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Network Address Translation - NAT

Network Address Translation (NAT) enables your network to use one set of IP addresses for internal traffic and a second set of addresses for external traffic.

NAT was designed to overcome addressing problems due to the explosive growth of the Internet. In addition to preventing the depletion of IPv4 addresses, NAT enables you to use the private address space internally and still have a way to access the Internet.

Cumulus Linux supports both static NAT and dynamic NAT. Static NAT provides a permanent mapping between one private IP address and a single public address. Dynamic NAT maps private IP addresses to public addresses; these public IP addresses come from a pool. The translations are created as needed dynamically, so that a large number of private addresses can share a smaller pool of public addresses.

Static and dynamic NAT both support:

  • Basic NAT, which only translates the IP address in the packet: the source IP address in the outbound direction and the destination IP address in the inbound direction.
  • Port Address Translation (PAT), which translates both the IP address and layer 4 port: the source IP address and port in the outbound direction and the destination IP address and port in the inbound direction.

The following illustratration shows a basic NAT configuration.

  • NAT is supported on physical interfaces and bond interfaces and only in the default VRF.
  • IPv6 to IPv4 translation is not supported.
  • Multicast traffic is not supported.
  • NAT is not supported in an EVPN configuration.
  • NAT is supported on Broadcom Trident3 X7 and Mellanox Spectrum-2 switches only.

Static NAT

Static NAT provides a one-to-one mapping between a private IP address inside your network and a public IP address. For example, if you have a web server with the private IP address 10.0.0.10 and you want a remote host to be able to make a request to the web server using the IP address 172.30.58.80, you must configure a static NAT mapping between the two IP addresses.

Static NAT entries do not time out from the translation table.

Enable Static NAT

To enable static NAT, edit the /etc/cumulus/switchd.conf file and uncomment the nat.static_enable = TRUE option:

cumulus@switch:~$ sudo nano /etc/cumulus/switchd.conf
...
# NAT configuration
# Enables NAT
nat.static_enable = TRUE
...

Restart switchd with the sudo systemctl restart switchd.service command.

Other options in the NAT configuration section of the switchd.conf file, such as nat.age_poll_interval and nat.table_size are dynamic NAT configuration options and are not supported with static NAT.

Configure Static NAT

For static NAT, create a rule that matches a source or destination IP address and translates the IP address to a public IP address.

For static PAT, create a rule that matches a source or destination IP address together with the layer 4 port and translates the IP address and port to a public IP address and port.

For Mellanox Spectrum-2 switches, you can include the outgoing or incoming interface.

To create rules, you can use either NCLU or cl-acltool.

Use the following NCLU commands:

NAT

net add nat static snat|dnat <protocol> <ip-address> [out-interface|in-interface <interface>] translate <ip-address>

PAT

net add nat static snat|dnat <protocol> <ip-address> <port> [out-interface|in-interface <interface>] translate <ip-address> <port>

Where:

  • snat is the source NAT
  • dnat is the destination NAT
  • protocol is TCP, ICMP, or UDP. The protocol is required.
  • out-interface is the outbound interface for snat (Mellanox Spectrum-2 switches only)
  • in-interface is the inbound interface for dnat (Mellanox Spectrum-2 switches only)

Command Examples

The following rule matches TCP packets with source IP address 10.0.0.1 and translates the IP address to 172.30.58.80:

cumulus@switch:~$ net add nat static snat tcp 10.0.0.1 translate 172.30.58.80
cumulus@switch:~$ net pending
cumulus@switch:~$ net commit

The following rule matches ICMP packets with destination IP address 172.30.58.80 on interface swp51 and translates the IP address to 10.0.0.1

cumulus@switch:~$ net add nat static dnat icmp 172.30.58.80 in-interface swp51 translate 10.0.0.1
cumulus@switch:~$ net pending
cumulus@switch:~$ net commit

The following rule matches UDP packets with source IP address 10.0.0.1 and source port 5000, and translates the IP address to 172.30.58.80 and the port to 6000.

cumulus@switch:~$ net add nat static snat udp 10.0.0.1 5000 translate 172.30.58.80 6000
cumulus@switch:~$ net pending
cumulus@switch:~$ net commit

The following rule matches UDP packets with destination IP address 172.30.58.80 and destination port 6000 on interface swp51, and translates the IP address to 10.0.0.1 and the port to 5000:

cumulus@switch:~$ net add nat static dnat udp 172.30.58.80 6000 in-interface swp51 translate 10.0.0.1 5000
cumulus@switch:~$ net pending
cumulus@switch:~$ net commit

To delete a static rule, run the net del command. For example:

cumulus@switch:~$ net del nat static snat tcp 10.0.0.1 translate 172.30.58.80
cumulus@switch:~$ net pending
cumulus@switch:~$ net commit

To add NAT rules using cl-acltool, either edit an existing file in the /etc/cumulus/acl/policy.d directory and add rules under [iptables] or create a new file in the /etc/cumulus/acl/policy.d directory and add rules under an [iptables] section. For example:

cumulus@switch:~$ sudo nano /etc/cumulus/acl/policy.d/60_nat.rules
[iptables]

 #Add rule

Example Rules

The following rule matches TCP packets with source IP address 10.0.01 and translates the IP address to 172.30.58.80:

-t nat -A POSTROUTING -s 10.0.0.1 -p tcp -j SNAT --to-source 172.30.58.80

The following rule matches ICMP packets with destination IP address 172.30.58.80 on interface swp51 and translates the IP address to 10.0.0.1

-t nat -A PREROUTING -d 172.30.58.80 -p icmp --in-interface swp51 -j DNAT --to-destination 10.0.0.1

The following rule matches UDP packets with source IP address 10.0.0.1 and source port 5000, and translates the IP address to 172.30.58.80 and the port to 6000.

