How to Set Up Your Slingbox to Work with an Ooma Device
Those of you who’ve met me know that I’ve got a little (or a lot) of geekiness within me when it comes to high tech gadgets. Two of my favorite gadgets are the Slingbox (lets you view and control your DVR from wherever you are – or even watch live TV just like you’re sitting on your couch) and the Ooma device (crystal clear FREE local and long distance phone calls using your regular home phones – no phone bills – EVER!)
My VoIP (Voice over IP) phone provider discontinued their service a few months back. I went to Best Buy to purchase a Vonage kit when I discovered Ooma – buy it once and never pay another cent – that sounded like the perfect price to me! The Ooma system works flawlessly and has perfectly clear calls – the only problem is that it blocks you from viewing your Slingbox remotely. I didn’t realize this until I was at my office one day and fired up my SlingPlayer to view a breaking story on Fox News, only to find that my Slingbox wouldn’t connect. Due to how you plug in the Ooma device to ensure voice calls take bandwidth precedence (for clarity – using a technology called QOS), it kills the Slingbox remote viewing ability. Basically, the ethernet line goes from your modem, to the Ooma device, then out to your home router (wired or wireless). I beat my head against the wall for hours trying to set and reset the Slingbox IP address, properly enable port forwarding on my router, calling my internet provider to see if port 5001 (used by the Slingbox) was blocked, etc. Then I remembered the cabling configuration of the Ooma / network / Slingbox and realized that the Ooma device was the culprit which was keeping me from viewing my Slingbox remotely. So, in an effort to help others who may run into this same ordeal, I’ll explain step by step how to make a Slingbox work remotely when you’ve got an Ooma device installed as well. This guide will require some basic network knowledge, but is not difficult if you understand general concepts behind how networks operate.
Let’s set up the Slingbox IP first. To begin, launch your SlingPlayer. Go to the Settings then to the Setup Assistant. Click where it says Setup Internet Viewing. Click where it says to manually configure your network settings (you’ll need to click this on the next page too). Next, click the Change button and input the IP address on your local network you’d like to use for your Slingbox. In my case, I use 192.168.2.200 (I know 200 is high enough that no other devices will automatically try to use with DHCP). I prefer using a static (pre-set) IP address like this rather than DHCP so that I’ll always have your port forwarding set correctly on my router (we’ll do that later). With DHCP, say you have a power failure – once your router comes back online, your home system grabs an address (xxx.xxx.xxx.1), then your laptop (xxx.xxx.xxx.2), then your Slingbox (xxx.xxx.xxx.3). After another power failure, let’s say that first your laptop grabs one (xxx.xxx.xxx.1), then your Slingbox (xxx.xxx.xxx.2), then your home system (xxx.xxx.xxx.3). Basically, without a static IP address set, you never know which device is going to get. That scenario can make your port forwarding settings on your router not work for your Slingbox anymore. If you don’t know what I’m talking about with all of these techno terms, don’t worry – just set your address to some number like (xxx.xxx.xxx.200) – or in my case, 192.168.2.200 like I specified above – it will work – trust me!
Okay, we’re all done setting up the Slingbox IP address. Now let’s set up your router to properly forward traffic to your Slingbox. Go to your router’s setup screen using your web brower (usually https://192.168.123.1, https://192.168.123.254, or https://192.168.2.1 – check your owners manual for this address). Once you’re in there, go to the area where you can set up what’s typically called Virtual Servers or Port Forwarding. Set up Port 5001 (the Slingbox port) to redirect to whatever IP address you set for your Slingbox (in my case, 192.168.2.200). In case your router asks, the port type to forward is TCP. Save these settings – you may need to reboot your router for them to take effect. Before we leave the router screen, find the general status page where it shows all of your internet settings. Somewhere on this page, you’ll find a WAN IP address – copy down this number – you’ll need it in just a minute! I won’t reveal my WAN IP here, but it’s in standard IP address format of (xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx) – I’ll use (100.100.100.30 for this example). This is actually the address the Ooma device has assigned to my home network router.
Your router is now all set and ready to go. Time to do the final step – settting up port forwarding on your Oooma device. In your internet browser, go to https://setup.ooma.com. Click on Advanced and scroll down the page to where it says port forwarding, click Add New Rule. Where it says Start Port, type in 5001 (the Slingbox port). The type is TCP. Where it says forward to IP Address, type in the WAN IP address you wrote down from your router internet settings page (100.100.100.30 from my example above). Click Add Rule and you’re all set!
Now, double check your settings by reviewing this document and making sure they all are set exactly like I’ve specified. Then, head to your office or your favorite coffee shop and fire up your SlingPlayer. Presto! It should connect and your laptop or desktop will be streaming live (or DVR) content from your home Slingbox.
