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PSA: Switch Connection Problems? We Wouldn’t Recommend Nintendo’s Network Fix

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Image: Nintendo Life / Gemma Smith

It seems that lots of people have been having connection issues with Splatoon 3 since its launch last week, and that’s caused many to search the internet for any kind of tips or tricks to help them maintain a better internet connection. And this has brought to light a Support Page on Nintendo’s official website that has been around for a while, yet is coming under increasing scrutiny as players attempt to self-fix their Splatoon 3 connection issues.

In the guide linked above, Nintendo advises on how to forward network ports to a Nintendo Switch. Confused already? Don’t worry, we’ll explain (because we absolutely definitely knew all this before writing this article).

Usually, routers only have a small number of specific ports open by default, which allow us to do things such as send emails, access websites, play games online, and all the other things you might want a router to do, with specific ports used for different functions, all to keep things tidy and most importantly, secure.

There are, in fact, over 65,000 ports available for internet use, with many governed by the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority, which designates which numbers are reserved for which specific services.

Still with us? Typically, you may need to open a few specific ones if you’re having trouble playing a game online or access to a specific service. Nintendo’s guide, however, mentions opening ports “1 through 65535,” which essentially means that you need to open up every single UDP port on your router, which is essentially like unlocking your front door.

Doing this would allow traffic from all ports to flow through your router to your Switch console, leaving it (and by extension, your home network) open to potential vulnerabilities, both current and future ones yet to be discovered.

@TarZangief spotted the instructions on how to set up port forwarding from a PC, phone, or tablet, and shared them on Twitter after looking for Splatoon 3 solutions:

On a PC or smart device
1) Access your router’s settings.
2) Locate the Port Forwarding settings. While the location will vary from router to router, it will typically be located in an area titled firewall, virtual server, security, or applications and gaming.
3) When asked for an application name, you can enter any word (Nintendo Switch, etc.)
4) Within the port range, enter the starting port and the ending port to forward. For the Nintendo Switch console, this is port 1 through 65535.
5) Set the protocol as UDP.
6) Enter the IP address you assigned to the console.
7) Check Enable or Apply to turn on this rule.
8) Save the changes to the router.

This isn’t new advice from Nintendo, however. As far back as the Wii, readers on our forums have been discussing Nintendo’s instructions on how to port forward, and they’ve been pretty much the same since at least 2012.

Naturally, Nintendo has also included a “get-out-jail” “don’t-blame-us” disclaimer at the top of the guide:

While Nintendo provides this information for our consumers’ use, it is up to each consumer to determine what security needs they have for their own networks, and to decide how best to configure their network settings to meet those needs.

In our opinion, this approach to port forwarding is potentially dangerous and, at minimum, a security concern and not something we would do ourselves. Nintendo is often criticised for its online services, and this serves as another example of why it has a reputation of being behind the other platforms.

For example, Microsoft has instructions on how to do this for the Xbox One. However, the company lists only the ports that need to be opened for the console, rather than highlighting every single one that exists. For the PlayStation 5, Sony recommends opening a few ports when encountering PS5 error code NW-102417-5, and there are similar instructions for the Vita (RIP, Vita means life and all that). But all of these specify the ports you should try opening rather than all of them.

Shortly after Splatoon 3’s launch, Nintendo confirmed that it was working on a patch that will hopefully fix connectivity issues along with a few other problems:

Have you spotted these instructions before? Are you struggling to get online with Splatoon 3? Let us know down below!




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