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What You Need to Use Port Forwarding

Port forwarding requires a couple of things to be in place to function properly. First, SSH access must be enabled on the computer that you are connecting to, and the computer must support SSH version2 (which Mac OS X does). Enabling SSH can be done easily in Mac OS X by enabling Remote Login in the Sharing pane in System Preferences (Remote Login actually means SSH).

Second, you must have a user account on the remote computer that supports SSH. By default, all used accounts created on Mac OS X computers support SSH access. However, accounts created under Mac OS X Server or those on non-Mac OS X computers do not always come with SSH access. Also, it is possible to disable SSH access for individual users under Mac OS X.

Finally, if you are using port forwarding to connect to a computer that is behind a firewall or that is providing firewall services (either for itself or an entire network), you will need to have at least one nonstandard port available that you can use to forward data through. The exact configuration of the firewall could vary widely and you might have access to more than one usable port, but at least one port that is not used for other types of traffic is required. This is true even of Mac OS X’s built-in firewall.

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