Understanding PS3 NAT Types

By | September 6, 2011

After spending a little time investigating online gaming on the PS3, there appears to be a lot of conflicting information with regards to what NAT is and how the PS3 classifies your NAT type. Everyone who plays online seems to spend a lot of their time (instead of actually playing games) trying to achieve a different NAT type, or thinking their NAT type is why they keep getting shot.

NAT or Network Address Translation is something which people generally can’t avoid and has become the norm in computer networking. For a device to be able to access content on the Internet they need a public IP address. There aren’t enough public IP addresses (until IPv6 is fully embraced, which is still a way off) to give every one of your devices a public address which mandates a form of translation.

As well as public IP addresses, we also have private IP addresses (defined in RFC 1918) which are 10.0.0.0/8, 192.168.0.0/16 and 172.16.0.0/12. These IP addresses aren’t routable on the Internet as everyone is able to use the same address ranges. NAT allows multiple private IP addresses to be translated into a single public IP address to allow devices to access the Internet:

The RG (Residential Gateway) is your modem or router that is connected to your ISP (Internet Service Provider) using a range of different access technologies from DSL to Cable to Ethernet. The RG is allocated a public IP address which is routable on the Internet and each of your devices behind the RG is allocated a private IP address by the RG.

When a device wants to talk to a website on the Internet, the RG will translate the 192.168.1.x address into the 191.20.1.22 public IP address which is called NAT. The disadvantage (or advantage as some people see it) with NAT, is that your internal devices aren’t able to receive unsolicited inbound connections. This provides a level of security (the RG should also provide a stateful firewalling function in combination with NAT) which can cause issues for some applications which rely on other users connecting to you.

Normally, a RG won’t allow inbound connections and if someone attempts to connect to your device from the Internet then the request will be dropped or ignored by the firewalling function. Inbound port forwarding allows you to tell the RG to accept inbound connections and forward them to an internal device. There are a number of different techniques to allow inbound port forwarding: DMZ, UPnP and static port forwarding. Depending on the model of your RG depends on what is available to you. However, each of them doesn’t come without security risks as you are allowing external untrusted connections into your “trusted” home network.

DMZ: Some RGs have the ability to setup a DMZ host which tells the RG to forward any inbound connections to the DMZ host. This (in my opinion) is the more riskier approach from a security perspective as it allows any device on the Internet to bombard your internal device with any packets it wants, on any port (not just the required ports).

UPnP: Universal Plug and Play is a protocol which allows auto-configuration of devices. Part of UPnP is the Internet Gateway Device Protocol (IGD) which allows devices and applications to manipulate your RG to open up inbound ports automatically on a demand basis. This is deemed an insecure protocol, but a useful one, so it is up to the user to determine if they want this flexibility at the cost of security. UPnP has been known to be problematic in some scenarios to get working due to flakey implementations.

Static Port Forwarding: This is probably the most secure method but provides the least flexibility as you are required to configure your RG to statically setup port forwarding. The process is dependent on the actual game you are playing as they use different ports as well as your make/model of RG as they have different processes.

Both DMZ and Static Port Forwarding will require a form of private static IP address assigned to your PS3 either through a static IP or a hardcoded DHCP allocation.

PS3 NAT Types

In the network settings of the PS3, it uses 3 different NAT types to classify how the PS3 is connected to the Internet:

Type 1: The PS3 is sitting directly on the Internet with a public IP address. This setup doesn’t require NAT or inbound port forwarding and is used in scenarios where the PS3 is the only device wanting to use the Internet connection. This isn’t that common as most users share their Internet connection with other devices in their home.

Type 2: This is the most common and ideal type where the PS3 is sitting behind a RG that is performing NAT. The PS3 will have a private IP address which is translated to a private or public IP address by the RG.

Type 3: This usually implies you have a problem in the way the PS3 is accessing the Internet. This may be caused by a firewall or port restrictions. This isn’t ideal and will result in a sub-optimal gaming experience.

