Remote desktop allows you to access your computer system from a different computer or network. So, if you’d like to have full access to your main computer at all times, no matter where you are, you will need to set up remote desktop port forwarding on your home network.
How to Configure Remote Desktop Port Forwarding?
As mentioned earlier, there are thousands of ports that allow for different services. The port responsible for Windows Remote Desktop service is 3389, i.e., you need to forward it to port 3389.
If you or the PC you are connecting to is behind a router, you will first need to change the settings of the router to forward port 3389 from the router to the PC you’re connecting to. Here is how to do that:
Figure out the IP address of the computer
To forward to port 3389, you need to find out the “address” of the computer you’re forwarding the port to.
Go to the computer system and click on the “Start” option. Then type “cmd” in the search bar and press Enter. Next, type “ipconfig / all” and look for the “IP Address label” of your system to see the address. Write down this number.
Log into your home internet router
Routers have web-accessible control panels that you can log into by simply opening a web browser and going to the router’s IP address. In most cases, this IP address is 192.168.1.1, but it may differ depending on what kind of router you’re using.
To be entirely sure about the IP address, check out the user manual for your router.
Also, you can find out the IP address via your system. Click on the “Start” button, type “cmd” and press Enter. Type “ipconfig / all” into the pop-up window. Look for the “Default Gateway” IP address – that’s your router’s IP address.
Enter your username and password to log in to the control panel of your router. If you have the router’s manual handy, you can use it to access information about this control panel as well.
Change the router settings
Inside the control panel of your router, look for the “Applications and Games,” “Port Forwarding,” “NAT” (Network Address Translation) section, and click on it.
The name of this section can vary depending on the router, but once you find it, you will see a list of text entry boxes. You are supposed to enter in IP address and port numbers in these boxes.
Set the forwarding ports to be 3389. Then enter the IP address of your local PC as the network these ports should be forwarded to. Once done, save the settings and, if necessary, restart the router.
Now, you can connect to your PC from the outside world using the remote desktop port forwarding protocol.
What is Port?
A port is a point to which a computer, a process, a service, or an application connects.
For example, when a user types in a website address in their browser and hits Enter, they are requesting a remote web server using the HTTPS/HTTP protocol, which is handled by a specific port on that server (port 443 for HTTPS and port 80 for HTTP).
As you may already know, every computer device has an IP address. There are two types of IP addresses: public (external) or private (internal). A public IP address is accessible to the outside world, whereas a private IP address is used in internal networks only.
Whenever you request to gather information from the Internet, the private IP address of your device is sent along with the public IP address of your router.
The Network Address Translation (NAT) is responsible for making sure that the requested information reaches the right computer device within a network. It occurs at the network and transport layers, where the network traffic flow is channeled through the router so that numerous devices behind it can share a single IP address (public).
This is where ports come in. Ports ensure that a computer knows which application the data packets are meant for based on the port number.
There are 65,536 ports available for use in Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) or User Datagram Protocol (UDP), and some of them come with pre-assigned uses. Ports are identified by port numbers, ranging from 0 to 65535.
What is Remote Desktop Port Forwarding?
When you connect to your personal computer (PC) by using a remote desktop client, you are creating a peer-to-peer connection. So, you will need direct access to the host (your PC). You will need to “enable the access” if you want to connect to your system from outside the network it is running on.
This can be quickly done via remote desktop port forwarding.
RDP port forwarding maps the port on your public IP address (router’s IP) to the port and IP of the computer you want to access. Port forwarding allows you to anything you want to do on your PC remotely, as though you were using the PC itself.
The precise steps for enabling port depend on which router you are using. For example, setting up RDP port forwarding on a TP-Link router is slightly different from configuring it on an Asus router. But the general steps remain the same.