Have you ever wanted to access a device or server from elsewhere in the world but found it had to do so? Well, with the entry of port forwarding into the scene is set to make such access easy.
What is port forwarding?
Port forwarding also goes by the name port mapping, and it is a technique by which people redirect computer signals between local networks and those connected to the internet. Given that computer signals also go by the name ports, it thus makes sense that the process would be known as port forwarding. There is a more straightforward way in which one can interpret this service. Take an example of a situation where you need to access a service that is available on the web or a device that is connected to the internet yet you are physically far from the given device. What would you do in that case? Well, you would use port forwarding. Let us dig in deeper into this process to help you understand how it works on a deeper level.
Other than port mapping, people also refer to this process as port tunneling. As such, it involves intercepting signals heading towards a given computer’s IP address and directing them to a different destination, i.e., another computer’s address. In most cases, people use proxy programs of VPNs to achieve this redirection. You can also choose to use hardware components to get the same results such as routers and servers. In this way, you are in a position to send requests to servers across the globe, and people cannot tell the origin of such calls. As such, you get to enjoy privacy while online.
The workings of port forwarding
When sending a request online, a lot of processes take place. First, data gets created, and it includes what you want as well as your location and this information gets sent over the internet, meaning that people elsewhere can track the origin of your request. Usually, a network router checks the IP header of the data getting sent, and it then directs the information to an appropriate interface which transmits the data to the destination given in the header.
When it comes to port forwarding, things change. You see, whereas in a typical request the first stage is a network router, your data first gets into the hand of your VPN which takes down information on the destination. It then alters the header before sending it to a computer or server that is different from the one you originally intended. This secondary destination could be a different server with a different IP address or a different port. In some cases, it is a mixture of the two. In this way, the VPN provider can mask your actual address, and this keeps you safe while surfing the web.
Why do people use port forwarding?
Other than maintaining privacy when using online sites, there are many other reasons why people resort to this technique.
Sometimes you are away on vacation, work commitments or other activities which call for you to be away from your home for long, and you need to stay on top of what is happening at home. Using port forwarding, you can get access to your security cameras using a different IP address and anyone looking into your activities will not be able to tell whether you accessed them from work, around the neighborhood or halfway across the world. In this manner, you can keep both your location and home safe from invaders.
Other than accessing your security systems, you can also forward signals to your gaming consoles for a much more exciting experience such that if you wish to play with someone who is far from you, it is possible.
You can access your machine from anywhere in the world, and this means that you need not fuss if you need to work on something on your device and you are far from it. It is also helpful in situations where websites are only accessible by people from a given region as you can easily hide your IP address and enjoy the services offered by the site.
If you wish to send information securely, this is the way to go. Organizations can utilize port forwarding in the sending of emails.
Many benefits come from this system, and thus, it is easy to see why many people have taken to it.