If you are a gamer you would have noticed the NAT Type option displayed in certain connection settings of your gaming console. When you try to play multiplayer games, your console will flash some connectivity error messages around lobbies and chat parties. These are NAT-type connection error messages that are preventing you from entering a multiplayer game. But what is NAT type setting and why is it important to online gaming?
What is NAT Type Setting?
There are numerous connected devices in the world with different addresses that can be used with the standard IP address format (xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx format, with each value between 0 and 255). This format is not enough for every device across the globe to have a single unique IP address. Therefore, a single Public IP address is given to a specific local network like a household or business. Your router, connected to the local network, assigns a Private IP address to each device within that local network, such as laptops, phones, and games consoles within your home.
To allow devices on a home network to communicate with the outside world NAT type connection is used. Network Address Translation (NAT) acts as a bridge between the public and private IP addresses and helps your router translate a public IP address to a private IP address and vice versa. It adds security to the network by keeping the private IP addresses confidential. This is an important connectivity setting for online gaming as it determines the connections a gaming console can establish with other devices on the web.
When a gaming console tries to send something to another console connected to a different local network, the NAT setting converts the private IP back to the public IP so the data can be sent to its destination. When it reaches the destination, the recipient router will translate the public IP address back to the relevant private IP address and pass on the message to the destined console linked to its own local home network.
Different NAT Settings
This process is usually fast on routers but the speed of transfer depends on which particular NAT settings are being used. There are three different NAT settings: Open (Type 1), Moderate (Type 2), and Strict (Type 3). Each offers different levels of filtering and security before traffic is passed onto the local network.
- Open NAT – This setting will allow your gaming console to connect to games that are being hosted by others and host games yourself. This setting will allow other users to find and connect to the game you are hosting.
- Moderate NAT – Here your connectivity to other players is neither limited nor open. You can connect to other players but some functions will be limited.
- Strict NAT – As the name suggests this type of connection setting offers limited connectivity with other players. Players who have Strict or Moderate NAT will not be able to join your gaming session as well.
NAT Settings on Gaming Consoles
When it comes to gaming consoles, these three NAT types describe your connectivity to other players over the internet. Both the Xbox LIVE and PlayStation Network define and use NAT differently. On the PlayStation Network, NAT Types are Type 1, Type 2, and Type 3. When you are playing on a PlayStation console, your setting should be NAT Type 2. NAT Type 2 is ideal when setting up your PlayStation for online gaming. When you are playing on an Xbox console, the goal is to have NAT Type Open.
You might need to change your NAT settings on your gaming console to have better online multiplayer options. Port forwarding blocked ports in your router is the best way to change NAT Type. The more open the type, the easier it is for devices to communicate and connect freely with other devices on other networks. You choose a strict NAT type, the harder it will be for connectivity between devices across the internet. Depending on your NAT type your router will determine whether or not you can join or host a specific multiplayer game.
We hope now you know What is NAT Type Setting.
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