The difference between a Type 2 and Type 1 NAT is usually physical and can’t be changed by settings alone. If you have a Type 2 or higher NAT type then you are connected correctly and can have an optimal gaming experience.

In-Game NAT Types

The second type of NAT is within games like “Call of Duty: Black Ops” or “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2” which has 3 different classifications (“Open”, “Moderate” and “Strict”) which defines how your RG deals with inbound port forwarding and NAT. This can affect your ability to join or host games, the following matrix shows who can match with who:

Games like “Call of Duty” work on a decentralised approach where one of the players is picked as the host. The host generally requires a fast broadband connection as all the other players will connect to them. You will need an “Open” NAT type to be able to host as inbound connections are required.

Strict: You will get a “Strict” NAT type if your RG is using Port Address Translation (PAT) which is part of NAT. PAT happens when you have multiple PS3 devices sharing the same public IP address. When a PS3 attempts to connect to a host it allocates a source port for the communication – if it is the only device using this source port then NAT will use this source port as well. However, if multiple devices use the same source port then the PAT function will change the source port. This is what causes a “Strict” NAT type and can limit your ability to join games and other features like in-game chat.

In the above example “PS3 1” uses source port 3074 and “PS3 2” uses the same source port. The RG can only allocate 3074 once, so will assign it to the first connection and “PS3 2” will be unable to use the same source port so the RG uses PAT to change it to an unallocated dynamic port. “PS3 2” will appear to have a “Strict” NAT type as the source port has been changed.

A “Strict” NAT type doesn’t always happen if you have two gaming devices, it can also happen if your RG has stale NAT entries which makes it think the port is already being used – this is how a NAT type can switch from “Open” to “Strict” and why people say when they reload their RG, their NAT goes back to “Open”.

Open: This is the most ideal type and implies you have configured inbound port forwarding towards your PS3. The PS3 is also the only device using the required source ports which means PAT isn’t happening. You will be able to join or host games with any other player.

Moderate: A lot of people with a “Moderate” NAT type strive to achieve an “Open” NAT type. The difference between “Moderate” and “Open” is if you are forwarding ports towards your PS3. You can follow specific online instructions for your RG to setup inbound port forwarding for the required ports to achieve an “Open” NAT type (assuming your ISP isn’t blocking inbound ports).

That concludes this brief article on the different types of NAT in relation to the PS3. If anyone has any comments or feedback then please leave a comment below.

49 thoughts on “Understanding PS3 NAT Types

  1. ro

    so i went an change the nat from strict or moderate yesterday an it wrked fine,nextday its back 2 moderate i my playstation broken

    Reply
    1. Josh

      You probably need to configure your PS3 to have a static IP address. If you dont, any settings you applied to the IP address of your PS3 will chance when you turn off your PS3 (as something else will probably claim the IP formerly owned by your PS3)

      Reply
    2. Shane

      My NAT type is 3, i understand this is a problem but how do i fix it cause everytime i play online i lag out and some games i cant even connect with other people

      Reply
      1. Adam

        I’m not the poster, but if you’ve got a NAT type three then there’s probably something else going on behind the scenes that you’re not aware of, or can’t control.

        This can be many things, from your ISP running short of IPv4 addresses and using Carrier Grade NAT, to you having an old/shoddy router.

        In either case, ring your ISP and let them know (nicely) that you’re a gamer, they can also do things like disable one setting which I forget the name of right now, but might be interleaving.

        Either way, give them a ring.

        Reply
  2. Kris Dodd

    Okay, well my PS3, my tablet and my computer all connect to my modem, I’m not sure if this is the problem, but my NAT has always been open and then as soon as I got my internet back through a different company, it was strict, please explain.

    Reply
    1. Nat-type 2 guy

      I have the same! It’s very weird can someone please tell me how to fix this? I got nat-type 2 but MW3, and other games say its strict.

