How to Enable UPnP on a Router

Simplify network configurations with Universal Plug and Play

What to Know

  • Most routers have it switched on by default.
  • Look in Advanced, Admin, or Network settings on your router's web interface.
  • We recommend forwarding ports manually instead.

This article explains how to turn on UPnP on your router, whether you use NETGEAR, Linksys, D-Link, HUAWEI, ASUS, TP-Link, Google Nest Wifi, or Google Fiber.

How to Use UPnP on a Router

How you activate UPnP depends on the router you have. The first step is the same for most router brands: log in as an admin.

What follows depends on your specific router:

If you don't see your router brand below, you can most likely tweak these instructions a bit to make them work, since most routers keep the UPnP setting in a similar place.

NETGEAR

  1. Go to ADVANCED > Advanced Setup > UPnP.

    To log in, use the default NETGEAR password list..

  2. Select the check box next to Turn UPnP On.

    Netgear UPnP settings
  3. Specify the two options that are shown:

    • Advertisement Period: Type the advertisement period in minutes, from 1 to 1440 (24 hours). This determines how often the router broadcasts its UPnP information. The default period is 30 minutes. Choose a shorter duration to better guarantee that control points receive current device status, or pick a longer duration to reduce network traffic.
    • Advertisement Time to Live: Type the advertisement time to live in hops/steps, from 1 to 255. The default value is 4 hops. Increase this value if devices aren't being communicated with correctly.
  4. Select Apply.

Some NETGEAR routers, such as the Nighthawk M1, store the UPnP option elsewhere. Find Advanced Settings > Other, and then a box you can check from the UPnP section.

NETGEAR Nighthawk M1 UPnP option

Linksys

  1. Choose Administration from the top. On some models, you have to select the settings/gear icon from the left menu first.

    See the Linksys Default Password List if you don't know the IP address or login details.

  2. Select the radio button next to Enable or Enabled, on the UPnP line. If you don't see it, confirm you're in the Management submenu.

    Linksys upnp settings
  3. Choose OK or Save Settings. If you don't see one of those options, manually reboot the router.

D-Link

  1. Open the ADVANCED tab at the top.

  2. Choose ADVANCED NETWORK from the left side, or UPNP SETTING if that's what you see instead.

  3. From the UPNP or UPNP SETTINGS area on the right, check the box next to Enable UPnP.

    D-Link DAP-1350 UPNP settings
  4. Select Save Settings.

Following those steps won't work for all D-Link routers. Try this instead: Open the Tools tab, choose Misc. on the left, select Enabled from the UPnP Settings area on the right, and then press Apply, and then Continue (or Yes or OK) to save.

HUAWEI

  1. After signing in to the router, open More Functions from the menu.

  2. Choose Network Settings from the left side, followed by the UPnP submenu.

    HUAWEI upnp settings
  3. Find UPnP on the right side, and select the button next to it to turn it on.

Some HUAWEI routers require different steps to use UPnP. If the above isn't relevant for your device, try one of these directions instead:

  • Go to Security > UPnP, put a check next to UPnP, and select Submit.
  • The setting toggle might instead be in Settings > Security > UPnP Settings.
  • Go to Network Application > UPnP Configuration, check the box next to Enable UPnP, and select Apply.

ASUS

  1. Choose WAN from the Advanced Settings area on the left side of the page.

  2. Make sure you're in the Internet Connection tab, and then select Yes next to Enable UPnP.

    ASUS WAN router settings

    On some routers, you're looking for the UPnP tab on this step; select Enable from that page.

    ASUS upnp settings
  3. Select Apply.

TP-Link

  1. Navigate to Advanced > NAT Forwarding > UPnP.

    TP-Link upnp settings

    Learn how to find your router's IP address if you're not sure how to log in.

  2. Select the button next to UPnP to turn it on.

If those directions don't apply to your router, try going here: Advanced > Forwarding > UPnP > Enable. Some TP-Link routers don't require you to open Advanced first.

Google Nest Wifi

  1. Tap Wi-Fi from the main page of the Google Home app. You can download the Google Home App from the Google Play store.

  2. Select the settings icon at the top right, and then tap Advanced networking on the following page.

  3. Tap the button next to UPnP.

    Google Wifi upnp setting

Google Fiber

  1. Sign in to Fiber.

  2. Select Network from the menu.

  3. Navigate to Advanced > Ports.

  4. Select the button next to Universal Plug and Play.

    Google Fiber upnp toggle
  5. Press APPLY.

Should I Turn on UPnP on My Router?

UPnP has clear benefits. It speeds up the setup process when using some software and devices, such as gaming consoles. Instead of having to get into the router settings yourself, and enable this and that port so your Xbox can go online, UPnP lets the Xbox communicate with the router directly to make those exceptions.

Universal Plug and Play is also helpful when using printers and other devices which rely on communicating with other devices on your network and the internet. If you use a remote access tool, for example, that functions through specific network ports, you'll need to open those ports to allow the software to work from outside your network; UPnP makes this really simple.

However, malicious software can run their harmful code directly through your network more easily when UPnP is on. A compromised computer could, for example, disguise itself as a printer, and send a UPnP request to your router to open a port. The router will respond accordingly, thus opening a tunnel where the hacker can transfer malware, steal your information, etc.

Allowing the use of specific ports on a whim is handy, but therefore less safe if this mechanism is taken advantage of by an intruder. DDoS attacks are another risk you're opening yourself up to when using UPnP.

If you're concerned about those things, and you're fine giving up convenience for security, there is an alternative: forward ports on your router manually. It's a bit more involved than just ticking a box on your router, but if you're already in your router to check if UPnP is on, you may as well take that opportunity to set up port forwards manually.

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