While it took me quite a bit of time to diagnose the problem and figure out the solution, in reality, making these setting changes to make your SlingPlayer connect to your Slingbox remotely should only take a minute or two. In essence, all that you’re doing is telling the Ooma unit to forward incoming Slingbox traffic (port 5001) to your home router (100.100.100.30). You’re then telling your home router (100.100.100.30) to forward the Slingbox traffic (port 5001) to your Slingbox (192.168.2.200). The tricky part of figuring this out was the basic premise that when thinking about a network, we usually think that all the locally connected devices are on the the same local subnet (such as 192.168.2.xxx or 192.168.123.xxx) – but Oooma changes the game – it creates a network within a network with two different IP address ranges. That was the issue that was originally causing me all the headaches until I pieced everything together in my mind to develop this solution.
I hope that this document helps others who find themselves in the same prediciment that I ran into when setting up the Ooma and Slingbox to work together. I’ve tried to make this as straightforward as possible, but unfortunately, there’s no real good way to make networking discussions “simple”. So, if this is way over your head, find a local college student or technie neighbor, buy them dinner and give them a printout of these instructions. As of the writing of this blog post, neither Slingbox nor Ooma has posted these setup instructions in their tech support areas (which surprises me), so you can save yourself the trouble from even looking for them by just following my instructions above. Hopefully, Google will index this page quickly so others are able to find it and save themselves headaches as well.
Enjoy using your Slingbox and your Ooma – working together in harmony at last!
Johnnyabout 14 years ago
Thanks so much for this. I was going nuts trying to figure this out. Ooma, slingbox and netgear support offered nothing. I'm also having a problem with utorrent and ooma and this sounds like a possible solution for that too!Reply
Jeremyabout 14 years ago
Is internet IP the same as WAN IP? I am doing all of this, and still can't get it to work.Reply
Olinabout 14 years ago
Brad - Great tip. I had already dealt with the DHCP reassignment issue, but the instructions on how to set up port forwarding were dead on! Thanks.Reply
Aaronabout 14 years ago
Well the networking gods must like you then, because I have opened the ports on my Ooma box for my slingbox, and I cannot get it to work, I also put my router in the DMZ and it is still blocking my slingbox. Once I move my ooma box to a port on my router, then everything works as normal, yet I don't benefit from the QOS of the Ooma box.Reply
MissFBabout 14 years ago
This is GREAT; it fixed my problem. BUT .... If there's a power outage and/or the various components (ooma, router, etc) are reset, will this still work? If I understand correctly, the Ooma assigns an address in the range of .35.10 to .35.160 to the home network router. Let's say that the WAN IP address on the router is .35.108 now, and you set Ooma Port Forwarding for 5001 to 172.27.35.108. After the components are reset, isn't it likely that the router will have a differnt LAN in the range of 10 to 160?Reply
MissFBabout 14 years ago
er .... in the last sentence, I meant ' have a differnt WAN IP address in the range of .35.10 to .35.160.Reply
Alexabout 14 years ago
Thanks a lot! I used this for forwarding my security DVR stream thru Ooma and it works! Thanks again, it would probably took much longer without your guide!Reply
Robabout 13 years ago
You are a genius! Thanks, although I wish I read this before I banged my head against a wall for 2 weeks!!!Reply
Mikeabout 13 years ago
Thanks for this information. I almost contacted Sling to get this setup, but decided to check online for this. It works like a charm outside of my home network. However, I can no longer access the Slingbox on my internal network. Any thoughts on correcting that or would I have to manually change that each time I wanted remote viewing and network viewing?Reply
Rodabout 13 years ago
Thank you, this was great info! I made a lot of changes to my dd-wrt router trying to make my Slingbox work. I then remembered my Ooma sat outside of the network :(. You made it easy, I did set up my Slingbox for a static IP, that was a good tip!Reply
Alanabout 13 years ago
Thanks, this saved me from calling sling tech supportReply
Mikeabout 13 years ago
I am trying to follow these steps but cannot get my Slingplayer to locate my slingbox, so I cannot even proceed with the first step. Do I need to disconnect the Ooma and restart my router so that my slingbox is visible again?Reply
Tedabout 11 years ago
Brad, Nice work! Cheers!Reply
Rodabout 11 years ago
Thank you Brad! I had gone over the manual set up on my D-Link router repeatedly to no avail and when I found your article the light went on. The Ooma Telo is the router and my D-link is a secondary router. My set up of the D-link was right but I was missing a link in the chain. Your instructions are perfect. The key is getting the WAN IP address that the Ooma assigns the D-Link right. Brilliant!Reply
Brad Pierceabout 11 years ago
Rod, Thanks for your nice comment! I'm glad my article helped get you up and running. Things work great when all the settings are done just right so should continue to work well for you. Thanks again!Reply