Firewall & chatroom

  Roadgiant 18:00 30 Mar 2003

I wonder if anyone can help me? I have 2 PCs connected on a home network via x/over cables to allow both to access the net via modem in one of them.
On my newer Pc with Win Xp installed I am using ZoneAlarm Pro,on the older Pc with W98 I am using ZonAlarm free version.
I would like to be able to use a chatroom on one of the EZboard sites, accesing from the W98 machine is no problem, but when I access the chatroom from the Xp machine I am shown as the only user, and can only see my posts, even though on the W98 machine all posts and users are showing.
I think it must be some setting on ZoneAlarm Pro that needs changing to allow use, if I turn ZA Pro off (which I obviously don't want to) I then have the full access and view of the chatroom.
I would appreciate it if someome could advise me on this, hope I have managed to explain everything clearly, thanks in advance.

  jazzypop 20:09 30 Mar 2003

The chatroom must require specific ports to be opened on one of the three firewalls that you have (ZA, ZAPro, and the ICS).

Look on the FAQ for the chatroom, it should tell you what ports need to be forwarded to the XP PC - if not contact the forum moderator.

Once you know which ports they are, they will need to be opened / enabled / forwarded on each firewall.

If you are not sure how to do this, ZA have good advice on their site, MS have good advice on their site, and Google will find good and bad advice from any site.

If you are not sure what a 'port' is in this context, think of it as a little like a radio channel. Your firewall will always let you communicate via port 80, as that is the worldwide standard for Web browsers. However your firewalls are set to block communications on any non-standard ports that your chat software may require, e.g. ports 500 to 510.

Note that once you open up those ports, you have created yet another hole in your computer's defences. Only you can judge whether this is an issue for you.

  Roadgiant 23:36 30 Mar 2003

Thanks for the advice, i think I get the idea. One thing is confusing me is that the W98 machine with ZA free version is able to use the chatroom with no problem, and I have never changed any of the settings.
Does this mean that ZA (free) is a lot weaker than ZA Pro and therefore allowing two way traffic with the chatroom and a lot less protection and leaving the pc vulnerable?
Also would the basic XP firewall offer enough protection on the XP machine that I could turn off ZA Pro when I wanted to use chatroom and keep ZA Pro on at all other times?
Thanks once again for the help.

  jazzypop 21:07 31 Mar 2003

I suspect that the problem is not so much ZA, as the port forwarding within ICS.

The PC that has direct access to the Web directs its traffic to and from the Web directly.

The PC that is connected to the directly-connected PC has to relay any traffic via the ICS gateway on the other PC. If that ICS gateway is not set to forward the correct data packets on the correct ports, the second PC simply cannot communicate.

You may find this link useful for port forwarding (sometimes referred to as port mapping).

  Roadgiant 23:56 31 Mar 2003

Thanks for the reply, for some reason the link isn't showing on your post.
Regarding the connected PC, the XP/ZA Pro machine is the one connecting to the net via its internal modem, and that is the one I am having the problem with.
The other W98/ZA free PC (which is able to use the chatroom properly) connects to the net through the network connection to the XP machine.
Today I turned ZA Pro of but at the same time turned the XP inbuilt firewall on and everything worked fine so at least I am getting some protection although I would be happier if I could keep ZA Pro turned on all the time.
Once again thanks for your help and advice.

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