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My schools internet network seems to block a few ports making me get kicked off of online steam games pretty quickly. I have a list of those ports, but it states:

Note: Many university networks and proxies block required ports for Steam operation - please consult your network administrator to ensure the required ports are open if you are using a university network or a proxy. Ports required for Steam can not be re-mapped to HTTP or reconfigured to a custom port range.

Is it really impossible to reconfigure the ports? My school will not unblock them and it really makes me unable to play all steam games

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2  
I'm thinking that not taking Steam's tech support at face value will devolve into ugly (and questionable) hacks. –  Frank Jul 27 '12 at 16:57
    
You should be studying instead of playing games :P –  Samjus Jul 27 '12 at 17:12
5  
lol don't worry, in class right now. totally learning things –  TMP Jul 27 '12 at 17:14

3 Answers 3

up vote 2 down vote accepted

If you use a Virtual Private Network (VPN), then all of your traffic will appear as SSH traffic rather than Steam traffic and therefore will not be blocked (assuming your network doesn't block VPN traffic). You will probably have to pay for a VPN though as any free ones would probably not have enough bandwidth or be fast enough for Steam games.

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The OP might be able to set up a private vpn to their parent's house. The bandwidth might even be OK, depending on the University. The latency (lag) might be the deciding factor for FPS gaming. The Mars Orbiter has a 6Mbit connect AFACT, but the latency is about 30 minutes –  horatio Jul 27 '12 at 17:14
    
How does this work exactly? How do I remap ports? or does it just take all my outgoing stuff and changes it? –  TMP Jul 27 '12 at 17:15
    
You run a VPN program, it tunnels your entire connection through to another machine. Once you are running the VPN client, as far as your machine is concerned you are directly connected to the internet via the target machine, as if you were plugged into it by ethernet cable. As far as your local sysadmins are concerned, you are just running an SSH tunnel. Its functionally equivalent to doing the ssh -LPORT:dest:port thing then connecting individual programs to local host, but does all your traffic and easier to configure. –  Nick Jul 27 '12 at 17:25
    
Would you require another machine or is the other machine through a service that I may have to pay for? –  TMP Jul 27 '12 at 22:54
    
These are the 2 options. –  kotekzot Jul 28 '12 at 13:09

A VPN does work, but you will probably have trouble tunneling over SSH as noted above. SSH tunneling tends to take a local port (attached to 127.0.0.1, .2, etc) and map it to a remote server. Unfortunately, Steam won't know about the local ports and will continue to try and use the external IP address, which the university has blocked. SSH is great for tunneling TCP connections where you get to control the endpoints, but not so good for applications that don't grant you that control.

However, I can confirm that a VPN that is configured to forward all traffic through the VPN will get Steam working through university firewalls. As for the VPN that you choose, I've had the best luck with SSL VPN using DTLS. The use of UDP with DTLS lowers latency, making games play much better. However, any VPN that can tunnel all application traffic will work -- IPSec, PPTP, etc. It's important that the university doesn't block the VPN traffic though, which is another reason that SSL VPN is attractive -- it runs over port 443, the same port used by HTTPS and not likely to be blocked.

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I would think that required ports being blocked would prevent you from playing to begin with. It sounds like you're saying you are able to start playing and then at some point thereafter you start to have problems.

To check for sure whether any outbound ports are blocked try running the Steam test on IsMyPortBlocked.

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Some of the more sophisticated network shaping/monitoring setups don't use port blocking, instead inspecting the packets and killing them if they're of a restricted content type. That sounds more like what's going on, since it only dies after working for a little bit. –  SevenSidedDie Aug 14 '13 at 21:42

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