I have been wondering if my Starlink router supports port forwarding as I have been wanting to enable access to my home computer remotely from my work computer.
With various network protocols and related mumbo jumbo regarding port forwarding, I figured a lot of users might be curious and confused regarding the same.
So with this article, I intend to put that query to rest and finally provide an answer as to whether you can enable port forwarding via your Starlink routers.
Starlink does not natively support port forwarding due to its implementation of CGNAT. Till Starlink implements IPv6, only Starlink Business users can implement port forwarding by VPN split tunneling.
Do Starlink Routers Support Port Forwarding?
Unfortunately, Starlink routers do not support port forwarding natively, thanks to Starlink implementing CGNAT.
There are also no unofficial methods that users could find that can potentially enable a workaround for implementing port forwarding for Starlink routers.
What is CGNAT?
Carrier Grade Network Address Translation (CGNAT) is a network address translation type implemented with the main intention of combating IPv4 exhaustion.
Back in the 1980s, the internet was designed in such a way that every computer or device accessing the internet would have its own unique IP address.
This unique IP address was formulated, at that time, by using a standard called IPv4 which assigned the IP with four octets, consisting of four groups with 8 bits each.
This would mathematically translate to over four billion unique IP address values, which at that time seemed like too huge of a number to ever be exhausted.
Fast forward to our current timeline, computers connected to the internet have grown exponentially, and this 4 billion number has fast depleting.
With the rapid growth of networking technologies having a similar pace, there have been standards that have surpassed the IPv4 standard, namely the IPv6.
IPv6 uses a 128-bit address protocol, allowing for an insane 340 undecillion (3.4×1038) unique IP addresses.
But IPv6 is not backward compatible with IPv4 devices, and the issue with limited addresses to allocate still loomed large.
Enter Carrier Grade NAT, a method where the carriers or service providers were placed in between the allocation of IP addresses, to further stretch the IP pool.
The carriers then split a single IP address and allocate that single IP to multiple users.
This split is performed by assigning a private IP to each connected device and then relaying those IPs to the carrier which connects and governs the public IP.
Starlink and CGNAT
To be frank, Starlink is not to be blamed for such a predicament.
Almost all broadband services utilize CGNAT to combat IPv4 exhaustion.
Until Starlink switched to providing IPv6 solely for its users, port forwarding is but a fever dream.
Starlink has said that it is working on a full-scale implementation of IPv6 across all its service plans, but now IPv6 is solely dedicated to network clients.
Routers that came with the circular or beta Starlink dishes do not natively support IPv6.
Port Forwarding for Starlink Business Users
If you are a Starlink Business user, then there is the possibility of implementing an unofficial way of port forwarding.
This can be a worthy contender to aid you in remotely accessing your work computer from the comfort of your home.
Then again, this is a workaround method and therefore is not bound to work 100% seamlessly and efficiently.
This is done by implementing a method called split tunneling.
Split tunneling essentially routes specified traffic through a VPN tunnel, and the rest is routed through the default gateway.
This implementation can enable port forwarding for tunneled traffic.
The implementation of a VPN is the primary reason why only Starlink Business users can utilize this workaround, as VPN usage is limited to Starlink Business users.
The Starlink router that you get from a Starlink Residential kit will not support a VPN connection.
Pros and Cons of Port Forwarding
Port forwarding, despite boasting quite a few benefits does share an equal number of drawbacks.
Here is a detailed brief of the various pros and cons associated with implementing a port forward using a Starlink router:
|Remote access||Weaker NAT firewall security|
|Faster access to custom game servers||Too many ports can result in slow speeds|
|Better communication with connected devices||Complexity by design|
|Better blocking of unwanted websites|
|Added privacy of a VPN connection|
If you have further doubts regarding port forwarding with Starlink or want to ask for ETA regarding IPv6, you can contact Starlink support.
I hope my article on whether Starlink supports port forwarding has been a worthwhile read and has aided you with the same.
Have a good day!
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Does Starlink have a dynamic IP?
Starlink primarily uses a dynamic IP to connect users with the internet. Starlink offers static IP only for Starlink Business users.
Can Starlink connect to a .onion website?
.onion websites should work via tor on Starlink without any issues.
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