The Best Router MTU Settings & Practices For A Smooth Xbox Live Experience

intro6   The Best Router MTU Settings & Practices For A Smooth Xbox Live ExperienceXbox Live is Microsoft’s premium online content delivery and multiplayer gaming service for the Xbox 360. Whilst it’s free to join for a basic account, a subscription opens up the world of online play and exclusive content – when it works.

If you’ve recently signed up for a paid Xbox Live account and are unable to connect, experiencing severe lag or an inability to play online at all then your MTU settings may be affecting performance.

Whilst you can tweak this value in your router, the issue may be caused by a number of possibilities which we’re going to explore here.

The Best MTU Settings for Xbox Live

MTU stands for Maximum Transmission Unit, and it is a value set on your router. Chances are you’ve never had to mess around with it before, and much of the time an Xbox Live MTU error reveals (on closer inspection) nothing wrong with your configuration whatsoever.

This is naturally, quite perplexing. Your router’s MTU value stipulates the largest possible chunk of data (in bytes) your router can transfer outwards, to the big bad internet. If this value is below 1364 your Xbox 360 console will not be able to even connect to the Xbox Live service. If yours is below this, then you’ll want to change it to a value above this number.

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On the other hand, 1500 is the largest value allowed by Ethernet at the network layer so increasing the value beyond this will benefit very few, especially those on already-wired connections.

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You can access your router preferences (in most cases) by visiting routerlogin.net. The website should automatically point you to your router’s login page where you can login with the credentials you have used in the past. If this website isn’t working for you consult your manual or try searching for your manufacturer’s defaults.

Once you’ve logged in, you’ll probably find your MTU settings can be changed in your Internet or WAN settings (it was under Advanced on my Netgear DGN2200). If you’ve had to change the setting from a lower number you might find your issues have disappeared, if your MTU settings were already fine then there’s a couple of other possibilities to explore.

Full Power Reset

Your MTU rate can be affected by your internet service provider (ISP) experiencing temporary issues. If this is the case then your MTU woes will probably alleviate with time, though you can try resetting your equipment to see if the blockage clears.

You’ll need to do a full power-off, make yourself a cup of tea and then power-on a few minutes later. If you’re still having problems then it may be wise to check your ISP service status or give them a call.

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It might be wise to remove all devices from your network except the Xbox 360. If your MTU configuration works, add each additional network device one by one until you discover the source of the problem.

Wireless Issues

A poor wireless signal can also be the cause of MTU-related issues. If you’re using a 360 with a wireless adapter then you might need to optimize your setup to get the most out of your hardware. Poor wireless reception will result in poor transfer speeds between your console and the router, potentially limiting the MTU rate.

You can instruct your console to test your network connection (with signal strength indicator) under System Settings.You can also test whether your wireless causing the issue is to connect directly via Ethernet. A really long Ethernet cable is handy at this stage, for obvious reasons.

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Poor wireless performance is often caused by interference from other household devices and items. Try moving your router off the floor (if it is positioned so) and away from too much metal (desks, filing cabinets and so on). If possible reducing the distance between your console and the router should help your strength and speed.

The usual wireless troubleshooting moves will all work here. Turning on and off other wireless devices (cordless phones, Bluetooth) and changing the channel your particular network uses can all potentially improve your network speed. If you’re using an old wireless adapter (up to 54Mbps) then a new wireless-n (up to 300Mbps) adapter should help (even a third party one), provided your router supports the new high-speed standard.

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Port Forwarding

Whilst unlikely on newer routers, there’s a chance you’ll need to open some ports in order to communicate with the Xbox Live servers. If you’re experiencing an MTU issue in some sort of dormitory or shared internet connection then this may very well be the cause.

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If you’re able to access your router admin interface (again, routerlogin.net) the ports you will want to forward are as follows: 88 (UDP), 3074 (UDP and TCP), 53 (UDP and TCP) and 80 (TCP).

Finally

If you’re still having problems after checking your preferences, trying an Ethernet connection, re-arranging your house and network hardware and giving your ISP a good grilling you might want to consider the possibility that your router is dying.

If possible test a spare (working) router before making the purchase, just to be sure. Good luck and happy gaming!

Have you had any Xbox Live issues? Are your MTU settings stressing you out? Let us know in the comments.

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8 Comments -

Jon

Does anyone really have a router that doesn’t use a MTU of 1500 by default?

Barrie McNaught

don’t think so i just checked my settings and they were 1500 i didn’t even know the option was there lol

Tim Brookes

As you can see from the screenshot, mine was (and still is, no problems) set to 1458.

Doug

Save yourself all of the time configuring and toying around with things and get an Apple Airport Extreme. It’s the absolute best thing I’ve ever done for both my XBox live connection and my overall Internet experience. I know 3 other people with the same router and they say the same thing. After trying 3 other routers before and returning them, I settled on the Airport and it’s been a workhorse for 2 years now. They’re a little pricier but worth every penny.

Schvenn

You had me until you said “You can access your router preferences (in most cases) by visiting routerlogin.net.” which is a completely inaccurate statement. NetGear is a non-contender in the router market. Linksys and D-Link are the big two. To make a statement based on what the author probably uses for their personal router without looking at what the numbers tell you is a very bad idea. Using http://192.168.1.1 and http://192.168.0.1 on your home network will gain you access to the overwhelming majority of routers in North America, let alone world-wide. Of course, there are others, but there’s no question who dominates the market and it certainly isn’t NetGear.

Schvenn

You had me until you said “You can access your router preferences (in most cases) by visiting routerlogin.net.” which is a completely inaccurate statement. NetGear is a non-contender in the router market. Linksys and D-Link are the big two. To make a statement based on what the author probably uses for their personal router without looking at what the numbers tell you is a very bad idea. Using http://192.168.1.1 and http://192.168.0.1 on your home network will gain you access to the overwhelming majority of routers in North America, let alone world-wide. Of course, there are others, but there’s no question who dominates the market and it certainly isn’t NetGear.

Dean

I don’t care who dominates. I just want a router that provides reliable service and pulls in at whatever speed the ISP and the server in the cloud will allow. I can say that my newly purchased D-Link Dir-615 (HW ver. C1) is painfully slow. My old D-Link router was much faster. Argh! I was getting 19 Mbps, now it’s 5 Mbps at best.

Schvenn Meister

That does not sound like a router problem.

However, upgrade it to the latest firmware, reset it to factory defaults and reconfigure it. Also, look for unfamiliar MAC addresses in the DHCP table. You might have someone piggy-backing.

Either that, or you probably have some malware hiding on a computer/device about which you’re unaware. Run MalwareBytes Anti-Malware and SuperAntiSpyware, both in Safe Mode on all your Windows systems and see if they find anything.