Ask the Expert

How do I unblock ports accessed by media players?

I have a Linksys DSL/cable router and four-port switch. I have great Web access with a browser, but I think the NAT firewall is blocking ports that I need to use my media players, such as Windows Media, Real One Player and MusicMatch. Could it be something else? If not, how do I find out which ports these media players need, and then unblock them without compromising security?
Your firewall may be blocking the access you want. Generally you can find the ports necessary on the Web site of the product manufacturer. A document that will help you configure your router for media players can be found here. Here's a document that may help with MusicMatch. Be careful when you modify the ACLs on your router. Only open the necessary ports in the correct direction.

This was first published in January 2003

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