On more than one occasion, I have found myself wanting to make changes to machines on my home network which required adding a port forward to my router (Airport Extreme Time Capsule in my case). I used to think that I’d just have to wait to get home to use Airport Utility while on my local network and apply the change. Today, I had another such need but I decided to dig in and figure out how it could be done remotely.
It turns out that the solution is actually very simple.
Figure out your router’s address
First of all, you need to target your router from the internet, which requires knowing its address. For most people, this will mean needing to know the IP address. The trouble is that unless you paid extra for a static IP address from your cable company, the chances are that it is a dynamic IP address and will change often. Nonetheless, if you know the IP address, or can bug someone at home to get it for you, that’s enough.
The other way of doing this is by using a Dynamic DNS services. Dynamic DNS services regularly check what your home network’s public IP address is and relay that to the service’s servers, which in turn create a CNAME for your home network. What this means is that you end up with a URL that you can use instead, and it gets updated with the correct IP address, even if your ISP changes it on you.
Connect to your Airport remotely
That address, along with your base station’s password are all you need to remotely access your Airport. I have personally tried this using the macOS Airport Utility, but from a little research online, I understand that it is also available on the Windows app, but not the iOS app.
Open Airport Utility, click on File > Configure Other where you’ll be prompted for an address and a password. The address is the IP address or CNAME that we discussed above and the password is your base station password. Bear in mind that your base station password is different from your wireless password: it’s the password that lets you make changes to your Airport.
Once you’ve done that, you’re in and you can modify your Airport configuration just as if you were at home.
One final note: this will only work if you have enabled the setting “Allow setup over WAN” on your Airport.