What you NEED and what you DON’T NEED when port forwarding and addressing relayed Helium hotspots

Many people getting into Helium are coming from all walks of life. Some have technical backgrounds and all of this is a walk in the park, and others are brand new and are needing to come to grips with relatively technical networking concepts for the first time.

This post is for the latter group of people, who in my experience easily get hung up on terms thinking they must have something when they don’t. Here are some tips to address and hopefully explain some of that. I’ll just say one thing from the outset: YOU MOST LIKELY DO NOT NEED A STATIC IP FROM YOUR ISP unless you fall into one of the situations described below. I needed to get that off my chest – seems to be a common hang up.

Before proceeding, also please read my earlier posts and watch the video on Port Forwarding.

If you’re NOT relayed – don’t read any further. You’re golden.

If you ARE relayed here is what you need:

On your home network (all configurable in your router):

  • Your hotspot/miner needs to have a fixed/static IP address on YOUR HOME NETWORK. This is so the port forwarding can always find the device on your network to forward the Helium traffic to
  • Your router need to have Port forwarding enabled to forward port 44158 via TCP to the fixed address you have set for your miner/hotspot above
  • You don’t want to have a router behind another router unless the first router is bridged. This creates a Double-NATted connection which is problematic for Helium and many other services. If you’ve never setup a bridged connection (which essentially converts a combined modem/router into just a modem) get some help from a network savvy friend

On the ISP side of things:

Most of the dramas here relate to CG-NAT connection. You don’t want to be on a CG-NAT connection. We’re running out of IPv4 IP addresses and most ISPs and very commonly 4G providers use CG-NAT to create a large private network sharing a handful of public IP addresses The easiest way to test this is to see what kind of IP address your router is given on the WAN/Internet side of the router. If it is an IP address in a range reserved for private networks you are on a CG-NAT connection and Helium miners are going to struggle unless you fix it. Alternatively, compare the IP address your router reports you have for your WAN with what a service like canyouseeme.org reports – if they are different, you probably have CG-NAT.

If you find you ARE on a CG-NAT connection, you want to do one of three things:

  1. Opt out of CG-NAT – contact your ISP and ask to opt-out of CG-NAT. This will have the effect of getting a proper public IP address. Some ISPs will gladly do this at no cost.
  2. If that doesn’t work, see if you can get a static IP address from your ISP for your router. There is usually a charge for this – typically ~$5 or so per month. This too will have the effect of removing yourself from CG-NAT and onto a proper public IP address
  3. Failing all that you may need to go down the VPN path to tunnel your way through CG-NAT to a VPN server with a public IP address this involves configuration of your router. This is not that simple, so let’s save THAT for another post on another day, or reach out to your network-savvy tech friends.

…and finally, if all THAT fails the last resort is… (Thanks, Ian! 😉 )

4. Change your ISP to one which DOESN’T use CG-NAT in the first place!

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If you find this content informative, or if it has helped you out in some way, here’s my Helium wallet address.  A coffee, a beer or a little bit of HNT to offset some of the operating costs is always appreciated! Thanks.