device because my old roommate already had a Linksys router. None of my new roommates had routers, so I decided to use […]

apple-time-capsule-1When I moved into my new apartment I brought with me a 1TB Time Capsule that I was previously using as a network storage device because my old roommate already had a Linksys router. None of my new roommates had routers, so I decided to use the Time Capsule as both our router and network storage device. Pre-Time Capsule, I have always used Linksys routers — and throughout the years became very comfortable with their web configuration tool. In my Internet travels, I have found it a little tricky to find proper documentation for a lot of the more technical questions I have with Apple products.

Recently, I figured out how to do port forwarding on the Time Capsule, so let’s take a look at what it is, why you’d want to do it, and how to set it up.

What is port forwarding?

The act of forwarding a network port from one network node to another. This technique can allow an external user to reach a port on a private IP address (inside a LAN) from the outside via a NAT-enabled router.

Why would I want to port forward?

Port forwarding greatly increases torrent speeds. It can also be used to access files on your computer or NAS at home over the Internet (i.e., mount a file server over the Internet).

Setting Up Port Forwarding On Your Airport Extreme or Time Capsule

  1. Open Airport Utility: Applications → Utilities → Airport Utility
  2. Find your device in the left-hand column and select the “Manual Setup” button
  3. Click the “Advanced” gear at the top of the window
  4. Click the “IPv6 Firewall” tab
  5. Click the “+” to add a new rule
  6. In the window that pops up:
    • Description: Enter whatever you want
    • IPv6 Address: Enter the IP address of the computer you are forwarding the ports to (To figure this out: System Preferences → Network. Inside that window write down the number next to “IP Address”)
    • TCP Port(s): Enter in the port number you want to forward
    • UDP Port(s): Enter in the port number you want to forward (Same port as the TCP Port)


Common Ports to Forward:

  • BitTorrent: 6881-6999 (Pick any number in this range and forward it)
  • AFP: 548 (Forward this if you want to be able to access an internal drive over the Internet)

Check That Your Ports are Forwarded Properly

I’m sure there is another way to do this, but we’re going to use the BitTorrent client Transmission to check if our port forwarding was successful.

  1. Download & Install Tranmssion (Don’t worry, it’s free — it’s also my BitTorrent client of choice)
  2. Click Transmission → Preferenceas
  3. Go to the “Network” tab
  4. In the “Network: Peer Listening Port” box enter in the port you forwarded earlier
  5. If everything worked, you should have a green light with the words “Port is open” (I am on a Wi-Fi hotspot so my port is currently closed)

You’re subscribed! If you like, you can update your settings

  1. Very nice info – thanks. I have a linksys router and I’m thinking about buying a Time Capsule but always wondered if I could forward ports with it. Thanks again :D

  2. Which version of Airport Utility are you using for this set-up? There is no IPv6 Firewall tab in version 5.4.1. There is a Port Mapping tab though which allows you open ports if you want computers outside your network to access specific devices on your network. Also, would your “how-to” work for those of use who no not have static IP addresses??

  3. I agree with anon on both questions. I have a “port mapping” tab and no “ipv6 firewall” tab. Also, I would love to know how to do this without a static ip. I am sure you can use DynDNS, but I would like to know how to set it up with the airport extreme.

    I have been looking for a port forwarding walkthrough for the AEBS for a long time, to no avail. I would love if someone could clarify these last couple of issues.

  4. Anon – under IPv6, the IPv6 mode has to be set to “Tunnel.” Honestly, I don’t know what implications this has on the network, or what it does – but I do know that THAT gives you the IPv6 Firewall option. Maybe Dave and John can help with this one?

    I’ll re comment tomorrow to see if I have found anything.

  5. Wednesday Afternoon News | MacTalk Tuesday, May 5, 2009

    [...] Apple For A Twitter BuyoutAppleInsider | Apple seeks 3G specialist for Macs as subsidy deals nearHow-To: Port Forwarding On an Airport Extreme & Time CapsuleWill Apple acquire a big name? Signs point to no | Games | MacUser | MacworldApple AU Refurbs [...]

  6. I find that the site: http://portforward.com/ is very useful as it lists most routers with screenshots on how to set up port forwarding.


  7. Jenny Kortina Wednesday, May 6, 2009

    @Andrei @Anon if you don’t want to set static IP’s you could forward the port to every IP on the network that could possibly be a computer…ie if you know at any given point you could have 3 laptops connected, forward the port to the 3 IP addresses they could possibly be

  8. What to read on the GigaOM network Wednesday, May 6, 2009

    [...] resources and apps (OStatic) Crabble: a portable, $5 stand for mobile devices (jkOnTheRun) How to port forward on an Airport Extreme and Time Capsule (TheAppleBlog) Why virtual meetings won’t save the planet (Earth2Tech) [...]

  9. Access Your Time Capsule Over the Internet Thursday, May 14, 2009

    [...] Every router is different, so below I’ve outlined the basic steps. You’re going to have to consult your routers documentation for exact instructions. Portfoward.com has documentation for a lot of routers and I also wrote an article for how to do port forwarding with Airport Extremes. [...]

  10. Wednesday Afternoon News | MacTalk Test Friday, May 15, 2009

    [...] Apple Blog has a quick tutorial on how to forward ports on your AirPort Extreme and/or Express. This is what you need to do if you don’t like the iTunes [...]

Comments have been disabled for this post