Network related issues can be annoying, especially when you cannot connect to the devices connected in the network. Such an issue is far more frustrating for a gamer trying to play games online using gaming consoles like Xbox. The reason behind this can be a double NAT issue.
If you are new to these terms and wish to know the details, you can go through the below section; otherwise, you can directly jump to the solution section of the article.
What is NAT?
For users who want to know what does NAT stands for, well, NAT is an acronym for Network Address Translation. It is a process in which the private address is translated to public address and vice-versa. Because of NAT, it is possible to share one public network address among all the devices connected to one network.
All the devices can access the Internet using the private network address assigned to it. Without NAT, we would have run out of public networks till now, at least in case of IPv4 (Internet Protocol version 4). The NAT process is usually performed by the routers connected at your home or offices.
NAT routers also secure your network by blocking any direct access to the private IP address of the devices. It uses a firewall to protect your private IP address from the public IPs on the Internet.
What is Double NAT?
As the name suggests, when two devices are performing network address translation, the double NAT issue occurs. People tend to connect two routers for the better network environment, but the performance can be degraded if both the routers perform network address translation.
The two routers provide different sets of private IPs to the internal devices, causing issues in the internal network communication. If one of the routers is just used as a modem or a bridge, then this double NAT issue can be avoided.
When the ISP (Internet Service Provider) installs the router with NAT functionality, and you also connect another router with the same functionalities, it results in a double NAT problem. Hence, before installing any router yourself, you must know the functionalities of ISP-provided routers or gateways.
Issues Caused by Double NAT
Double NAT does not cause any issues while accessing the Internet or in the web browsing experience. Many times people don’t even know they have a double NAT issue in their network setup. However, double NAT can hamper other services which require Universal Plug n Play (UPnP) or port forwarding.
The services include online gaming, live camera access, or remote desktop connection. Double NAT can cause major issues while playing games on your Xbox One. Double NAT can also affect VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol).
There also might be trouble connecting to common devices in the network like printers and scanners. Such an issue can happen because the computer trying to connect the device may belong to a different set of private IP addresses then the device.
How to Identify Double NAT?
As mentioned before, double NAT doesn’t cause any problem while web browsing. So, double NAT is not detected easily in the network. There are 3 ways in which you can have double NAT detected in your network.
1. Check Router
If you have two routers connected in your network, then you need to check if both routers have the functionality to perform NAT. You can check this on the manual provided by the router manufacturer.
There are chances your router performs NAT if it has more than one Ethernet port and has a WiFi facility. However, you need to check it with your manufacturer once to be sure about the NAT functionality.
2. Trace Route
You can check double NAT by tracing routes as well. The tracert command is used to traceroute. Before tracing routes, you need to know the range for the private IP address and public IP address.
The IP address in the range of 10.0.0.0 – 10.255.255.255, 192.168.0.0 – 192.168.255.255 and 172.16.0.0 – 188.8.131.52 are private addresses; all the IP addresses out of this range is the public IP address.
Now, to check if you have double NAT on your configured network, open the Command Prompt and execute the command mentioned below.
The above command will traceroute to the Google DNS server. If you see the first two hops in private IP addresses, then there is a double NAT issue in your network.
Only the first hop should have a private address; the latter should have a public IP address, as shown in the image above.
Sometimes double NAT may not be detected via traceroute; in such cases, you need to check the WAN IP address of your router. We had a double NAT issue on our router, and it was not detected via tracert command; hence, it may work in some cases and may not in some other.
3. Check the WAN IP Address
You can also detect double NAT by checking the WAN IP address. You need to enter the UI of the main router and check the address next to the WAN IP address. The WAN IP address should be public and not private.
If you don’t know how to enter the web interface of your router, then follow the instructions mentioned below.
Step 1: Go to Command Prompt, type ipconfig, and hit Enter.
Step 2: Note down the IP address next to Default Gateway.
Step 3: Enter this default gateway’s IP address in your preferred browser; it will redirect you to the user interface of your router. You may need to login to access the router settings.
If you have a private WAN IP address, as shown in the image below, then your network has a double NAT issue, and you need to resolve this.
Note: The procedure and the terms may differ from router to router, you need to refer to the manual provided by your router’s manufacturer.
How to Fix Double NAT?
You can fix the double NAT issue by simple and straightforward solutions mentioned below. The solutions mentioned below can imply to Xbox One and desktop facing double NAT issue.
1. Remove the Second Router
If you have two routers performing NAT for you, then you need to remove the extra one you added. You can replace one NAT performing router with another router that has only one Ethernet port and works like a modem.
2. Enable Bridge Mode
If you wish to keep the fancy router and feel it improves your network connectivity, then you need to enable bridge mode on the router/gateway provided by your ISP, so it can just work as a modem.
The procedure to enable bridge mode may differ from router to router, but you need to enter the router UI as mentioned in Check WAN IP address. The procedure to enable bridge mode in some of the famous routers are mentioned below.
You need to restart your router after you finish making the required changes. In case you had a problem with Xbox one, then you need to restart it and check if you face a double NAT issue again.
3. Enable Access Point Mode
When you enable Access Point mode on your router, it becomes a point on the wireless connection, incapable of port forwarding and routing. Only some routers allow you to enable Access Point and extend the wireless range of your network.
You can checkout with your router manufacturer if the router allows enabling Access Point mode. You can go through the links below to enable Access Point mode in the mentioned router.
After enabling Access Point mode, your double NAT issue on Xbox or PC should be solved. If you still face issues, you can go through the below solutions.
4. Convert the Second Router into a Switch
If you want another router just for the sake of more ethernet ports or better WiFi connection, then you can turn that router into the switch. To do so, you need to connect the primary router’s LAN port to another router’s (the one to be made switch) LAN port using the ethernet cable.
The cable should not be connected to the WAN or Internet port of the switch router. In this way, you will get a better WiFi connection without facing an Xbox double NAT issue on your gaming console.
5. Enable DMZ on your router
DMZ stands for Demilitarized Zone, and you can configure your router in DMZ mode. We recommend this mode specifically for the frustrated gamers trying to solve double NAT issues on their consoles.
A DMZ mode router sets up your network in such a way that your gaming console (host) is directly connected to the Internet. As the host is directly exposed to the Internet and also connected to the internal network, the virus and malware can directly enter the internal network if not forbidden by the ISP gateways.
However, the gaming console is highly secure and not at risk; hence, you can connect it as a host to your router in DMZ mode. You need to note down the IP address on your host, that is, gaming console, in this case, to connect it as the host. You can go through the link below to know how to configure DMZ mode.
The double NAT issue is often neglected, especially if we don’t use any services related to port forwarding or UPnP. There are users who also want to know how does double NAT affects gaming? Well, especially for gamers, this Xbox double nat issue can frustrate you while using any gaming console. Also, people who wish to connect to common devices, printers in the house, or office may find it difficult to do it because of the double NAT problem. With the straightforward explanation given above, you can fix your double NAT issue easily and conveniently.
However, if you still face network address translation issues after going through the above solutions, then you need to check out with your ISP and get it solved.