Multiple Xboxes on a network problem.
January 20, 2006 8:06 AM   Subscribe

I'm trying to set up a small network for some friends of mine. They have 2 xboxes (not 360s) and just got broadband internet specifically for Xbox Live. I picked up router (a LinkSys WRT54G). They previously had the xbox system link bundle (4 port hub and 4 cables). Then came the problems (after the jump).

I set up the Linksys router with the broadband and could connect to the internet fine. However, once I hooked up one of the xboxes, they couldn't connect to Live (a task they could do without the router in the way).
After several iterations of testing, it appears that for some reason both xboxes can't connect to Live at the same time.

The current setup is:
Cable modem -> WRT54G Router -> System Link hub -> (Via System Link cable) -> both xboxes.

Why isn't this working? Has anyone got 2 xboxes (both with their own live account) woking on a single network and have both of them online at the same time?
posted by Ikazuchi to Computers & Internet (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I haven't used Xbox Live, so I'm not certain, but do you have to have an open port that accept external connections? Also you probably need to forward that incoming connection to the xboxes.

If you have to have the same set of ports open to both live boxes that may be problem as usually you can only choose one ip address to route the incoming connections to.

If this turns out to be the case, you may want to also see if you can tell the built in DHCP server to assign the same address each time to the XBox's MAC address so that you don't have to twiddle with the port forwarding address if they get a new lease.
posted by beowulf573 at 8:36 AM on January 20, 2006

Some quick googling has shown me that you do need to forward some ports for XBox Live... I haven't been able to find anything that lets you change the XBox Live port settings on the Xbox, so I think you are pooched... but that's just a guess. You can at least connect one of them, but it doesn't look like both.

You need to forward UDP 88, UDP 3074, and TCP 3074 to the Xbox, or so it would appear.
posted by antifuse at 8:57 AM on January 20, 2006

If you use tofu's HyperWRT firmware, the IP address computed by DHCP is a hash of the MAC address, therefore it won't change (unless there are collisions..)
posted by adzm at 9:05 AM on January 20, 2006

I plugged to xboxes into an ordinary router along with a pc that was plugged into the modem.

I know that works... but that's all I know.
posted by ewkpates at 9:24 AM on January 20, 2006

Have you got the latest firmware for the WRT54G? Some older versions apparently have uPnP issues with Xbox live.

The Xbox is supposed to tell the router what ports it wants forwarded via uPnP, so as long as it's enabled in the router's configuration panel you should be good.
posted by chuma at 9:57 AM on January 20, 2006

I initially had the same problem when playing with 2 xboxs

that solved my problems (PS - playing next to each other on XBOX live is awesome - plus upgraded to 360 = amazing)
posted by meta x zen at 10:16 AM on January 20, 2006

What happens when you plug the XBOXes directly into the router? (Not sure what the system link hub is) I have two XBOXes connected directly to my WRT54G and connect to both of them simultaneously without any issues.
posted by phox at 12:22 PM on January 20, 2006

Yeah, when people here are talking about UPnP, that's the answer. The basic explanation:

In order to function with XBox Live, a single XBox needs to be able to accept connections back into it from the internet. When it's directly connected to the internet, with no firewall between it and the 'net, then it just listens on the relevant ports for those connections -- no problem. When there's a network address translation firewall (a firewall that also turns a single IP address into a whole network of IP addresses, such as the WRT54G) between it and the 'net, then it's screwed unless that same firewall is running a UPnP (Universal Plug and Play) service. That UPnP service allows the XBox to request the opening of the relevant ports on the firewall, and connection of those ports on the firewall back to the XBox itself. For the most part, the UPnP service on the WRT54G works great once you turn it on (I say "for the most part" because, over the past few weeks, I've gotten quite involved in the UPnP innards of the Sveasoft alternative firmware, and it turns out that the code that Linksys uses for their UPnP service is pure shit; it's amazing that it works at all, and you will certainly find times when you have to restart your router to get it working again.)

Now, add into that mix a second XBox, and you'll learn that where one XBox works fine, the second is unlikely to work as well. The reason is that XBoxes are likely asking the firewall to open the exact same ports, and to redirect all traffic to those ports back to both of the boxes... something that's just not possible. (Imagine you and a friend both wanting to have phone number X forwarded to your own personal number -- it's just not possible in any meaningful sense.) Some applications, like BitTorrent, get around this by not always using the same network ports; client A figures out which port it can request on the firewall, gets that port opened, and only then tells the network what port to use to communicate with it, and then client B does the same, preventing any collisions. My understanding, though (validated by antifuse's comment), is that XBox doesn't behave this way -- it always wants the rest of the network to communicate with it on those three specific ports, and that means that you'll have issues any time you have more than one client behind an NAT firewall.

(I might be wrong about XBox demanding those three ports specifically; if I'm wrong, and if XBox behaves the same as BitTorrent, then just getting a well-functioning UPnP setup up and running will solve your problem.)
posted by delfuego at 10:33 AM on January 21, 2006

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