Lag death is the worst thing that can happen to an online gamer. But did you know that it’s not always caused by slow network speed? Contrary to popular belief, often the problem is related to your NAT type and cannot be resolved with a simple phone call to your ISP.
But before you willy-nilly start changing your NAT type, it’s important to understand what the purpose of NAT is, its different types, and how to check which NAT type you’re currently running on Windows 11. Here’s everything you need to know about it.
What is NAT and what does it do?
Network Address Translation or NAT is a network system that allows you to change your local IP address to broader Internet addresses. This is how you can use one IP address on many devices on the same local network.
NAT, which works as part of a router, basically turns your router into an intermediate link between your local network and the wider Internet. However, there is not only one NAT. In fact, there are three of them, which differ from each other in speed and safety. Depending on what you prefer, you can choose from three. But what is it and why do you prefer one over the other? Here’s another.
Different types of NAT and which one to choose
There are three different types of NAT: open, moderate, and strict. Only by their names can you tell what they have to offer. Here’s what you need to know about all of them.
This is the most liberal type of NAT. There is no data limit, and all ports are open to transfer data packets to your device, which guarantees speed. The open type of NAT also easily connects to other types of NAT. But there’s also no firewall, which means you’re vulnerable to malware, online hacks, and other types of online threats. But if your priority is a smooth Internet experience without buffering or delays, an open NAT type is best.
The second type of NAT is slightly more secure. There are several open ports which, together with a firewall, go a long way in securing your network. But this security comes at the cost of speed. Compared to open NAT, you may experience some buffer and latency with moderate NAT.
Last but not least, except for speed, is strict NAT. Because this type of NAT prioritizes security, speed is usually the first trade-off. With this type of NAT, you will experience some latency and buffering, as well as some networking issues. It will also only connect to open NAT types, which can lead to even more problems on the network. But since they are the best at preventing online attacks, it is usually the NAT type that is set by default on most routers.
Knowing the purpose of the three types of NAT will help you make a decision based on their risk/reward ratio and your preferences. As you already understood, open NAT is the least secure of all, but also the fastest. While strict NAT is the most secure and the slowest. Moderate NAT occupies an intermediate position between them.
How to Check NAT Type in Windows 11
With all that said, how can you check what your current NAT type is? Here are some ways.
Method 1: Use the Xbox Console Companion app
The Xbox Console Companion app provides the easiest way to check your NAT type. To do this, click “Start”, type “Xbox” and select “Xbox Console Companion “.
If you don’t have the Xbox console companion app, open the Microsoft Store from the Start menu. Then find the Xbox Console Companion App and select it.
Click “Get “.
Once installed, click Open .
In the console’s companion app, click Settings (gear icon) in the sidebar.
Then click on the Network tab.
Wait for the app to connect and receive data.
Now you will see your NAT type.
Method 2: in the router settings
You can also check your NAT type on your router’s settings page. Here’s how to do it:
First, click Start, type CMD , then right-click on the best match and select Run as administrator.
Enter the following command:
Press Enter. Find the default gateway and note the number next to it.
Then open a browser, type this number in the address bar and press Enter.
The settings page for your router will open. Enter the router username and password provided by your ISP and click ” Login “.
Now we are looking for the NAT type in the router settings. Depending on your router settings, you may or may not see a highlighted “NAT” settings option.
If you don’t see a specific NAT setting, you can still check it if you see a “Firewall” setting.
Here, if it is set to “High”, it means your NAT type is strict. If it’s set to Medium, it’s Moderate NAT, and if it’s set to Low, your NAT type is Open.
Frequently asked Questions
Checking your network’s NAT type can be a little tricky if you don’t know where to look and what the various settings mean. In this section, we answer several frequently asked questions about the same.
What type of NAT is best?
Choosing the best NAT type is completely relative. What works for you may not work for the next guy. If you’re a gamer who doesn’t want any latency or buffering while playing, open NAT is your best bet. But if you value security above all else, then the Strict NAT type will suit you best. For those in between, Moderate NAT should do the trick.
Is it possible to change the NAT type?
While most routers currently use the default NAT type Strict, you can change the NAT types to suit your needs. Just make sure you know what the trade-offs are for the type of NAT you want to migrate to.
Does open NAT reduce latency?
Open NAT opens all ports and lets through all data packets that are sent to your device. Because of this, open NAT reduces latency and is the best choice if you are going to play online.
We hope you now understand the difference between the three NAT types and how to check the current NAT type.