      Reply
  3. acesass

    your ps3 needs a different ip from say your laptop or pc if it uses the same one will be moderate or strict.also you need to alter the dmz in your router to the ip your ps3 using to get nat type open.

    Reply
  4. pgibson

    My router happens to run OpenBSD, this was the only guide online I could find that could give me a clue what I was doing wrong. I also learned a bit more about NAT! I never knew that port address translation existed, after about 40 minutes looking through man pages, I figured out the ‘static-port’ option. It works perfectly now! Much thanks to Chris!

    In case y’all are interested:

    [ root@********* +4F314C18 etc ]$pfctl -sr
    . . .
    pass in inet proto tcp from any to (fxp1) port = www flags S/SA keep state rdr-to 192.168.2.146
    pass out inet proto tcp from 192.168.2.146 to any port = www flags S/SA keep state nat-to (fxp1) round-robin static-port
    pass in inet proto tcp from any to (fxp1) port = https flags S/SA keep state rdr-to 192.168.2.146
    pass out inet proto tcp from 192.168.2.146 to any port = https flags S/SA keep state nat-to (fxp1) round-robin static-port
    pass in inet proto tcp from any to (fxp1) port = smtps flags S/SA keep state rdr-to 192.168.2.146
    pass out inet proto tcp from 192.168.2.146 to any port = smtps flags S/SA keep state nat-to (fxp1) round-robin static-port
    pass in inet proto tcp from any to (fxp1) port = 983 flags S/SA keep state rdr-to 192.168.2.146
    pass out inet proto tcp from 192.168.2.146 to any port = 983 flags S/SA keep state nat-to (fxp1) round-robin static-port
    pass in inet proto tcp from any to (fxp1) port = 5223 flags S/SA keep state rdr-to 192.168.2.146
    pass out inet proto tcp from 192.168.2.146 to any port = 5223 flags S/SA keep state nat-to (fxp1) round-robin static-port
    pass in inet proto tcp from any to (fxp1) port 10071:10080 flags S/SA keep state rdr-to 192.168.2.146
    pass out inet proto tcp from 192.168.2.146 to any port 10071:10080 flags S/SA keep state nat-to (fxp1) round-robin static-port
    pass in inet proto tcp from any to (fxp1) port = 9293 flags S/SA keep state rdr-to 192.168.2.146
    pass out inet proto tcp from 192.168.2.146 to any port = 9293 flags S/SA keep state nat-to (fxp1) round-robin static-port
    pass in inet proto udp from any to (fxp1) port = 3478 keep state rdr-to 192.168.2.146
    pass out inet proto udp from 192.168.2.146 to any port = 3478 keep state nat-to (fxp1) round-robin static-port
    pass in inet proto udp from any to (fxp1) port = 3479 keep state rdr-to 192.168.2.146
    pass out inet proto udp from 192.168.2.146 to any port = 3479 keep state nat-to (fxp1) round-robin static-port
    pass in inet proto udp from any to (fxp1) port = 3658 keep state rdr-to 192.168.2.146
    pass out inet proto udp from 192.168.2.146 to any port = 3658 keep state nat-to (fxp1) round-robin static-port
    pass in inet proto tcp from any to (fxp1) port = 10070 flags S/SA keep state rdr-to 192.168.2.146
    pass in inet proto udp from any to (fxp1) port = 10070 keep state rdr-to 192.168.2.146
    pass out inet proto tcp from 192.168.2.146 to any port = 10070 flags S/SA keep state nat-to (fxp1) round-robin static-port
    pass out inet proto udp from 192.168.2.146 to any port = 10070 keep state nat-to (fxp1) round-robin static-port
    pass in inet proto tcp from any to (fxp1) port = 3074 flags S/SA keep state rdr-to 192.168.2.146
    pass in inet proto udp from any to (fxp1) port = 3074 keep state rdr-to 192.168.2.146
    pass out inet proto tcp from 192.168.2.146 to any port = 3074 flags S/SA keep state nat-to (fxp1) round-robin static-port
    pass out inet proto udp from 192.168.2.146 to any port = 3074 keep state nat-to (fxp1) round-robin static-port
    pass in inet proto udp from any to (fxp1) port = 81 keep state rdr-to 192.168.2.146
    pass out inet proto udp from 192.168.2.146 to any port = 81 keep state nat-to (fxp1) round-robin static-port
    pass in inet proto udp from any to (fxp1) port = 3075 keep state rdr-to 192.168.2.146
    pass out inet proto udp from 192.168.2.146 to any port = 3075 keep state nat-to (fxp1) round-robin static-port
    . . .

