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ichat, aim and other c..p

#1 User is online   Silver Wolf 

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Posted 30 September 2012 - 01:35 PM

hey guys,

I changed ISP a couple of weeks ago and I have been experiencing troubles with ichat - aim ever since. What I tested were the following points:

1- internet connection without router (top! I LOVE cable!) including AIM and IChat, my two pains in the rear end)
2- internet connection with router (works fine except for Ichat and a downloaded version of AIM for OS-X Leopard)

What happens is that AIM client reconnects every 10 minutes, triggering a display of their front page. It sucks. I notice IChat does the same but takes an eternity to reconnect, whereas AIM at least does it in less than a second. I do not lose internet connections from other messenger services (Yahoo or MSN) or from the internet at large, since I have been able to download a 30-minute movie clip and it did not fail.

I changed port (from 5190 to 443) on IChat and it did not help. I tried bringing the port of the Aim client from 443 to 5190 and could not connect, so I reset the client port to its original setting.

The other solution I am looking at is port forwarding on the router, but I am unsure as to the validity of this approach. Some say it resolves the issue, others say it's not the right thing to do, and others say it made their computer vulnerable. I am at a loss as to what to think.

I found a site that explains how to port forward IChat and it has so many things to do I fear its a nice way to let them into my machine. If anyone can look into this and come back with some hints! The site in question is:


It seems to be a damn heavy duty thing to do.

#2 User is offline   Rilbur 

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Posted 01 October 2012 - 02:55 PM

I suppose I have to concede that port forwarding could be dangerous, but... the idea is kinda laughable. Port forwarding only makes your machine as vulnerable as it would be without using a router (actually, still less so as you're only opening a single, specific hole in the router's firewall). I'd do it without thinking twice for a program I use (actually, I have done it, lots, ranging from port 80 for limited webhosting to some higher ports for gaming stuff).

Please understand that the following is a simplification and doesn't convey the entire subject very well. But if you're interested at all in any of the technical details, this should give you a decent idea of what's going on.

Your computer communicates to the internet through a cable modem. The cable modem is assigned an address, called an IP address. Any messages sent to that address go straight from the modem to the machine attached to it. In addition to the ip address itself, messages are tagged with what is called a 'port number'. This is used to help divide up messages amongst applications. For example, web browsers almost invariably use port 80 to talk to a website (that's the standard; you can configure a server differently if you want).

Unfortunately, most people don't attach their machines directly to the modem. Instead, things go through a router. This is where things get a 'bit complicated'. Your router only has one 'global' IP available to it -- the one used for the modem. That means that everyone behind the router has to share that one, single IP -- with very few ways to distinguish themselves from one another. (The router does issue a local IP address, usually in the 192.168.x.x block) The router does this with some fancy magic, by tagging each request and lieing about it's return port. Your router takes the message your computer sends (Tell IP address X on port Y hte message Z, with a reply address of A and port of B) and changes the return port to something else. Then, when the reply comes in on that port, your router remembers that translation and reverses the change, and forwards it to your specific computer.

Assuming I haven't totally lost you, what port forwarding is is saying that any message coming in on port X should go directly to machine Y. Otherwise, any inbound message that isn't sent in reply to an outbound request you initiated is discarded, because the router has no way of knowing which machine it should go to.

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