Analyzing and reducing the impact of traffic on large-scale NAT

Ryoichi Kawahara*, Tatsuya Mori, Takeshi Yada, Noriaki Kamiyama

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We investigate the impact of traffic on the performance of large-scale NAT (LSN), since it has been attracting attention as a means of better utilizing the limited number of global IPv4 addresses. We focus on the number of active flows because they drive up the LSN memory requirements in two ways; more flows must be held in LSN memory, and more global IPv4 addresses must be prepared. Through traffic measurement data analysis, we found that more than 1% of hosts generated more than 100 TCP flows or 486 UDP flows at the same time, and on average, there were 1.43-3.99 active TCP flows per host, when the inactive timer used to clear the flow state from a flow table was set to 15 s. When the timer is changed from 15 s to 10 min, the number of active flows increases more than tenfold. We also investigate how to reduce the above impact on LSN in terms of saving memory space and accommodating more users for each global IPv4 address. We show that to save memory space, regulating network anomalies can reduce the number of active TCP flows on an LSN by a maximum of 48.3% and by 29.6% on average. We also discuss the applicability of a batch flow-arrival model for estimating the variation in the number of active flows, when taking into account that the variation is needed to prepare an appropriate memory space. One way to allow each global IPv4 address to accommodate more users is to better utilize destination IP address information when mapping a source IP address from a private address to a global IPv4 address. This can effectively reduce the required number of global IPv4 addresses by 85.9% for TCP traffic and 91.9% for UDP traffic on average.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2815-2827
Number of pages13
JournalIEICE Transactions on Communications
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2012 Sept
Externally publishedYes


  • Large scale NAT
  • Number of active flows
  • Traffic measurement

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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