How to use multiple xbox one consoles in a network

Last week, we bought a second xbox one console to our home so both me and my son could play Destiny together. That’s a great game by the way, I would say it’s worth to buy a xbox one just for that game alone.
Playing the game worked fine, but when we tried to use Voice Chat. We are in different part of the castle, ehhh mansion, ok…house! I’m upstairs in my cave and he’s downstairs in his lair and to not make the wife crazy with yelling to each other, we are forced to use xbox party chat.  Voice chat worked for a while and then stopped. Reforming the party made it work again for a couple of minutes and then the voice part stopped working. A bit annoying as it always worked until it was about time for a boss fight, so not really time to start fiddling with the party settings at that time.

We had not had this issue with our xbox 360 consoles, so something was different with Live on xbox one in regards to networking. A quick check on internet showed that this was a common problem from a lot of people trying to use two or more xboxes on the same network. With as usual, a million different ways to eventually solve it, including standing on your head and count to ten while you eat a raw egg which had solve it for some dude, or not.

First of all, the problem is NAT.
You only have one external internet address, that you got from your ISP. So all devices on the inside shares that external ip when they access internet through your modem or router (depending if you use ADSL or Fiber).
When two xboxes tries to talk to each other they use specific ports to do that on. And if those ports are not open, they can’t communicate. Also, one port can only be used by one xbox at a time. On the xboxes, open Settings and then Network, it will show you what kind of NAT settings the xbox has detected.
NAT: Open is the best one and you should be good to go!
NAT: Moderate  is quite good and will work in most cases.
NAT: Strict will give you headache, that’s what we had on both xboxes.

As mentioned above, xbox live uses specific ports (plus games use their owns too) and those ports needs to be opened and forwarded to your xbox. Well, Port Forwarding works fine when you have just one xbox. Because you can’t forward the same port to two destinations, it’s a 1-to-1 relationship. If you do setup Port Forwarding, you may get one of the xboxes to work fine, but the other will have issues with voice chat and playing games with others.

The solution to the whole problem is to use something called UPnP.

Universal Plug and Play (UPnP) is a set of networking protocols that permits networked devices, such as personal computers, printers, Internet gateways, Wi-Fi access points and mobile devices to seamlessly discover each other’s presence on the network and establish functional network services for data sharing, communications, and entertainment. UPnP is intended primarily for residential networks without enterprise-class devices.

I wish things were that easy….
UPnP will let the console and other devices ask the router to open specific ports for them, something like;
– Hi mr router, I’m xbox1 on IP address 192.168.0.100 could you send everything on port 12345/TCP to me please.
– Sure xbox1, that port is not in use so I will send everything on port 12345/TCP to 192.168.0.100.
– Thanks!

For that to work, the router has to have support for UPnP, which most network devices you use at home does have support for. Though, I’ll get back to some limitations with that in just a bit.
Obviously, UPnP has to be enabled in the router settings. upnp1On my Cisco Linksys E4200 it’s done in the Administration and then Management page. But it could of course be in other places too, I think one of the more common places is around “Application & Gaming” settings.

On my previous router, to get UPnP to work, it was the one who had to handle all IP-addresses. When my other DHCP server offered IP-addresses, or a computer had a static IP it couldn’t use UPnP.
I guess that’s not an issue in most residential environments, it’s just myself and my fellow geeks who use another DHCP server at home who runs into issues like that.
Though in the solution I’ll describe below that’s not a requirement anymore. I could see how my computer with a static IP-address made some UPnP mappings.

I had enabled UPnP in our router in the past so it was enabled, and we didn’t have any port forwarding conflicting with the xbox live ports. But were still getting NAT: Restricted on both xboxes. A bit of searching on internet revealed that there seems to be a lot of routers with a poor implementation of UPnP which makes them unfit for this.
I guess my Linksys is one of those. As it worked fine with xbox 360 but not with xbox one.
I did find some poorly maintained list with routers that others had confirmed works with multiple xboxes, in case you want to see what they say about your model or want to make sure the new on you are looking at will work, have a look here.

One additional thing you may want to look into. I’ve not confirmed this myself at the time of writing. But it seems that your xbox only does the UPnP request for some of the needed ports upon start, and the rest later on when needed. So if you have power setting: connected standby (fast boot) it will not re-open those ports when it wakes. Our boxes are in the power save state, so it’s not an issue for us. And I hope Microsoft fixes that issue if it’s for real.
Some routers have support for showing the UPnP Port mappings so you can verify that it’s working, mine did not.

Anyway, to sum it up.
To use just one console in the network it’s possible to use either UPnP or manual Port forwarding of all the necessary ports to your consoles IP-address.
But if you have two consoles or more you will have to use UPnP (and remove any of the previous port forwarding rules you have in place that can conflict). Make sure your router has full UPnP support, and see if the issue still exist if you use power save mode.

