What Is Port Triggering | Port Triggering Vs Port Forwarding

A comprehensive tutorial on what is Port Triggering and the process to configure Port Triggering. Also includes Triggering Vs Forwarding:

In this tutorial, we will explore the concept of port triggering along with its uses. We will also get the answer to question like how it differs from port forwarding.

There is a subtle difference between triggering and forwarding and not much information is available about it on the Internet. So, in this tutorial, we have summarized the difference between the two and the basics of port triggering with examples and images for better understanding.

Port Triggering

What Is Port Triggering

Port triggering is a kind of configuration option, available in the NAT enabled router and is a dynamic form of Port Forwarding. The name “triggering” is derived from the word “triggers” which means that it opens a specific incoming port for the incoming traffic when a specific client requests for establishing the outgoing connection with the server, on a predestined port to it.

Uses Of Port Triggering

Enlisted below are the uses: 

  • It is used when the users want to use the port forwarding to reach out to various hosts located at the remote end.
  • It is also used when the running application requires the incoming port to differ from the outgoing port.
  • It is needed when the user wants to connect and stay online for a long duration for an application like gaming and video conferencing. This provides the stability in connection.
  • It is needed to establish a secure VPN network between the home and office network.

Difference Between Port Forwarding Vs Port Triggering

We can understand the differences between the two from the table below:

Port ForwardingPort Triggering
It is a static method of configuration of ports in the network and is mostly used between the nodes which are connected through the Internet via a remote end node.It is a dynamic form of port forwarding method as the ports will open when required and will be closed when not in use.
It needs the unique static IP address for configuration at each of the ports.The IP addresses are assigned automatically when triggered.
The ports on which transmission of data is taken place are opened all the time during the communication.The ports are opened only when they are triggered and for a specific period.
The configuration is done only for one single system or machine on the network.It can be deployed on more than one system on the network but only one machine can use it at one instance in time.
It is less secure than the port triggering method as the ports are left open in this method all the time thus it is more prone to the cyber and virus attacks.It is more secure than the Port forwarding method as the ports left open only for a small time as compared to port forwarding thus it is less prone to the cyber and virus attacks than that of the forwarding method.

Port Forwarding Example

As explained in the below image, the port forwarding opens the port in the response to the incoming traffic for a service in a LAN network. When an Internet user requests a web page, then the router will assign the port (80) and route the traffic to the webserver of the network.

Port forwarding Example1

Figure 1-Port Forwarding

Port Triggering Example

As explained in the below image, when a server sends the outgoing traffic request through a pre-defined triggered port (6660), the router accepts the requests and in response routes the traffic to the specific incoming port (112) in the LAN network.

Figure 2- Port Triggering

Description of Above Figures

As shown in Figure 1, the port forwarding opens the port in the response to the incoming traffic for a service in a LAN network. When an Internet user requested the web page then the router will assign the port (80) and route the traffic to the webserver of the network.

For port triggering as shown in Figure 2, when a server sends the outgoing traffic request through a triggered port (6660) that is pre-defined, the router accepts the requests and in response routes the traffic to the specific incoming port (112) in the LAN network.

Configuring Port Triggering

  • The port triggering configuration is required in the network for applications like gaming, video conferencing, etc. which requires watching out for traffic by the router on specific port numbers.
  • The important rule is, the IP address of the host machine which requests for the data packet is memorized by the router so that when the required data is reverted through the router, the data packet will be delivered to the matching host machine by using the IP address of the host and the port details as per the rules defined in the router.
  • For using Internet-based applications like gaming and others, the computer also sometimes uses the alternate ports for communication between the web server and the requesting host. We just need to enter the outgoing port and the alternate incoming port in the port triggering table for triggering these applications.
  • Then the router will automatically forward the incoming data to the destined LAN host.

Steps for Configuration

Step 1: Define the entries in the router for setting up the triggering port.

Step 2: This is done by logging in to the router by using a web browser. Select the Service type option for Port triggering and enter the Service Name, Server IP address. Then click on the ADD button and save the settings as shown below.

Steps for Configuration

[image source]     

Step 3: Now, enter the application name in the router, service type (TCP or UDP), set the trigger port range and incoming port range number in the settings for the application. And then click Apply to save the changes.

Port triggering services

Step 4: Enter the values in the field for outbound traffic.

  • In the Service Name option, enter the application type like gaming, mail, VPN, etc.
  • In the Service User option, select the machine from the drop-down which is going to be used. Here, it is selected as ANY, which reflects that we can use all machines in the network. If we select one machine for triggering then specify the IP address of that computer.
  • Select the Service Type, i.e. TCP/UDP from the drop-down menu. We have selected TCP here. Fill the triggering outgoing port for the application, here value entered as 25.

Step 5: Entering the values in the field for inbound traffic.

  • First, select the connection type from the drop-down for the inbound traffic, which can be TCP/UDP. Here it is selected as TCP.
  • Now enter the starting and ending port range of the inbound packets on which data needs to be forwarded. Here, only one port is required, defined as 113.
  • Click on the Apply button to save the settings.

