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What Is Port Triggering?

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Quick Answer

Port triggering is a setting available on some routers that allows connected computers to forward a network port back to itself. With port triggering enabled, different types of network traffic can be sent and received on a computer without the need for manual configuration on the router.

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Port forwarding, an option similar to port triggering, involves translating an address or port number of a specific network packet and then forwarding it according to the routing table outlined on the router. This allows specific network traffic from external locations to be accessed inside a private local area network (LAN). Port triggering does this automatically by opening an incoming port when a computer inside the LAN makes an outgoing connection through a port or range of ports. Port triggering also eliminates the need for a computer on a LAN to have a fixed network address.

A security advantage of using port triggering over port forwarding is that a port is not left open while not being actively used. One notable disadvantage of port triggering is that only one client computer can use the triggered port at a time.

The Universal Plug and Play protocol, or UPnP, performs a somewhat similar function to port triggering by automatically installing port forwarding instances required by services without the need for configuration by the user.

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