If you still have a problem, these are of your options, and what I did:
Buy a new router which you confirm before that it has support for multiple xboxes. Search internet for the make and model (and version, v2 etc) and see if others have confirmed it works. Don’t ask the sales guy!

Upgrade your current router with a third-party firmware. For example, it’s possible to “rebrand” my Linksys E4200 router with the DD-WRT firmware to get new features, functionality and hopefully working UPnP.
It might sound scary and it’s nothing I would recommend my grandma to do, but if you just follow the instructions carefully it’s not that hard. Though if you don’t follow the instructions, you may end up with a dead (bricked) router so be careful.
To find out if you can upgrade your router, just use the DD-WRT Router Database here.
If your router is not supported by DD-WRT, it’s also possible to use a similar firmware from other projects called Tomato or Open-WRT.

In my case, I didn’t want to fiddle with the Cisco Linksys router. So I looked into upgrading our old Netgear WNR2000 (v1) which turned out was not supported by DD-WRT.
But I found out it’s possible to setup a virtual DD-WRT to replace the Cisco box! Which is exactly what I did. More on that in the next blog post, called: How to setup a DD-WRT Router with Hyper-V.

29 thoughts on “How to use multiple xbox one consoles in a network

  1. Too much fluff… I appreciate a background so I can understand the inner workings but you really need to just make a spot that lists the steps to the fix without any fillers.

  2. Great write up!

    I just wanted to mention just in case others come here with issues. That I use Uverse and have an older “Residential Gateway” from them. This gateway has a built in router, however it does not support Upnp. :-(.

    It does however let you put one device in the DMZ ( basically removing it from the fire wall ). So I unplugged all the network devices from the gateway and plugged in a router I bought and plugged all the other network devices into that router. I then went to the gateway and put that router in the DMZ and set that router up with Upnp and everything worked.. :-)

  3. Going to suggest you also do DHCP-baed static IPs internally on your LAN for the two X-Boxes, which may help keep the UPNP port mappings to stay correct longer.

  4. I appreciated the fluff. Thank you for spelling out the whole scenario. It made it easier to connect the dots.

  5. Thanks for this article! We just bought an Xbox One for the family and I would like to have a second console so I can play with my son as well. I will follow this tutorial if needed…Would we need to own two copies of the same game to be able to play together?

  6. Thank you! I’ve been chasing issues for a few weeks and after reading this it really helped me understand the issue more clearly.

  7. Same issue – recently purchased second xbox one to play Desstiny with my son. Worked fine for a few weeks, now one unit is fine & the other won’t even connect. We have an Apple Extreme router, with Comcast as our ISP.

    Can’t flash the router per your write-up, but open to replacing if necessary (already dropped $ on a second xbox, might as well spend a little more to make sure this works)

    Is there a way to make this work with the Apple router, or should I try something else?

  8. Sorry, I’ve got no experience with the Apple Router so I can’t tell. Though it’s strange it was working for a time and now not at all.
    I would check if there is a new firmware for the Apple Router, else look into buying another one or if you are a techie then make a virtual router as I described in my other blogpost.

  9. Excellent article. Just got a new ADSL router/modem – apparently does 802.11 ac – from my ISP as the old one died. But, unlike the old one it really hates our two Xbox 360s and voice comms are dreadful – NAT this, NAT that. Yours is the best explanation I’ve found in a week of searching and hair pulling: now I know what to ask my ISP and also I can go research suitable 3rd party router/modems as a possible alternative to the ISP freebie. Stupid question (probably) but could you run two different ISP connections (modems etc) off one telephone line as an extreme option to resolve the problem?

  10. Thank you. As far as I know it’s not possible to use two different ADSL connections on the same telephone line. You will need two lines into your house to do that.

  11. Dont have to have 2 copies of the game if you purchase the digital copy.
    Have one xbox as your home xbox. this will be the one your kid plays on.
    As long as you are “home” on that box he can play any game on it without logging you in.

    on the box you play in simply sign in with your gamertag. this gives you rights to the game as well. if you get logged in on your kids xbox it will log you off of yours.

    Now just purchase one copy on either box under your gamertag and both boxes have access to it. I play destiny with my son doing this. xbox knows and says it is an ok practice.

  12. Hey Marcus. I setup yesterday the DMZ for the xbox one, and got finally open nat. Then today when I was playing it went to STRICT back. Even my wife was rejected from Destiny. The stupid DD-WRT on my Linksys1200 is not doing the “clear port at startup from the uPNP”. I still saw there when checking the port 3074 from my x360, that was running yesterday! (and I powered off the router at night). Any suggestion is welcome (I tried method 1 and 3 without success, that is why I went to #2 and successful – but only yesterday). This is a nightmare.

  13. Hi Markus. I don’t see on your list of routers, the router I currently have. I have an Asus RT-AC87R model. I called Asus and a man said this router doesn’t support multiple gaming consoles. I called again a few days later and a woman said it does. I really don’t know what to make of it. Any feedback out there would help. I know this router has UPnP capabilities but not sure how ‘good’ it is… Please advise.

