Active mode and Passive mode

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Active mode and Passive mode

Post  Administrator on Tue May 03, 2011 5:05 am

Active mode and Passive mode are two different connection methods that determine how you connect to other users, in order to download files.

Passive mode is the simplest mode to use and should work under almost all circumstances. This simplicity comes at a price though. Passive mode has limitations in connectivity (passive users cannot connect to other passive users) and also causes strain on hubs as all passive mode communication must go through the hub. This mode is therefore a compatibility mode and should only ever be used if you cannot use active mode.

Active method is the "standard" way of connecting to others but depending on your network topology, it may be difficult to enable. This will be covered in a later section.


The following table shows the differences between the two connection modes.

-------------------------------( Active Mode )-------------------( Passive Mode )
Search requests )--------( Directly to/from other users )----------( Routed via hub )
Search results )----------( Maximum of 10 from each user )-------( Maximum of 5 from each user )
Connection limitations )---( None )-------------------------------( Passive users cannot connect to other Passive users )
Configuration needed )----( Router configuration needed, if one is used )---( None )

Configuring Active mode

Due to the large number of network topologies that exist, giving universal details of how to configure Active mode is difficult. I will therefore describe the three most common topologies and give instructions for them.

Topology A

This consists of a single computer connected directly to the internet via a "modem" (analog, ISDN, DSL, etc) with either a dynamic or static IP address.

This topology generally does not need any configuration other than enabling Active mode in Settings → Connection Settings. DC++ will automatically detect your IP address and use an available port.

If you use a firewall, you may need to choose a particular port for DC++ to use. Pick any free port number between 1024 and 65535 and enter this into Settings → Connection Settings. In your firewall, allow DC++ to accept connections on that port.

Topology B

This consists of a computer as part of a network that accesses the Internet via a router. All computers on the network have static, routable IP addresses. These addresses are publicly accessible and the router is not providing any address translation service such as NAT. This topology is most likely in university/work scenarios.

The active mode configuration for this topology is the same as topology A.

Topology C

This consists of a computer either as a part of a network or by itself, that accesses the Internet via a router or gateway device that has NAT (Network Address Translation) capabilities. NAT is an addressing system that allows a network of computers to exist behind a single IP address. The computers within the network will all have non-routable private IP addresses (addresses of the form 192.168.*.*, 10.*.*.* or 172.[16-31].*.*).

Home networks will most likely be of this type. Some office networks may also use this topology.

Active mode configuration for this topology requires two steps:

● Configuring port forwarding in the router/gateway.
● Configuring the Active mode settings in DC++.

Configuring port forwarding

Unfortunately this process is called different things by different vendors. It can be called port mapping, virtual servers as well as various other similar names. No matter the name though, the concept is the same throughout. The idea is to access the router settings and setting up a rule to ensure that all connections made to a specific port of the router (port number chosen by you) get forwarded to a particular machine on the network. This machine will be the one running DC++.

More detailed instructions for the process and examples for a number of routers can be found here.
Configuring DC++ settings

Under Settings → Connection Settings, active mode needs to be selected. The external IP address needs to be entered. This can be obtained from the router or via a website like Whats My IP Address. A port number also needs to be entered. This is the port that was forwarded in the previous section.


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