NAT 66 is Network Address Translation between 2 IPv6 network. The basic idea behind NAT 66 is no different than the regular NAT between IPv4 networks that we are all used to. The difference are in the mechanics of how it is performed, mainly because of the complexity and size of the addresses that are being dealt with.
In an IPv4 world, the reason for the use of NAT was usually one or a combination of the following 3 reasons:
- Improved security - actual addresses behind NAT are virtually hidden
- Amplification of addresses - hundreds of computers can use as little as a single public IP address
- Internal address stability - there is control of internal addressing. The addresses can stay the same even if Internet Service Providers change.
In these days of security awareness the protective properties of NAT are not something that are not normally depended on by themselves to defend a network and with the vastly enlarged IPv6 address scope there is no longer a need to amplify the available addresses. However, the desire to have internal address control still exists. The most common reason for using NAT66 is likely to be the maintaining of the existing address scheme of the internal network despite changes outside of it. Imagine that you have an internal network of 2000 IP addresses and one day the company changes its ISP and thus the addresses assigned to it. Even if most of the addressing is handled by DHCP, changing the address scheme is going to have an impact on operations.
Addressing stability can be achieved by:
- Keeping the same provider - this would depend on the reason for the change. If the cost of this provider has become too expensive this is unlikely. If the ISP is out of business it becomes impossible.
- Transfer the addresses from the old provider to the new one - There is little motivation for an ISP to do you a favor for not doing business with them.
- Get your own autonomous system number - this can be too expensive for smaller organizations.
- NAT - this is the only one on the list that is in the control of IT.
There are differences between NAT66 and IPv4 NAT. Because there is no shortage of addresses most organizations will be given a /48 network that can be translated into another /48 network. This allows for a one to one translation, no need for port forwarding. This is a good thing because port forwarding is more complicated in IPv6. In fact, NAT66 will actually just be the rewriting of the prefix on the address.
If your current IPv6 address is
you could change it to
There is an exception to the one to one translation. NAT66 cannot translate internal networks that contain 0xffff in bits 49 through 63 - this is due to the way checksums are calculated in TCP/IP: they use the one's-complement representation of numbers which assigns the value zero to both 0x0000 and 0xffff.