WowWee Rovio and Router Configuration for Verizon FIOS Users

I'm posting this up here for my fellow FIOS subscribers, although this could really also serve as an example to anyone trying to set up the proper port forwarding on their router - despite the obvious difference in admin utilities.

*NOTE 12/28/08*

Up until the recent release of the Rovio 5.00b7 two way audio has only worked when the Rovio's internal webserver port was set to 80 (which is its default). Since Verizon blocks port 80 for non-business subscribers it has been impossible to get two way audio working through an external connection prior to the 5.00b7 firmware. If you upgrade to 5.00b7 and follow this tutorial two way audio will work. For those of you who wish to remain on previous firmware versions for the sake of stability you will be able to hear audio when connecting externally to Rovio but you will not be able to send audio using your microphone.

Background on Verizon's FIOS Router

The Verizon standard issue Actiontec MI42WR router can be rather problematic for the simple reason that it's just not a great router.  For those of you who aren't on FIOS, and might wonder why you would continue to use the router, it uses a technology called MoCa that allows set to boxes to get an IP over coax and consequently directory listings and on-demand content rely on this.  There are ways around this, which I'm willing to discuss with anyone who's interested, but there a 99% chance that your FIOS is set up like I just mentioned.

Getting It Set Up

First thing to note about Verizon is that the Actiontec is configured to use port 80 for remote administration. Even if you disable remote administration it doesn't release the port. In fact the only way to release it is to actually change the the primary remote administration port something else regardless of whether its enabled or not. This is somewhat of a hassle to do. Thus, you really need to set your Rovio to a different port, or have an external port forwarded to port 80 on the Rovio if you want to have any hope of accessing it outside of your LAN. I'll only demonstrate the former here. Secondary http (8080) its probably the most appropriate port for the job, but in my case I already have apache running on 8080 so I've just arbitrarily chosen to use port 5000.

Once you've gotten initial access to your Rovio's web based control panel using its default IP, open up the settings. They should look something like this.

Proper Rovio Settings


Setting up a static IP is required in order to set up the port forwarding on the Actiontec router.  I've chosen 192.168.200 here. You'll also see that the Web Port is 5000 instead of 80. Again this can be any port of your choosing so long as it doesn't conflict with another service that already listens on that port.

At this point put in your Rovio's IP address (in this case, to your web browser and test that it's responding on the port of your selection. Currently IE 6.0 and up is the only browser that supports video as well as audio, so this is what you need to test with. Most issues with audio and video not working in IE when connecting from outside of your network are port forwarding issues. If Rovio's audio or video does not work over your LAN then there is probably an issue with the Rovio itself.

Adjusting the Actiontec MI42WR Router

Now, move over to your router. Unless you've changed it the Actiontec admin utility, it can be found at . Go into the firewall settings and select port forwarding. First you need to create an entry for the IP that Rovio is manually configured to use. Then set up the rules to look like exactly like this. Notice that we're forwarding port 554 for the Rovio's RTSP service to communicate on. This is required for video and audio to work in IE after you've installed the ActiveX control. Make sure you hit apply after each screen so the changes are committed.


Now, assuming that you've set up dynamic dns you should be able to connect to the Rovio from an outside network with no problem. While the dynamic dns settings on the Rovio are a nice feature this should really be set up on your router assuming it supports communicating with a DDNS. Alternatively you can download and run a DDNS auto updating utility and run it on a server or some machine that is frequently online. For instruction on setting up dynamic dns with the Actiontec router, see this post.

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eneuf's picture

Thanks for taking the time to share your experience.  I am also running Verizon FIOS w/ the same Actiontec router.  But I cannot get port forwarding to work.  I keep getting a "Connection refused" message when trying to access from outside the firewall.

What DOES work is DMZ aimed to the rovio IP, although I am still experimenting w/ the audio.

 Any thoughts?

marf's picture

DMZ does not need to be on. Make sure you turn off your firewall too, or configure rovio to use one of the ports that your firewall will allow.

marf's picture

The DMZ doesn't have any impact. Recommend that you make sure your firewall is turned off and get it working. I think you can turn your firewall back on if you configure Rovio to use a port that your firewall allows. Some routers will not let you test its external IP from with in the network.