Is Double NAT Bad for Gaming

Double NAT is generally not desirable for gaming. Most often you connect to the internet through a single router that carries a public IP address assigned by your internet service provider (ISP) and creates an internal private network for your devices to connect using a private IP address. Double NAT occurs when there are two routers connected both using private IP addresses.

Very often this occurs when you connect your own router to a router provided by your ISP. This can also occur if your ISP used carrier grade NAT (CGNAT). CGNAT is most commonly used by cellular and satellite internet providers.

Double NAT Gaming

Why Double NAT is Bad for Gaming

Double NAT can cause issues, especially with gaming as it prevents the devices connected to the first private network from communicating to the connected devices to the second private network. Double NAT will most often result in a strict NAT type on Xbox One / Series X / Series S and a NAT type 3 on PlayStation 4 / 5 consoles.

Services that require port forwarding will not be able to communicate through a double NAT environment. You will in most cases not be able to be the host since other games will not be able to properly connect to your session. Additionally features such as voice chat may not work properly with double NAT.

How to Fix Double NAT

The most common way to fix the issue is to put your ISP’s gateway into bridge mode. Bridge mode disables all router functionality and make your gateway operate purely as a modem, passing its pubic IP address to your router. This is often the easiest way to fix double NAT. However there are other ways of fixing double NAT.

Enable Bridge Mode on Your ISP Gateway

If you are using your own router you do not want router functionality enabled on the internet modem from your ISP. In this situation call your ISP and ask them to put your modem into bridge mode. Once your modem is in bridge mode you will not have a double NAT. Your router will be the only device on the network performing NAT. This in most cases is sufficient to fix the double NAT situation. If your ISP cannot put the modem into bridge mode you may also have the option of replacing the modem with a model that does not have router functions built in. This will also fix a double NAT situation.

ISP Gateway

Replace Your ISP’s Gateway With a Straight Modem

Another option that will work for some people is to replace the gateway provided by their ISP with a straight modem. A modem has no routing functions and will pass your public IP address directly to your router and eliminate the double NAT problem. Depending on if you rent or own the gateway you use with your internet service you have a couple of options.

If you rent the gateway from your ISP you can reach out to them and ask if they could swap out your gateway with a straight modem. Most ISP’s will offer this option. Comcast, Spectrum, Verizon, and AT&T all offer this option.

If you own the gateway device that you use to connect to the internet you may want to consider replacing it with a straight modem if you wish to use a separate router. Contact your ISP for a list of approved modems. The modem you purchase will need to be approved to work with your internet service provider (ISP) in order for them to activate it on their network.

If you currently rent a gateway from your ISP this may be a good reason to consider purchasing your own modem. My purchasing your own modem you will eliminate the rental fee off your monthly internet bill. This could range anywhere from $7 – $20 per month depending on the provider. In many cases purchasing your own modem will pay for itself in just a few months. Contact your ISP for a list of approved modems. Check out our modem recommendation below.

Recommended modem for Comcast, Spectrum, Cox, Mediacom, and Atlantic Broadband. Compatible with all speed tiers including gigabit plans.

ARRIS SURFboard SB8200 DOCSIS 3.1 Gigabit Cable Modem

This is the ideal option if you wish to use your own router as it eliminates the possibility of having a double NAT issue entirely.

Eliminate Any Additional Routers

If you determine that your ISP provided modem is in bridge mode or does not have a built in router and you are still getting having double NAT issues look to see if there are any other routers connected to your network. In some cases people will install a second router in an attempt to extend their WiFi coverage. This can also create a double NAT situation. If this is the case, once again the best solution is to remove the second router from the equation. If you need the extended WiFi range look into replacing the router with a wireless access point. Some routers also give you the option to configure them as wireless access points. If your router has that option you may be able to reconfigure it rather than replacing it with a wireless access point.

