You just got that new amazing game, so it's time for an exciting match with your friend. You connect and start playing, but, all of a sudden, you start losing points because of annoying lag. Your NAT type might be one of the culprits, so we'll explain how to change it on your PC below.
Network address translation (NAT) is a method of remapping an IP address by modifying the information in a data packet's header. Network packets are the packages of information that make up your traffic when it travels across a routing device.
NAT operates in the router and allows it to translate the private addresses of the entire network to a single public IP address. It turns the router into a mediator between your private network and the internet.
A NAT router could be compared to an office switchboard. Each department has its own number extension that is not visible to outsiders (the private IP). Outgoing calls usually display the same public number (the public IP). Like a secretary, the NAT can direct callers to specific callers to different departments using their ports while ensuring that those connections are legitimate.
NAT is used for the following purposes:
Stricter NAT settings can slow down your internet speed. While it won't be a big issue for daily browsing, this drop could be much more visible while gaming. Because NAT performs like a firewall functions, it can slow down your speed by restricting the flow of certain packages.
Also, devices with NAT routers usually do not have end-to-end connectivity and cannot support certain internet protocols. So some packets might not reach their destinations, and that may result in internet connection problems.
Unfortunately, there is no industry-wide standard classification for the different NAT types users often see on their devices. These usually describe how strict your NAT configuration is within the context of your device. NAT functions and technical specifications can vary depending on the device, so we recommend checking them before changing your settings.
Open NAT has no restrictions. All the devices can freely send and receive data, and it has no firewall. It also easily connects with other NAT types.
While open NAT guarantees a smooth online experience with minimal lag and buffering, it is not a very safe option. It doesn't provide firewall protection, so you are more vulnerable to hacking attacks when using it.
This NAT is more secure and leaves only a few ports open. It also employs a firewall to secure your network. While it is more secure, it may also slightly slow down your internet.
This is the strictest and the most secure NAT type. It restricts the data entering the network and is also the safest of the three. Strict NAT protects you from various attacks and is enabled by default in most routers.
Its downside is that it slows down your internet, and you may experience more lag while gaming. This type can only connect to networks with open NAT, so you may experience connectivity problems more often.
Here are a few methods to change your NAT type.
Universal Plug and Play (UPnP) is a set of protocols that help devices in your network find each other. It also enables automatic port forwarding.
Before turning UPnP on, make sure to enable a static IP. The steps might differ depending on the router model, but they usually go like this:
Just beware that using UPnP makes you much more vulnerable online. UPnP devices usually lack authentication mechanisms, making you more vulnerable to cyberattacks. It also experiences the so-called CallStranger loophole, allowing attackers to exploit it for DDoS, enumeration, and other attacks. To avoid these threats, make sure to implement the latest upgrades for the UPnP system.
If you use Windows, you can use Network Discovery to change NAT:
1. Click the Start menu button;
2. Go to Settings;
3. Click Network and internet;
4. Choose Wi-Fi;
5. Then click Change advanced sharing options;
6. Enable the Turn on network discovery option and check the Turn on automatic setup of network-connected devices box.
The is one of the easiest methods to change NAT. First, enable the port forwarding function in your router settings. Here is how to do that:
For this method, you should:
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