Services and TCP ports

Protocol Port Values

The source and destination ports for TCP/UDP/SCTP services are important to get correct. If they are reversed the service will not work. The destination port(s) are the on ones that refer to the ports that the computer will be listening on. These are the port numbers that most people are familiar with when they associate a port number to a protocol. In most cases the source port will be one that is randomly assigned by the computer that is not being already used by another service.

Most people associate HTTP with port 80. This means that a web-server will be listening on port 80 for any http requests being sent to the computer. The computer that is sending the request can use any port that is not already assigned to another service or communication session. There are 65,535 ports that it can randomly assign, but because the ports from 1 to 1024 are normally used for listening for incoming communications it is usually not in that range. It is unless there is a specific instance when you know that a communication will be coming from a predefined source port it is best practice to set the source port range from 1 to 65,535.



The Internet Control Message Protocol (ICMP) is a protocol layered onto the Internet Protocol Suite to provide error reporting flow control and first-hop gateway redirection. It is normally used by the operating systems of networked computers to send connectivity status query, response and error messages. It is assigned protocol number 1. There is a version of the protocol for both IPv4 and for IPv6. It is not designed to be absolutely reliable like TCP.

ICMP is not typically used for transporting data or for end-user network applications with the exception of some diagnostic utilities such as ping and traceroute.


ICMP messages are sent in several situations, for example:

  • when a datagram cannot reach its destination,
  • time exceeded messages
  • redirect messages
  • when the gateway does not have the buffering capacity to forward a datagram
  • when the gateway can direct the host to send traffic on a shorter route. Some of the specific ICMP message types are:


For ICMP error messages, only those reporting an error for an existing session can pass through the firewall. The security policy will allow traffic to be routed, forwarded or denied. If allowed, the ICMP packets will start a new session. Only ICMP error messages of a corresponding security policy is available will be sent back to the source. Otherwise, the packet is dropped. That is, only ICMP packets for a corresponding security policy can traverse the FortiGate unit.


ICMP Types and Codes

ICMP has a number of messages that are identified by the “Type” field. Some of these types have assigned “Code” fields as well. The table below shows the different types of ICMP Types with their associated codes if there are any.

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