Thus configuration is complete.

Triggering For Gaming

The routers are not designed to handle the incoming network requests on a particular port. Thus, in this situation, the triggering comes into action, which is very useful in making the connection efficient and stable for gaming purposes.

Port Triggering for Gaming1

Working Concept

The common router port used for the gaming console is PlayStation 4 (PS4). The TCP port used is 80, 443, 3478.3479, and 3480, while UDP ports used are 3478 and 3479.

Triggering will automatically allocate itself to the IP address when enabled from the available IP range. But for gaming purposes and other web-based services, where one wants to connect with an outside network from the PS4, and port multiple numbers of times, it is good if we use the static IP address which routes the data packet towards PS4.

Now if you have allocated a static IP address for your gaming console port on the computer, then it will get the identical IP address every time you switch on the triggering. With static IP, the online application will run without any interruption and will be stable.

Steps to Configure Triggering for Gaming

Step 1: You need to find out the IP address of the PS4. For this, login into the play station menu settings, and navigate to the network connection menu. You will find the IP address of the play station and the IP address of your router. Memorize both the IP addresses.

Step 2: Log in to your home router. For this, open the web browser and enter the IP address of the default gateway (found in Step 1) in the address bar and press enter. This will direct you to the Login page of your home router, as shown in the below image.

Here, in the below example, the router IP address is 192.168.1.1 which is a home router IP. Enter the credentials into the login page and click on Login. This will direct you to the home router settings page.

Configure Triggering For Gaming

Note: Sometimes users don’t know the username and password to login to the router. In this case, you can try the default username and password as “admin”. However, these credentials may vary depending upon the maker of the router.

>> Recommended Reading=> Default Router Login Password For Top Router Models

Step 3: Once you are logged into the router, you will find multiple available options like Status, Network, Security, and Applications. Select the “Applications” option to see multiple options like port forwarding, triggering, etc.

Select ‘Port Triggering’ from the available options to see various settings that appear for the gaming application on the right-hand side.

Step 4: Creating port triggering settings for gaming

  • In this section, create settings for the Play Station port for gaming. For the Application Name, only ‘Play Station’ is available in the drop-down list. Hence the device will be PS4 (play station 4).
  • Choose the triggering port and the alternate triggering port. Select 3478 and 3479 respectively as shown in the below image. You can choose according to your requirements.
  • Expire Time denotes the period for which the port will remain open, and after that interval it will automatically get closed. This is set to 600 seconds.
  • Choose the Triggering protocol from the drop-down menu as TCP or UDP. Here it is chosen as TCP but one can choose as per the requirement and availability and can also choose the ‘BOTH’ option as well.
  • WAN connection list is the type of your Internet connection for the application you are running. It will be selected automatically from the drop-down list. If you want to change some other Internet connection, then you can choose it from the options available on the list.

Click on the ‘Add’ button to save the settings and finally create the triggering for Play Station for gaming on your home network.

port triggering settings for gaming

Step 5: As triggering ports for incoming traffic have been added, and the service is active now, it starts displaying the details for the same as shown in the below image. It also shows application service and configuration wise the inbound start and end port for the traffic, for example, 80-80, 10070-10080, etc. respective to the triggering port range.

Configuring the Port triggering 1

After doing this entire configuration, you can now use the gaming console play station device for online gaming on your computer without interruption.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q #1) Is port triggering and port forwarding the same?

Answer: No, they are not the same. Port triggering is the dynamic form of port forwarding as it is used when the user wants to reach out to multiple machines in the network on pre-defined ports, by only using the triggering rule.

Q #2) How do I check that Port triggering is enabled and working?

Answer: To check whether the triggering is working on your computer, follow these steps:

  • Enter CMD in the search bar of the Windows. Command prompt window will appear.
  • Enter the Telnet and the IP address of your router with the port number and press the Enter button.
  • If the port is forwarded or triggered successfully, then a black window will appear which confirms that you have successfully done the settings.

Q #3) Is Port triggering safe?

Answer: It is not assured but yes it is safe to a great extent as the remote access is given to only one computer for VPN tunneling and other services. Port is opened only for a short period. Thus it is safe from multiple kinds of virus and DNS attacks.

Q #4) What are the risks of Port triggering?

Answer: When we open the port directly for some time, then there is a high risk of an attack of malware virus and hackers if they will get to know our port details and IP address. In this way, they can enter directly into the network through this.

Q #5) What are the ports used for port forwarding?

Answer: The default ports used for forwarding are port 80 for HTTP, port 25 for SMTP, and port 20 for FTP.

Conclusion

This tutorial explains the overall concept of Port triggering and Port forwarding with the help of various examples and screenshots.

We have also answered some frequently asked questions which generally arise while going through the concept of triggering methods. This will increase the understanding of the concept.

From now onwards, if you want to configure the port triggering in your home network for applications then you need not worry at all and just follow the steps as mentioned in this article to enable the triggering for gaming etc.

Enjoy online gaming with no interruption!!