    In my setup; fxp1 is the NIC connected to my ISP and 192.168.2.146 is the IP address of my PS3.
    Probably not useful to most people, but hopefully it finds a fellow BSD nerd ;)

    Reply
    1. Cedric

      My pf config is similar, but I didn’t need as many opened ports to get NAT Type 2 to work. The issue I found with the documentation (http://manuals.playstation.net/document/en/ps4/settings/nw_test.html#ID39017) is that it doesn’t specify what direction the ports should be opened for.

      ext_if=”xl0″
      ps4=”172.17.0.10″
      #PSN likes it when source ports of traffic aren’t changed from the PS4 to their servers
      match out on $ext_if from !$ps4 to any nat-to ($ext_if:0)
      match out on $ext_if from $ps4 to any nat-to ($ext_if:0) static-port

      #Playstation network to PS4
      pass in quick on $ext_if inet proto { tcp, udp } to ($ext_if) port { 3478:3479 } rdr-to $ps4 keep state
      pass in quick on $ext_if inet proto tcp to ($ext_if) port 3480 rdr-to $ps4 keep state
      # PS Vita remote play over internet
      pass in quick on $ext_if inet proto udp to ($ext_if) port 9304 rdr-to $ps4 keep state

      Reply
  5. Josh Post

    I’ve noticed when it comes to gaming consoles, and PC gaming clients, if you use a Gateway (Combination Modem/Router) you will have increased issues, due to the companies locking out features, and hardware not supporting gaming applications. Best setups to use are seperate modems and routers, where the modem is just a straight pass through, and the router is made within the last few years, where it will support the modern consoles and gaming clients. Like my router is a DIR 632 from Dlink and I never have a problem running gaming applications on my PC, xbox 360 or PS3. On the gateway I previously had, I had loads of issues. Its better to learn about networking, and do the connections yourself, rather than having the craptacular hardware from the ISP. Also, some ISPs don’t have support for gaming networks, and may not have the necessary bandwidth continuity. If they can provide a stable 1500 MTU to your house, then you should do fine.

    Reply
  6. scott

    Ok Question??? my nephews ps3 is NAT2 OPEN, COD black ops, in his room running off wireless (belkin router/modem)
    My ps3 is NAT2 MODERATE with same game, but i am using mine with the ethernet cable, also i have port forwarded my ps3 with a static IP,
    now is it possible to make both ps3s run OPEN,
    any help would be great cause i have searched over and over and cant seem to find anything
    cheers ppl

    Reply
    1. Bradley

      No. your using the exact same public Ip address for the 2 of you so the first one connected gets the direct ip the other gets “translated”.

