Problems with XBOX 360 Live NAT Settings

Are you having trouble changing moderate and strict NAT settings?

XBOX Live is great fun with friends, but some people have encountered problems where they cannot hear each other on private chat or join certain games. I myself experienced this problem and found it very difficult to find advice online or get any really useful information from XBOX Live support. This is why I have decided to add a few helpful tips to this website.

Belkin Router NAT Settings Problem

NAT Settings

First of all I would just like to cover the basics of strict and moderate NAT settings. For those interested, NAT stands for Network Address Translation and is used to prevent problems with information being sent over a shared network.

With the XBOX 360, Microsoft have defined three categories of NAT. These are:

  • Strict
  • Moderate
  • Open

You can see the NAT level for your XBOX Live connection by going into your System blade -> Network Settings -> Test Xbox Live Connection

To be able to chat or play online with a friend you will need to have compatible NAT connections. The table below shows such compatibility with each XBOX 360 NAT category.

To Open To Moderate To Strict
From Moderate YES YES NO
From Strict YES NO NO

Belkin Router

The router I seemed to have these problems with was a Belkin Router, but I have seen and heard similar reports of issues with Netgear, Linksys and other popular routers. This is not to say that I think Belkin are a bad company, or that their routers are not worth purchasing. In fact, I found the router extremely easy to setup and it has solved ALL of the problems I was getting with my previous Netgear Router.

The model I have is a Belkin G Plus, High Speed Model 7231-4, but as I mentioned earlier, the fixes I am about to suggest may apply to all routers. Note: Please check that you have the latest firmware for your router before trying any of the techniques below.

Open Ports Required for XBOX Live

The first thing to try is port forwarding for your XBOX 360, which can be done in the router’s administration panel. By default this can be found at the IP address and will require your username and password. Once logged in you will be able to setup port forwarding in the “Virtual Servers” section.

The ports that Microsoft recommends to be open are:

  • 88 UDP
  • 3074 UDP
  • 3074 TCP

I recommend that you test your XBOX Live connection again at this stage as you may not need to do anything else. In fact, I recommend you test it after each stage/technique. If your NAT is still set to Moderate or Strict the don’t worry, we still have a few more tricks up our sleeve’s.

Static IP Address and DMZ

The XBOX 360 network settings allow you to give your console a static ip address. In this case, select something like

Back in the Belkin router’s administration panel, there is a feature called “DMZ” listed under the firewall settings. It is here that will allow you to select one local IP address to be placed outside of the NAT settings of the rest of the network. Please note that I only recommend this feature for your XBOX 360, never use it for a PC IP address unless you want to be left open to hacking attacks.

Once you have applied these changes, I recommend that you restart your router (and possibly your XBOX 360) before testing your connection again.


For some reason, my Belkin router had this feature turned off by default. Once switched on (from the administration panel) I tested my XBOX Live connection (after resetting the router) and it was set to open!.

None of that worked, what else can I try?

If you are still encountering problems I strongly suggest that you double-check ALL of your firewall settings. Possibly even disabling it for a moment to check if it is the problem. Also, check all physical connections between your Xbox 360, your router, and the broadband cable that plugs into your wall.

I hope that this information will help a lot of people experiencing problems with XBOX Live. If you would like to discuss this topic further, please leave a comment below.

My first games console was the Mega Drive and I've been in love with video games ever since. Over the years I've owned many systems, which I hope to cover in the future. Most of the things I write and do videos about is considered "retro", but I do enjoy playing my Xbox One and PS4 as well...

Posted on January 20, 2009 | Last modified: 14th September 2015