Change Internet Service Providers

The other scenario where it is common to encounter double NAT is when using a cellular based internet connection. Generally cell phone carriers use a technology known as carrier grade NAT (CGNAT). CGNAT is a technology that works the same way as NAT but is used on a larger scale. Unfortunately for online gaming CGNAT on the carriers side plus the NAT taking place on your mobile hotspot device or smartphone results in a double NAT environment. Generally mobile hotspots are not a good option for gaming for many reasons. If you do not have any other option other than a cellular connection you may not be able to eliminate the double NAT. Starlink satellite internet service also uses CGNAT technology and will result in a double NAT.

Use a VPN Service to Fix Double NAT

Another option that can be used to fix double NAT is to use a VPN service with a public IP address. This is a great option if you are unable to get a straight modem and absolutely want to use your own router connected to your ISP’s gateway. This option works work especially well if you only have a single device such as a gaming PC that is having the issue. The key to success with this option is to use a quality VPN service provider. A free VPN will do more harm than good in this situation. You will need to invest a few dollars per month into a VPN service.

If your ISP uses CGNAT a VPN is likely the only way to eliminate double NAT issues. If you are connecting to the internet using a mobile hotspot, satellite provider such as Starlink or HughesNet, or a fixed wireless connection, your ISP almost certainly uses CGNAT technology. Bridge mode alone will not work with CGNAT.

The VPN service that I use and would highly recommend is ExpressVPN. I have tested over 15 different VPN services ranging from great to terrible. ExpressVPN is the fastest and most reliable VPN service that I have tested. They also offer a 30 day money back guarantee. If you do not like the service, you do not pay anything at all. Another bonus to ExpressVPN is that they offer servers globally which can be used to access geo-restricted content. If you wish to access for example region specific streaming services ExpressVPN is a great option.

Try ExpressVPN Risk Free for 30 Days

Another VPN option that works well at fixing double NAT and is less expensive is NordVPN. Much like ExpressVPN they also offer a 30 day money back guarantee. If you do not like the service, you do not pay anything at all. Another benefit to NordVPN is that they offer servers globally which can be used to access geo-restricted content. If you wish to access for example region specific streaming services NordVPN is a great option.

Try NordVPN Risk Free for 30 Days

Learn More About NAT: Gamers Ultimate Guide to NAT Type

FAQ

What is a double NAT

Double NAT is when you have more than one router on your network connected together both performing NAT. With double NAT router 1 converts your public IP address to a private IP address and router 2 converts your private IP address into another private IP address.

Is Double NAT Bad

Double NAT generally does not cause any issues. Double NAT is not desirable for gaming as it can cause connection issues. Double NAT can also make some services unavailable such as voice chat and generally results in a strict NAT type. Port forwarding does not work with double NAT.

What Causes a Double NAT

Double NAT is caused by having more than one router on your network connected together. With double NAT router 1 converts your public IP address to a private IP address and router 2 converts your private IP address into another private IP address. Eliminate a router or using bridge mode.

Can You Play Xbox with Double NAT

Double NAT occurs when you have two or more routers connected to each other, Very often this is because you have your own router plugged into a router provided by your internet service provider (ISP). This will create communication issues that will negatively impact your Xbox gaming experience.

Benefits of Double NAT

Generally there are no advantages to double NAT. The only situation where double NAT could be useful is for connecting separate networks to a single internet connection. There are however better ways to set this up using VLANs. Double NAT should be avoided if at all possible.

Does Double NAT Cause Latency

Double NAT can add some additionally latency to your gaming, however usually the effect is minimal. Some applications will not work properly with double NAT. Eliminate a router or put your ISP gateway into bridge mode to eliminate the Double NAT.

Does Open Nat Reduce Ping

No open NAT does not reduce ping. Open NAT does make it easier to connect to online gaming services. Open NAT is also beneficial if you want to be the host since other players will easily be able to connect to your gaming session. Some gaming features require open NAT.

Does Double NAT Reduce Speed

Generally no, double NAT will not reduce your download or upload speed. However if your router’s CPU is overloaded double NAT could have a negative effect on your download speed. Double NAT is best avoided anyways as it can cause other issues with online gaming.