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How-To: Port Forwarding On an Airport Extreme & Time Capsule

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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 (s aapl) 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)

40 Responses to “How-To: Port Forwarding On an Airport Extreme & Time Capsule”

  1. I have had a lot of experience with Netgear and Linksys routers including remote management and port forwarding.

    I use both Macs and PCs and have been lured by Apple’s promise of greater ease of using Mac products and their reliability…

    Individually, the MacBook Pro and iPhones work well, but I am getting NOWHERE with my 2T Time Capsule (TC) and Airport Extreme (AE) to work and configure. Even right out of the box and on the phone with Apple or in the Apple Shop, they can’t get it to work.

    I am very disappointment with Apple as their instructions are very vague and limited.

    What do I do now? Are there good Apple forum/support out there?

  2. I have a NAS at home and want to access it through the Internet at work. What port should I use? I have already set up an address at but do I need to add the port I port forwarded to the address with a colon? Sorry guys & dolls. I’m a newbie. Obviously.

  3. Does anybody know how to configure port forwarding with an airport extreme for Real VNC on a PC? It says I have to configure my router to forward port 5900. I have configured this in IPV6 as said above as well as under port mapping. Any help would be appreciated!


  4. I think the reason that some are still having trouble even after correct Airport setup is because their modem is also acting as a DHCP and NAT. Therefore you have a double NAT and you need to go into your modem configuration interface and disable these features or disable them on your airport and configure them on your modem
    hope it helps

  5. Will Ashley

    I was able to set up port forwarding on my Time Capsule using these instructions with no problem, with the latest Time Capsule/Airport Extreme firmware (7.5.1)and the latest AirPort Utility (5.5.1).

    However, it seems these directions are mainly useful if you’re using an IPv6 tunnel (free from Hurricane Electric – – or similar) or have another way of accessing the global IPv6 network. I’m not sure how effective they would be otherwise, but could be wrong.

    To set up regular old IPv4 forwarding with the current firmware and utility versions goto the Internet icon atop the AirPort Utility, then select NAT, then click the “Configure Port Mappings” button as described here:

  6. Too bad it doesn’t work – now that Apple has changed the Airport interface these instructions are incorrect – have been totally unable to make port forwarding work at all on my Airport Extreme

  7. I have 13 EN enabled thermostats in my house and I am using a Linksys router and a time capsule but want to have the time capsule forward 13 ports. Does anyone know how many ports the time capsule can be configured to handle? The Linskys is limited to 12 and seems to have a routing conflict with the Time capsule so I’d like to have the Time capsule try to port forward.

  8. A little addition. In my case I entered from the drop down menu “File Sharing” and just changed the ports. Then gave a name to it “aMule” and save restart.

    Be sure, that you have from the AirPort tool “Internet” menu and “NAT” section the NAT port mapping enabled.

  9. Hey!

    Atleast in the newest Time Capsule the menu is a little different. There is not tab for IPV6 Firewall. In the Advanced setting, as in the instructions as well, there is a tab called “ports index” etc (my OSX language is Finnish, the second tab from the left anyways). This is just next to “Statistics and logs” tab.

    Click it and click “+” to enter a new port forward. You should enter your public TCP and UDP port (check from transmissions or aMule etc the ports) you want to forward) and private TCP and UDP. Use the same ports for BOTH.

    Now, you should enter your LOCAL IP as well. I.e if your local IP is default you should enter this. The program enters automatically i.e, so you just need to remove the last 01.

    Save and restart and you are done.

  10. LordThree

    I ran into the problem where downloading torrents was shutting down the airport and required me to unplug and replug. I’ve seen people mention that switching the OPv6 from tunnel to local solves the problem, but I’m not able to find the IPv6 menu under Airport Utility/Advanced/IPv6 – my only options are Statistics, Port Mapping, and PPP dial-in.

    I’m running snow leopard, and I assume the latest airport firmware if that helps. Anyone have this same issue? I assume that the configuration must have changed under snow leopart but I don’t know where to find it.

  11. I’m using an older G4 MacBook connected directly to Time Capsule. I followed the directions, forwarded the ports, and now I’m getting zero connectivity to uTorrent. Any suggestions?

  12. raumschiff

    I was just able to get it to work for RemoteTap & Transmission.
    My problem was double NAT which was shown as an error under the TC’s summery status (green/yellow dot).
    In order to get rid of double NAT I had to set my modem to bridge mode (it used to be in PPPoE mode) and change the TC’s internet connection to PPPoE (instead of Ethernet) and enter the ISP login & password.
    Ports are open now. Hope this helps.

  13. percyg23

    Hi, your post is very informative, I have an airport extreme, mac mini 1.83 core 2 duo, thats wired. My windows 7 rig is upstairs on a wifi, I want to get faster downloads from utorrent and transmission. I think my modem is nat’d, its a westell 6100 dsl modem I have zoomtown internet serviced by fuse. Would you know how to disable the firewall in the westell modem? Ive been all over the internet trying to find a fix, you are the only post that is clear on what to do. Please contact me via email when you can thanks.

  14. Stephen webb

    I have just brought an apple extreme and had a lot of trouble setting it up most of the problems in the end was me not reading advise properly, once i brought a modem, set the thing up, then the apple router, ps it still took days of playing with ip addresses, mac addresses, id numbers, etc, basically i was trying to set up port forwarding to an ethernet cable thought the router to allow an iphone app to wake the mac and show what was on the screen (great app once working Remote tap) easy on the local network but quite a job on the internet, which is where i needed it.
    ps i also invested in a static ip address.

    its hard to give advice as there are so many settings all i can say is make sure you have all the right addresses in place.

    bloody good luck

    • A few notes:
      -his instructions are perfect for his exact config
      -I reccomend most of you try ‘screen sharing’ (hidden software on a mac
      -key points
      -set mac/PC ip static not dhcp in internal LAN
      -set router to forward required ports to mac/PC static ip
      ie: 5900 for ARD & screen sharing

    • grizzledcamudgen

      @Stephen Webb,
      I have been trying to do the same thing for a long, long time!
      I have a:
      iMac OS X 10.6.2 snow leopard
      1 TB Time capsule
      I have been trying to set up RemoteTap on my system for internet access and been getting no where!
      If you or anyone else on here could help me I would be forever grateful!

      Best Regards,

  15. I have followed these instructions as best I can with the new Airport software.

    Airport Utility is convinced it is forwarding my ports, but every port-checking site that I got to says they are still closed. My MacBook has a static IP, and the ports are forwarded properly, but they still are closed.


  16. This is probably a bit of a moronic question but once you’ve set this up what do you actually type into the browser to access the ‘now’ external driving (assuming your outside the internal network). Is it http://'you static IP address’:548 ?

  17. @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

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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??

  21. Andrei

    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