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

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
    advanced_firewall_port_forwarding
  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)

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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
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  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)
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