-t nat -A POSTROUTING -s 10.0.0.1 -p udp --sport 5000 -j SNAT --to-source 172.30.58.80:6000

The following rule matches UDP packets with destination IP address 172.30.58.80 and destination port 6000 on interface swp51, and translates the IP address to 10.0.0.1 and the port to 5000.

-t nat -A PREROUTING -d 172.30.58.80 -p udp --dport 6000 --in-interface swp51  -j DNAT --to-destination 10.0.0.1:5000

To delete a static NAT rule, remove the rule from the policy file in the /etc/cumulus/acl/policy.d directory, then run the sudo cl-acltool -i command.

Dynamic NAT

Dynamic NAT maps private IP addresses and ports to a public IP address and port range or a public IP address range and port range. IP addresses are assigned from a pool of addresses dynamically. When entries are released after a period of inactivity, new incoming connections are dynamically mapped to the freed up addresses and ports.

Enable Dynamic NAT

To enable dynamic NAT, edit the /etc/cumulus/switchd.conf file and uncomment the nat.dynamic_enable = TRUE option:

cumulus@switch:~$ sudo nano /etc/cumulus/switchd.conf
...
# NAT configuration
# Enables NAT
nat.dynamic_enable = TRUE
...

Restart switchd with the sudo systemctl restart switchd.service command.

For dynamic NAT to work on switches with the Broadcom Trident3 ASIC, you must also enable static NAT. Uncomment the nat.static_enable = TRUE option in addition to the nat.dynamic_enable = TRUE option.

Optional Dynamic NAT Settings

The /etc/cumulus/switchd.conf file includes the following configuration options for dynamic NAT. Only change these options if dynamic NAT is enabled.

OptionDescription
nat.age_poll_intervalThe period of inactivity before switchd releases a NAT entry from the translation table.
The default value is 5 minutes. The minimum value is 1 minute. The maximum value is 24 hours.
nat.table_sizeThe maximum number of dynamic snat and dnat entries in the translation table. The default value is 1024.
Trident3 switches support a maximum of 1024 entries.
Mellanox Spectrum-2 switches support a maximum of 8192 entries.
nat.config_table_sizeThe maximum number of rules allowed (NCLU or cl-acltool).
The default value is 64. The minimum value is 64. The maximum value is 1024.

After you change any of the dynamic NAT configuration options, restart switchd with the sudo systemctl restart switchd.service command.

Configure Dynamic NAT

For dynamic NAT, create a rule that matches a IP address in CIDR notation and translates the address to a public IP address or IP address range.

For dynamic PAT, create a rule that matches an IP address in CIDR notation and translates the address to a public IP address and port range or an IP address range and port range. You can also match on an IP address in CIDR notation and port.

For Mellanox Spectrum-2 switches, you can include the outgoing or incoming interface in the rule. See the examples below.

Use the following NCLU commands:

NAT

net add nat dynamic snat|dnat <protocol> source-ip <ipv4-address/prefixlen>|destination-ip <ip-address/prefixlen> out-interface|in-interface translate <ipv4-address>|<ip-address-range>

PAT

net add nat dynamic snat|dnat <protocol> source-ip <ipv4-address/prefixlen>|destination-ip <ipv4-address/prefixlen> source-port <port>|destination-port <port> out-interface|in-interface translate <ipv4-address> <port-range>|<ipv4-address-range> <port-range>

Where:

  • snat is the source NAT
  • dnat is the destination NAT
  • protocol is TCP, ICMP, or UDP. The protocol is required.
  • out-interface is the outbound interface for snat (Mellanox Spectrum-2 switches only)
  • in-interface is the inbound interface for dnat (Mellanox Spectrum-2 switches only)

Example Commands

The following rule matches TCP packets with source IP address in the range 10.0.0.0/24 on outbound interface swp5 and translates the address dynamically to an IP address in the range 172.30.58.0-172.30.58.80:

cumulus@switch:~$ net add nat dynamic snat tcp source-ip 10.0.0.0/24 out-interface swp5 translate 172.30.58.0-172.30.58.80
cumulus@switch:~$ net pending
cumulus@switch:~$ net commit

The following rule matches UDP packets with source IP address in the range 10.0.0.0/24 and translates the addresses dynamically to IP address 172.30.58.80 with layer 4 ports in the range 1024-1200:

cumulus@switch:~$ net add nat dynamic snat udp source-ip 10.0.0.0/24 translate 172.30.58.80 1024-1200
cumulus@switch:~$ net pending
cumulus@switch:~$ net commit