      Reply
  7. Jessica

    i have a problem, on my ps3 for the game Resident evil orc on the navigation screen not until yesterday it sayd ‘ Nat type moderate online connectivity may be affected by your network settings’ i have nat type 2 but i called sony and they said i should get nat type 1 because its my internet that isnt letting me do parts in the game. i get invited but cant join and people cant join me either.. i called netgear (my router) and all they said was i needed to buy a 6month warranty to get a case number and be able to change my settings to get nat 1. is there any other way i can get it without spending money? this whole thing barely started yesterday and i dont know why.. any help please. i dont understand much of ‘Nat’

    Reply
    1. juan

      Well for its happenin with resident evil orc too ..and yeah its a pain in the it was strict but the Internet company help me out to open and restart the modem like 4 times after a long day of 5 hours it went to Nat 2 so called them see what they say

      Reply
      1. NAT 3

        I have a Belkin wireless router connected to a “i don’t even know” modem, I have dsl and want to know if a new Internet provider like Comcast could boost my NAT type considering the improved speed. However, when I use my Ethernet wire, the Belkin router is not in the mix. The only things it competes with for an ip;

        2 Laptops
        Desktop pc
        2 iPod touches
        Kindle fire

        Just wondering if I can get it to a 2 with comcast…

        Reply
  8. knock_o_u_t_

    I have NAT type 3. And i’m trying to change it to NAT 2. I have a belkin n600db. router. And I can’t open any ports.HELP!

    Reply
  9. Steven

    Please help! I have problems on playing Black ops.My modem is type 2,moderate.And I keep having problems while playing with other players.Is there any instructions on how to fix the connection?

    Reply
  10. Benjamin Collins

    I am with Bigpond and my PS3 has a Type 2 Strict NAT and my brothers XBox 360 has a Strict NAT too. I have a strict on MW2 and Black Ops and About a year ago before i got my ps3 my brother had a open NAT on MW2. What can we do to get an Open NAT? Please respond.
    Thanks,
    Benno

    Reply
  11. Glen Williams

    i have got COD black ops, running on a wireless connection, and it is NAT type 2 strict, what should i do???

    Reply
  12. krishafi

    i cant connect to my friend in mw3 and i can’t even start a voice chat with him. we have the same ISP (we live in the same building), both consoles have in game moderate Nat (NAT type 2 in the INTERNET connection test; necessary ports have been forwarded) as we don’t have private IP’s. According to this given matrix we should connect just fine so what can be the problem ? also recently my friend can’t complete console’s internet connection test, during PSN availability check the test fails but after quiting the test he has no problem in loging in and playing online. would it help if one of us/both got a private IP (extra monthly cost for internet services)

    Reply
  13. B.Matt

    Well I got a balkin router. I can hook my ipod, phone and computer but my ps3 wont. I tried everything and I don’t know what to do anymore. It connects to the ip address and everything else besides nat2 and internet connection. Everytime I hit something that requires the net opens up and says error. I don’t know if it has anything to do with nat2 but whatever it is I wanna know so I can download and play online. If anyone can please get back to me on this it would be very much appriciated.
    Thanx,

    Reply
  14. ali

    How come my xbox 360 has an open NAT type, yet my ps3 always has a strict NAT type?
    It’s so annoying.

    Reply
  15. Pingback: strict NAT type on black ops 2! router sagemcom F@st2504n - Page 2

  16. chris Post author

    Just to clarify the following NAT types are caused for the following reasons:

    Moderate – This means you haven’t set-up port forwarding (or used DMZ mode) to your PS3 for the following TCP/UDP ports required for CoD (I am not convinced it needs all of them):

    UDP – 81, 3074, 3075, 3478
    TCP – 80, 81, 443, 3074, 5223

    Strict – Your router is doing Port Address Translation on your TCP/UDP source port and is changing it. This is either caused by having multiple devices in the house trying to use the same source port or due to a stale NAT entry from an old session on your router/modem. The former can’t be avoided as one would be Open/Moderate and one would be Strict, but the latter can be fixed by reloading your router/modem. The other issue could be the way your router/modem is performing NAT and it might not be avoidable.

    Regards,
    Chris

    Reply
  17. Nathan

    HI, my nat type is open but when i try to connect my internet is ether slow or cant connect to people but on my computer it’s fine can someone help, please?

    Reply
  18. Josh

    I have a stricked NAT but i think it is because i have 2 routers. Its goes my ps3, to my wirless router, to the main router witch then gets the internet. Is it possible to get a open NAT with 2 routers???

