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I'd like it easier for my three minecraft-playing sons to connect to LAN games together, on Laptops, connected via WiFi to our home network. They can directly connect, and have gotten better at it, but sometimes there are tears and they need their dad to come over and help them.

Is it possible to use the built-in feature to advertise games on the LAN and directly connect to them? Is there anything else -- a mod perhaps -- I can do to make it easier for them to connect to each other?


Today, I decided to investigate, firing up Wireshark, Minecraft, and using a nifty python utility to announce and listen for Minecraft games.

Here are my conclusions:

  • Minecraft watches for multicast and broadcast info about LAN games on UDP port 4445.
  • Minecraft announces games using multicast; on my 192.168.0.x network, messages are sent to a multicast group at 224.0.2.60
  • Multicast messages do not go from one WiFi device to another -- but broadcast ones (to, ex 255.255.255.255) do
  • Multicast and broadcast messages are received by devices hard-wired in to the LAN

I did look at my home router's settings to see if there was any way to make multicast messages go to WiFi devices, and found nothing. I also looked into minecraft settings to see if there was a way to force it to broadcast, and saw nothing. Also, while the computers in question run fairly current versions of macOS and Windows, I don't believe the issue lies in firewall settings

Is there anything I can do to make it so the built-in LAN game finder works? Is there anything else I can do to simplify connections without requiring the use of the 'Direct Connect' button?

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    Nice work on your research for this question, you've certainly done a lot more troubleshooting than most do. Have you tried looking at this question: Why isn't my Minecraft LAN server working? – angussidney Feb 26 '17 at 0:38
  • I do believe I've looked over that Q and As and other similar ones. It has some good answers, and, while I haven't been able to conclusively rule out Firewalls and Router Rules, I have followed all the other instructions in the answer and am left with doing the Direct Connections, which I am expressly trying to avoid. I will see what I can do to rule those two points out another day. – Clinton Blackmore Feb 26 '17 at 7:17
  • Might I ask, though, to any who stumble across this question: are other people able to make the LAN announcement feature work over WiFi, or do most people face the same problem I do? – Clinton Blackmore Feb 26 '17 at 7:17
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    Occasionally I can get it to work over WiFi, but that only seems to work rarely and even then only on certain computers. Most of the time I simply use direct connect. Maybe it's worth re-iterating how to use direct connect with them or writing up a list of steps? – angussidney Feb 26 '17 at 9:34
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    On my network I haven't even bothered to use the built-in LAN feature, as I've found it to be rather buggy as already stated. I would suggest setting up static local IPs for the machines that may be hosting servers, and you can use the then-constant local IP in the Add Server section, the same as adding an online server. This way you don't need to deal with finding the current local IP as it will always be 192.168.0.200 etc. – rivermont - Will B. Mar 24 '17 at 16:08
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If you have an 'unused' PC sitting around somewhere (doesn't everyone?) you could turn it into a Minecraft Server on your local network. Alternatively if you have a 'beefy' (lots of ram and a speedy processor) PC which is being used (and it on during the times your sons want to play) you could do the same.

Generally you would give the 'Server' a name on your network. You then install the server version of Minecraft, launch it to generate a world, and you are good to go. If your kids have a world they already want to use, you have to copy it to the server minecraft folder with the same name as the world. You then modify the server property file to point to that world.

The boys would then be able to connect to the server just like an 'outside' server. If your server was called 'WINSLOW' and the port is 25565 (the default) they would use WINSLOW:2565 in the connection to get to it. You may have to do some wizardry with your router/firewall but that would depend upon what you have set up on your network.

There are a variety of programs you can use to administer the server.

There are many tutorials on setting up a server available via a Google search. Here is one.

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