Carrier-Grade NAT for Service Providers

The Challenge

The worldwide proliferation of wireless and Internet-enabled devices has rapidly depleted IPv4 addresses. Asia, Europe, North America, and Latin America have already exhausted their IPv4 allotments, and Africa is expected to exhaust its allotment by 2019. 64 percent of all fixed and mobile network devices will be IPv6-capable by 2022, up from 32 percent in 2017 (Cisco Visual Networking Index: Forecast and Trends, 2017–2022. 2019).

Service providers are challenged with supporting and managing existing IPv4 devices and content in the network, while at the same time transitioning to support newer IPv6 devices and applications. Because IPv6 devices and content are not backward compatible with IPv4, any IPv6 migration strategy needs to support the coexistence of IPv4 and IPv6 during the transition.

The Solution

F5 BIG-IP Carrier-Grade NAT (CGNAT) offers a broad set of high-performance, highly scalable tools that enable service providers to successfully migrate to IPv6 while continuing to support and interoperate with IPv4 devices and content. In addition, BIG-IP CGNAT provides extensive, flexible, high-speed logging capabilities along with support for IPFIX, which compresses NAT logging. This in turn reduces the amount of data per log entry and minimizes overall costs.

BIG-IP CGNAT offers tunneling solutions, including Dual-Stack Lite (DS Lite) capabilities that allow support for legacy IPv4 endpoints in the IPv6 network. DS Lite capabilities consist of endpoint IPv4 packets being encapsulated in an IPv6 tunnel and sent to an external IPv4 destination through the network. Another tunneling service, IPv6 rapid deployment (6rd) enables networks on IPv4 to communicate with IPv6 addresses without upgrading hardware.

BIG-IP CGNAT also provides network address translation (NAT) functionality, enabling continued delivery of IPv4 connectivity while handling high numbers of concurrent sessions as service providers manage IPv4 address depletion and plan for a seamless migration to IPv6. F5 BIG-IP CGNAT functionality includes NAT44, to primarily focus on extending the use of IPv4 addresses in the network, as well as NAT64, enabling IPv6 endpoints to seamlessly and transparently access IPv4 content and destinations.

BIG-IP CGNAT also supports 464XLAT and DNS64 which uses DNS AAAA records so IPv6 hosts can see IPv4 destinations as IPv6 addresses.

Combine BIG-IP CGNAT with BIG-IP Advanced Firewall Manager (AFM) to protect the network against threats that enter via the most widely deployed protocols. 

F5 Helps You:
  • Manage address depletion and IPv6 migration with flexible deployment options
  • Optimize network performance with carrier-grade performance and scalability
  • Reduce server quantities and management costs
Diagram of F5 BIG-IP Carrier-Grade NAT (CGNAT)