7 Replies Latest reply on Jun 1, 2012 12:22 AM by ch0c0halic

    How to open a remote FMDB - a walk though for a newbie.



      I've spent hours and hours searching the forums trying to work out how to open a Filemaker file that is hosted at work, from another remote location (i.e. home) but with little success. I've listed what I've done so far below and if someone would be kind enough to walk me though the process I would be forever grateful. I'm almost there, but I think I'm missing a couple of fundemental steps in the process.



      We are a small business with 3 Apple Mac desktop computers at work. My partner and I have Apple Mac laptop MacBooks. We are using FilemakerPro Advanced 11 and would like to be able to access our FilemakerPro database from home.



      I have a static IP address at work provided by our ISP (Static IP address - 119.224.xx.xx) and a email from our ISP saying that " Your Internal Host IP for port forwarding on the modem will be 192.168.1.xxx and your External Host IP for connecting to will be 119.224.xx.xx"


      My router is a Dynalink RTA1025W with Port Forwarding set at 5003 directed to the Internal Host IP Address as suggested by Portforward.com http://portforward.com/english/routers/port_forwarding/Dynalink/RTA1025W/Access_Remote_PC.htm


      *** this part feels wrong to me??? I've made 2 new port forwarding rules with the same 'Forward to Internal Host IP Address' (119.224.xx.xx) and port number (5003) One was formatted with a TCP Protocol, the other with a UDP Protocol. Shouldn't the 'Forward to Internal Host IP Address' be the IP of the host machine and not the Static IP address??? ***


      Is there a way that I can test if I can access my work network remotely (beyond the success or failure of being able to access my FMDB)?



      The Filemaker File that I want to access is open and hosted on an iMac with the network settings set to… 'Use DHCP with manual address IP Address 192.168.1.XXX' (I think this is the correct setting for creating a static IP address on a host computer)


      Now this is where it goes pear shaped. When I try to "Open Remote" in Filemaker I can't work out what goes where.

      What view should I choose? Favourite, Local or LDAP?

      What do I put into the Network File Path? It gives an example of fmnet:/hostIPAddress/fileName. Would that be in my case… 'static IP address/5003/Internal Host IP Address/fileName?


      I've tried various combinations and I can't get it to work. I keep getting a 'The file path specified is not a valid file'.


      Any help or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

        • 1. Re: How to open a remote FMDB - a walk though for a newbie.

          You can check to see if you can see the server remotely using the create Favorite host function.


          Put the ONLY the IP address of your external server in the ip address for the Favorite Host - the port forwarding should be sending any external calls to the server.


          If the path is valid, clicking on the host in the favorite column will put fmnet:/119.224.xx.xx/ in the path and you should be able to see the files on the server.


          If you don't see the files, you can then try manually typing in the file name at the end of the path:



          You shouldnt get an invalid file path message then - but you might get "the host is not available or the file is not available on the host" or some other error message if you are missing something in your setup and it can take a while before you get any message as FM tries to connect.


          Try this and let us know what happens.



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          • 2. Re: How to open a remote FMDB - a walk though for a newbie.

            As Karen has said, creating a favourite with the FMS IP address is the thing to do.


            1. You need to get the external IP address of the company*

            2. On the company firewall port 5003 must be forwarded to the machine running FMS

            3. If your db admin has opted to hide the database names from the open remote dialog you will need to know the name of the database and type it after the IP address in the open remote dialog.


            • If your company is running a VPN then you connect to your VPN and use the internal IP address of the machine running FMS.



            1 of 1 people found this helpful
            • 3. Re: How to open a remote FMDB - a walk though for a newbie.

              Hi Karen,


              thank you for your quick response and clarifying the Open Remote input settings (I was totally over complicating that).


              I'm still not successful, but I am closer as I have a new dialogue box with a 'The file test.fp.7 could not be opened. Either the host is not available, or the file in not available on that host'


              I've checked the host machine and both, it and the 'test.fp.7' file is up and running.


              What do you suggest now?

              • 4. Re: How to open a remote FMDB - a walk though for a newbie.

                Hi Malcom,


                thank you for your response. I've tried what Karen suggested (see above).


                Re: VPN... I don't think so. It just the Dynalink RTA1025W Modem/4 port Router > 8 port Router > patch board > ethernet ports in our offices.


                Isn't the external IP address of the company the same as the Static IP as provided by my ISP, or is it something else again?


                Company firewall port 5003??? What, where, how? Is this different to the post settings in the Dynalink RTA1025W Modem/4 port Router?


                Database names are not hidden.

                • 5. Re: How to open a remote FMDB - a walk though for a newbie.

                  Paul may be fundamental or just modem,


                  You are close.


                  Since you have your own router the 'external' IP is usually assigned to that router. If the router is assigning internal DHCP addresses then the port 5003 forwarding is set to use the address assigned to the FM host Computer.


