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Network Address Translation

NPF supports various forms of network address translation (NAT). The translation may be dynamic (stateful) or static (stateless). This includes includes traditional NAT (known as NAPT or masquerading), bi-directional NAT and port forwarding (redirection). Static NAT currently supports simple 1:1 mapping of IPv4 addresses and IPv6-to-IPv6 network prefix translation (NPTv6). NAT64 (the protocol translation) is planned for a future release of NPF. It should be remembered that dynamic NAT, as a concept, relies on stateful filtering, therefore it is performing it implicitly.

NAT rules are expressed in a form of segment mapping:

map	= "map" interface
	  ( "static" [ "algo" algorithm ] | "dynamic" )
	  net-seg ( "->" | "<-" | "<->" ) net-seg
	  [ "pass" [ proto ] filt‐opts ]

The following is an example configuration fragment of a traditional NAPT setup:

map $ext_if dynamic $localnet -> $ext_if

group "external" on $ext_if {
  pass stateful out final proto tcp from $localnet

The first line enables traditional NAPT (keyword map) on the interface specified by $ext_if for all packets from the network defined in $localnet to any other network (, where the address to translate to is the (only) one on the interface $ext_if (it may be specified directly as well, and has to be specified directly if the interface has more than one IPv4 address).

The arrow indicates the translation type, which can be one of the following:

The rule pass ... permits all outgoing packets from the specified network. It additionally has stateful tracking enabled with the keyword stateful. Therefore, any incoming packets belonging to the connections which were created by initial outgoing packets will be implicitly passed.

The following two lines are example fragments of bi-directional NAT and port 8080 forwarding to a local IP address, port 80:

map $ext_alt_if dynamic $local_host_1 <-> $ext_alt_if
map $ext_if dynamic $local_host_2 port 80 <- $ext_if port 8080

In the examples above, NPF determines the filter criteria from the segments on the left and right hand side implicitly. Filter criteria can be specified explicitly using an optional pass ... syntax in conjunction with map. In such case the criteria has to be full, i.e. for both the source and the destination. For example:

map $ext_if dynamic port 8080 <- \
    pass from to $rdr_ip port 80

This rule would redirect traffic only from host with destination port 80 and according destination address. The left hand side (as it is inbound NAT), according to the arrow, is used as a translation address. It should be noted that the right hand side is ignored (and thus can be as the filter criteria is specified explicitly.

The following lines illustrate a static NAT rule which performs IPv6 Network Prefix Translation (NPTv6), as described in RFC 6296:

$net6_inner = fd01:203:405::/48
$net6_outer = 2001:db8:1::/48

map $ext_if static algo npt66 $net6_inner <-> $net6_outer