  14. Hi Betty,
    I personally don’t have any experience with that router but I did some digging and it seems that people are unfortunately having issues with using multiple consoles with it. The UPNP implementation by Asus has some room for improvement.

  15. This is my problem.. We have Att and their router and I don’t have access to it. So I call and try to get them to fix and they say my only solution is to buy a static IP address (this is after they forced me to sign up for the 12 months of tech support.) I do t know what I’m doing and I have no id a what else to do. But my hubby and I just want to play destiny on my Xbox one and his shiny new Xbox one and we can’t. Bah doublebah two hours on the phone and then transferred and of course that part is closed. Happy Labor Day.

  16. First, thank you for the write up, I followed this a while back when I was first having issues. I am also hoping to answer a few questions for those with multiple Xbox systems and not wanting to purchase the same game over and over.

    First imagine you’re original in your name convention and you have XBOX1 and XBOX2

    When you first download a game, that game is licensed to that system + the person who downloaded it. So if you download a game to XBOX1 anyone who plays on that system, whether the ‘original down-loader’ is logged in or not.

    Now since you want to play that game with that other person, you can go down to XBOX2 and download the game to it, while again, logged in as the person who bought the game – it won’t have you buy it again, it will ask if you want to download it. To save time and download GBs from your ISP, if you use an external HD on XBOX1 you can go to XBOX2 with the HD and copy it to it.

    Now on XBOX2 that game is ONLY LICENSED TO THE PERSON WHO ORIGINALLY BOUGHT GAME – so if any other person tries to play it while you are not signed in, they won’t be able to and will be asked to purchase the game.

    Now you can play that one game at the same time on 2 Xbox consoles – this works with Xbox One and Xbox 360.

    I hope I have explained this properly, I do this at home, and have a few other friends with kids who also do this, so I know it works – it’s not a crack or anything – it’s just how it works, and I hope MS continues this process – and even better would be if the internal network address were detected so that families with 3 or 4 XBOX systems wouldn’t have to buy extra copies for a family to enjoy.

    Side not for LORI – you should see if you can get your ATT modem bridged – this way it acts as a single address coming into your home and then go purchase your won router that you can manipulate to work with your situation. I have SHAW in BC, Canada and had the same issue – I did not buy another Static address, I already owned the Dlink Gamer Lounge router that has worked for me for years now, and I have 2 Xbox Ones, 2 Xbox 360s and mulitple other things going on all at once with no issues (knock on virtual wood).

    Good luck everyone!

    Lt Rabid Piglet

  17. Thanks Rabid Piglet for sharing that. I had heard it should work to share games, but didnt know the details and how.
    Very appreciated!

  18. No you do not need two copies of the games. Recover you account on your sons xbox, set it as your home xbox and then any game you buy digitally will work on both xboxes.

  19. I’ve got 2 xbox ones on the same network. One is wired, the other on wifi. open NAT for both. We can party chat and see each other in games but can’t join each other on squads or teams before a game. Can’t see each other. ANY ideas?

  20. A router that works well is the netgear nighthawk 7000 (with dd-wrt). I currently have 3 xbox one running destiny on it; destiny works fine. my isp is verizon

  21. I have three xbox one on the same network and we are able to join each others games, specially destiny….we can voice chat as well. The key is the router. I use the netgear nighthawk 7000(with dd-wrt). Works perfectly……recently i was getting a “strict” on one of the xbox so i did some research and i was able to resolve it by changing the power option to “power save

  22. The part about quick start. Super helpful! All day ive been confirming that i have what it takes. If that pary hadent been in this thread id still be checking my list pouting over my upnp ports not staying open. Thank you sir.

  23. Starting a class action lawsuit against Microsoft. I have five Xbox One’s and cannot play on the same network. Anyone interested in getting in on the lawsuit you must have more then one console and have had the issues of not being able to game with someone else on the network. Microsoft can fix this issue, they just don’t. I need support, my attorney needs bodies. Thank you.
    David Voelkert. dave@securedalarms.net

  24. I have a Netgear WNDR3700v2 router. It’s connected to an Ubee modem/router combo. I have the wifi disabled on the modem/router combo, and I’m running two PS’4s through the Netgear. One wired, one wireless. The Netgear can be upgraded to DD-WRT. How do I do that? Is there a guide for this? I’m having nat type issues, and it’s beyond frustrating.

  25. Best write up ever! Thank you. I’m having the same, 2 console issue with COD3BO for my sons and I. Been fighting it for a month now. I have a Ubiquity Picostation M2HP (super long range – 1 Watt router), but I can’t figure out how to set up a DMZ for 2 consoles. When I put the static ip of one of my consoles as the DMZ address only one console gives me an Open NAT. Any other ideas about the DMZ would be greatly appreciated. I’m kind of new to this. Will buy a UPnP router.

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