TL,DR: For best results with EchoLink, please configure your Internet router to forward UDP ports 5198 and 5199 to
the PC on which EchoLink is running.
Your connection to the Internet might be going through a router or a firewall.
These devices can improve the security of your computer, and can allow a single
Internet address to be shared by more than one computer on your network.
However, routers and firewalls can be a problem for peer-to-peer programs such as
EchoLink. The reason is that EchoLink nodes communicate directly with each other
over the Internet, rather than sending all of their packets through a server.
This is good for the efficiency and scale of the system, but it is not always "firewall-friendly".
By far, the most common problem involves a device called a NAT router. Now that
broadband Internet connections are so common, NAT routers are more widespread than
ever. NAT stands for network address translation. If you have a home network
or DSL service, you're likely to have one of these. It poses a problem for EchoLink
because it normally does not allow unsolicited packets from the Internet to reach
your PC. The solution to this problem is to configure the port forwarding
feature of the router to allow certain packets to reach the EchoLink software.
Unfortunately, each make and model of router
has a different procedure for setting up port forwarding, so the steps to follow
aren't easy to document. (A good starting point, however, is
portforward.com. Please use this is a good information resource,
and not necessarily for the software being sold on that site.)
Furthermore, in many situations (such as public Wi-Fi hotspots, cellular hotspots,
and other wireless Internet service), you might not even have access to the router to be
able to change its configuration.
For more discussion about internet service providers and EchoLink,
please see Internet Service Providers.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: If I haven't set up my router, can I make connections to other
A: In most cases, you will be able to connect to conference
servers, EchoIRLP nodes, and nodes running EchoLink, without setting
up your router. But to ensure that you can connect to all nodes,
you will need to set up port forwarding in your router, or use an EchoLink Proxy, or a VPN service.
Q: If I haven't set up my router, can I still receive incoming
A: You might be able to receive incoming connections from some stations,
but not others, depending on the type of software they are using. To ensure that you can
receive all incoming connections, you will need to set up port forwarding in your
router, or use an EchoLink Proxy.
Q: Do I still need to configure my router for use with EchoLink?
A: Configuring port forwarding in your router is still
recommended, if you have access to it. This will ensure that you can connect to
(and receive connections from) any other node on the EchoLink network. Until port
forwarding is set up, you might notice that you can connect to some nodes, but not
others. The exact steps for configuring your router vary considerably from one
model to another; find yours in the list at
portforward.com for specific instructions.
Q: Is it possible to run more than one node over a single
A: Please do not run more than one EchoLink node behind the same public IP address. In most
cases, this means that you must avoid running two or more EchoLink nodes on the same home network. The reason is that each
logged-in EchoLink node is reachable only by its (public) IP address, which must be unique for each node.
If you have a need to run more than one node (such as a single-user and a Sysop node) at the same time,
you can check with your Internet service provider to see if an additional IP address is available, usually for an
additional monthly fee. Or, you can subscribe to a VPN service, as long as the service supports port forwarding.
Q: Can I use StarLink, or T-Mobile, as my internet service provider with EchoLink?
A: Satellite, any many (but not all) LTE/cellular providers, are offering an "internet service"
which is akin to paying your next door neighbor to use his WiFi — the connection you're provided is being shared
with other customers, so it doesn't have its down distinct public IP address.
If you have this type of service, there may indeed be issues with setting up an EchoLink node. For more information,
please see Internet Service Providers.