    Reply
  19. GeorgiaRose

    I have an Belkin wireless router and my NAT type is strict how do I change it????

    Reply
  20. Jan Srebrnic

    In Black Ops and MW2 my NAT type is set to open, but my friend can’t join and I can’t join him. He gets this message: *** is not in a joinable lobby. My other friends can join me or invite me. The friend in question also has his NAT type set to open, so I have no idea what’s the problem. Any replies?

    Reply
  21. Bryce

    Some guy hacked into my old internet company and I got blamed for it. So after we delt with that my NAT was strict so I switched to BELL still strict so I switched to ROGERS and its still strict!! WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON!

    Reply
  22. Adel

    My PS3 has a Moderate Nat any way I can change it to open. Our net speed is 4 mb. Last 2 weeks it was fast but today its laggy. Any help please? :)

    Reply
  23. Philba23

    i have a nat type 2 but its strict and has been since i first joined psn, my internet is top notch of 200gb per month. my mate has the same router a ThomsonT827 but some how his is open and he runs his laptop and phone through it while playing but i have everything turned off and its still strict, its doing my head in and its ruining quality game time because me and my mates cant join to each other so if someone could spare some advice to me on how to change my nat i would be much obligied.

    Reply
  24. Ian O'Leary

    I wAs playin black ops 2 today and it said my nat was strict. Before playing I hooked my laptop up to my Internet… Is that the problem???

    Reply
  25. Gaza

    First off great post useful info. But what if your using a mobile as a modem im tethering on the 1 plan with 3 witch gives unlimited data I have a sony tipo when I sign into playstation network and go on black ops 2 my nat is either strict or modrate any help thanks in advance

    Reply
  26. Curtis Spark

    My ps3 has a Ethernet cable from the ps3 to my Computer and then the computer connects to the internet is that why I have a strict NAT type?

    Reply
  27. amin

    hi… i used to play mw3 like 5 months ago… it had its lag, but wasnt as bad as now. it always says this: the server is not available at this time. plz try again later. and also says visit: callofduty.com/mw3/status
    error code: 3404
    someone plz help me… im dying to play a round after all these past months

    Reply
  28. Jason

    First off thanks a lot Chris for explaining some interesting questions I would have asked about NAT Types… But, one thing that has not been asked is this. I have a NAT 2… Open… Everything is great… One thing is I host a lot of lobby’s and I have found that NAT 1 people have a serious issue connecting to my lobby’s. I am using a SMC wireless modem (all-in-one unit). Is there anyway in your opinion minus going and getting a modem without the wireless feature being built in to achieve a NAT 1 status? I have tried just about every option I can think of. Did port forwarding first (knew this would not affect NAT type but, did it anyhow) set a static port and set it as a DMZ port to something I knew would never get used *124*
    Like I said this is something that I can definitely live with as my connection is great, but would love to make it more convenient for everyone vs. those with NAT 2 connection.

    Thanks bud,

    Reply
  29. Kik

    Hi,

    I have a NAT Type 3 which leads to a Strict NAT on all CoD and which prevents me to join my friends online.
    On my RG I have put the PS3 on the DMZ, all ports are opened and redirected to the PS3 (which also has a fixed private IP).
    So I suspected that there was an issue with my ISP, which I contacted to understand if they could help me. They told me that my public IP was IPV6 and that probably was the reason was the PS3 was behaving strangely.
    What troubles me here is that all the website like whatismyip.com are giving me an IPV4 IP but when I look at my RG’s config it tells me : FRITZ!Box uses a DS-Lite tunnel, M-net VDSL / FTTH, IPv4 via DS Lite and it tells me that indeed I’m connected to the ISP using IPV6.

    Anyway, I don’t know what else I can do to get a moderate NAT again …
    Anyone would have an idea ?

    Thanks

    Reply

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