The following rule matches UDP packets with source IP address in the range 10.0.0.0/24 on source port 5000 and translates the addresses dynamically to IP address 172.30.58.80 with layer 4 ports in the range 1024-1200:

cumulus@switch:~$ net add nat dynamic snat udp source-ip 10.0.0.0/24 source-port 5000 translate 172.30.58.80 1024-1200
cumulus@switch:~$ net pending
cumulus@switch:~$ net commit

The following rule matches TCP packets with destination IP address in the range 10.1.0.0/24 and translates the address dynamically to IP address range 172.30.58.0-172.30.58.80 with layer 4 ports in the range 1024-1200:

cumulus@switch:~$ net add nat dynamic dnat tcp destination-ip 10.1.0.0/24 translate 172.30.58.0-172.30.58.80 1024-1200
cumulus@switch:~$ net pending
cumulus@switch:~$ net commit

The following rule matches ICMP packets with source IP address in the range 10.0.0.0/24 and destination IP address in the range 10.1.0.0/24, and translates the address dynamically to IP address range 172.30.58.0-172.30.58.80 with layer 4 ports in the range 1024-1200:

cumulus@switch:~$ net add nat dynamic snat icmp source-ip 10.0.0.0/24 destination-ip 10.1.0.0/24 translate 172.30.58.0-172.30.58.80 1024-1200
cumulus@switch:~$ net pending
cumulus@switch:~$ net commit

To delete a dynamic rule, run the net del command. For example:

cumulus@switch:~$ net del nat dynamic snat tcp source-ip 10.0.0.0/24 translate 172.30.58.0-172.30.58.80 1024-1200
cumulus@switch:~$ net pending
cumulus@switch:~$ net commit

To add NAT rules using cl-acltool, either edit an existing file in the /etc/cumulus/acl/policy.d directory and add rules under [iptables] or create a new file in the /etc/cumulus/acl/policy.d directory and add rules under an [iptables] section. For example:

cumulus@switch:~$ sudo nano /etc/cumulus/acl/policy.d/60_nat.rules
[iptables]

 #Add rule

Example Rules

The following rule matches TCP packets with source IP address in the range 10.0.0.0/24 on outbound interface swp5 and translates the address dynamically to an IP address in the range 172.30.58.0-172.30.58.80.

-t nat -A POSTROUTING -s 10.0.0.0/24 --out-interface swp5 -p tcp -j SNAT --to-source 172.30.58.0-172.30.58.80

The following rule matches UDP packets with source IP address in the range 10.0.0.0/24 and translates the addresses dynamically to IP address 172.30.58.80 with layer 4 ports in the range 1024-1200:

-t nat -A POSTROUTING -s 10.0.0.0/24 -p udp -j SNAT --to-source 172.30.58.80:1024-1200

The following rule matches UDP packets with source IP address in the range 10.0.0.0/24 on source port 5000 and translates the addresses dynamically to IP address 172.30.58.80 with layer 4 ports in the range 1024-1200:

-t nat -A POSTROUTING -s 10.0.0.0/24 -p udp --sport 5000 -j SNAT --to-source 172.30.58.80:1024-1200

The following rule matches TCP packets with destination IP address in the range 10.1.0.0/24 and translates the address dynamically to IP address range 172.30.58.0-172.30.58.80 with layer 4 ports in the range 1024-1200:

-t nat -A PREROUTING -d 10.1.0.0/24 -p tcp -j DNAT --to-destination 172.30.58.0-172.30.58.80:1024-1200

The following rule matches ICMP packets with source IP address in the range 10.0.0.0/24 and destination IP address in the range 10.1.0.0/24, and translates the address dynamically to IP address range 172.30.58.0-172.30.58.80 with layer 4 ports in the range 1024-1200:

-t nat -A POSTROUTING -s 10.0.0.0/24 -d 10.1.0.0/24 -p icmp -j SNAT --to-source 172.30.58.0-172.30.58.80:1024-1200

To delete a dynamic NAT rule, remove the rule from the policy file in the /etc/cumulus/acl/policy.d directory, then run the sudo cl-acltool -i command.

Show Configured NAT Rules

To see the NAT rules configured on the switch, run the sudo iptables -t nat -v -L or the sudo cl-acltool -L ip -v command. For example:

cumulus@switch:~$ sudo iptables -t nat -v -L -n
...
Chain POSTROUTING (policy ACCEPT 27 packets, 3249 bytes)
 pkts bytes target   prot opt in   out   source      destination
    0     0 SNAT     tcp --  any  any   10.0.0.1    anywhere     to:172.30.58.80

Show Conntrack Flows

To see the currently active connection tracking (conntrack) flows, run the sudo cat /proc/net/nf_conntrack command. The hardware offloaded flows contain [OFFLOAD] in the output.

cumulus@switch:~$ sudo cat /proc/net/nf_conntrack
ipv4     2 udp      17 src=172.30.10.5 dst=10.0.0.2 sport=5001 dport=5000 src=10.0.0.2 dst=10.1.0.10 sport=6000 dport=1026 [OFFLOAD] mark=0 zone=0 use=2