                  For example:

                  Router is set to external IP (whatever your ISP assigned you).

                  This allows computers in the rest of the world to talk to your router and it will always be at the same address.


                  Router assigns DHCP address to FMP host computer. This assumes you are using the router to assign IP's from a range of internal IP address. If not you can use the manually assigned DHCP but, it must be in the range the router uses or the router won't talk to it.

                  This does not have to be a fixed assigned IP address. The router should automatically track the computer/IP configuration even if it assigned a new IP to that computer. Of course the router has to support these 'features'.


                  Port forwarding on the Router is set to send port 5003 to the FM host, which in this example will be



                  Now that should work to route traffic for port 5003 directly to the FM host computer.





                  In your Favorites you enter the External IP address, the one assigned to the Router. You always start the conversation by talking to the Router. It then forwards your call (because it came in on port 5003) to the internal computer, the FM host.


                  Now you can click on the Favorite and it will request the databases open on the FM host. Once you see the list of DB's available you know its all working. As others have said you might not see the list if you are using FMS and it was set up to not show files.


                  Since you are on a Mac you can also test the connection using the "Network Utility" application, located in the Applications/Utilities folder.


                  In the PING tab enter the Router Fixed IP and the port number:


                  If the port forwarding is working you should get a Ping response.


                  Then use the "Traceroute" tab with the same IP:port to see how it gets there. It might ultimately fail to show the complete path. Especially if the router is set up for no response to ping requests. But, it could list all routers passed thru between your home computer and the FM host computer. IP should (I think) be the last one in the list. Masked routers will show as a line number and a series of stars.

                  For example 10: *   *   *

                  And there could be a lot of those.


                  The only real workable test is seeing and opening one of the databases.

                  • 6. Re: How to open a remote FMDB - a walk though for a newbie.

                    Hi ch0c0halic,


                    thank you for your response. This has throw a lot of light onto my situation.



                    I've rechecked everything and I'm not getting a Ping response when I add :5003 in the 'Enter the network address to ping' field. But I do get one if I just put in the Static IP address by it self.



                    Does this mean that the modem/router is not port forwarding?





                    Can I also just confirm a few things so that I can make sure we are both using the same terminology (networking is like the dark art to me).



                    When you say "Router is set to external IP (whatever your ISP assigned you)" do you mean the number that my ISP refers to as 'the static ip address' i.e (Static IP address - 119.224.xx.xx)



                    And this is the number that I should be entering into the FM Open Remote dialogue box?



                    This has confused me… "Router assigns DHCP address to FMP host computer. This assumes you are using the router to assign IP's from a range of internal IP address. If not you can use the manually assigned DHCP but, it must be in the range the router uses or the router won't talk to it".



                    I thought that the IP address of the computer that is hosting the FM file, had to be a static IP address and if so, how do I know what the range of the router is or the router won't talk to it"?



                    I'm reaching for a bottle of Aspirin right about now.

                    • 7. Re: How to open a remote FMDB - a walk though for a newbie.

                      Paul may need a new wand too,


                      Dark arts indeed Mr. Potter.


                      Sorry the ping on port 5003 was invalid because FMP doesn't know how to respond to the Ping request. But the regular ping from the Internet will at least tell you the Router is properly Addressed.


                      A. The Router is set to your assigned static IP 119.224.xx.xx. I replaced the xx.xx. with 1.1 for an example.


                      When confused, talk to Confucius. §^=)

                      Routers can act as IP assigners. This is using DHCP - Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol. The pool of IP addresses is designated in the Router using the same interface application (Web site?) you used for port forwarding. The Router also routes IP packets, hence its name. If the Router is doing both then when you assign the port forwarding you usually assign it to a specific computer, and the Router 'links' the IP address to that computer in its Routing Table.


                      For a Router to assign an IP address it has to be set up to know what range of addresses to use. For example it cannot assign an IP address used on the internet. It can assign one in the 10.x.x.x or 192.x.x.x sequence as these two ranges are for use in NAT - Network Address Translation thru a router to your LAN - Local Area Network. As they can only be used behind a router that performs this translation from internet IP to LAN IP, they are not valid on the Internet (WWW - World Wide Web).


                      So the FM host can have any IP, assigned, static, or even dynamically changed by the Router. As long as the Router assigns it and keeps track of any changes then your port forwarding works and Computers from outside your LAN can access the FM Host by addressing the Router. The Router is the box that has to know how to reach the FM host. Now once you've assigned a port forward to a computer then the Router won't normally change its IP so it is 'almost' the same as a static IP.



                      For computers on your LAN (when you are in the office §^=) its easier to have a fixed IP or a DNS - Domain Name Server. But, once again, the Fixed IP from the DHCP pool of IP addresses from the Router.