So I recently noticed I faced double Network Address Translation (NAT) issues on my Google WiFi setup, configured with a two-Google WiFi router implementation.
This was especially apparent when I was trying to print a few documents wirelessly, and the printer was connected to my second network while my phone wasn't.
After facing multiple issues with important meetings via VoIP calls and while playing games online, I figured I should find a way around this problem.
To fix Double NAT issues on your router system that includes a Google WiFi, the recommended method is to remove the router provided by the ISP from the system and instead connect the Google WiFi router directly. Enabling bridge mode can also help bypass double NAT.
What is Double NAT?
Network Address Translation (NAT) is an important process performed by WiFi routers, in order to perform tasks designated to them via multiple connecting devices.
Basically, NAT enables a single IP address to represent all the devices connected for network-related tasks.
NAT assigns a single public address to a device (usually a router) that connects to multiple devices, enabling it to act as an intermediary between the public and private networks.
This restricts the number of public IP addresses used, thus enhancing security whilst simplifying the system.
A Double NAT or double routing, as the name suggests is just two such devices or routers performing NAT simultaneously.
This usually happens when you have two routers connected to the same modem, and both routers are designated to perform NAT.
Double NAT isn't necessarily an issue in most use cases, as it doesn't affect your WiFi performance.
But if you are using multiple devices across both routers, you might face niche issues, especially during tasks where constant communication is a priority.
The various instances you might face issues with double NAT are listed below:
- Frequent disconnections during online multiplayer gaming.
- One-way audio.
- Unsuccessful call transfers.
- Frequent call drops.
- Failed call transfers.
- Frequent deregistration of the phone.
Do note that this list has the most common issues faced, and is not limited to only the exact problems mentioned.
How to Bypass Double NAT?
It is technically possible to bypass Double NAT, but since this is a hardware-related issue there isn't a whole lot you can do on the software end.
The most logical and recommended method is to just remove a router from the setup to easily bypass the whole double NAT check.
This step might seem rudimentary, but it does make a lot of sense especially if the extra router serves no purpose in your setup.
You can go about removing a router from the system in two main ways.
If the Router and Modem Are Separate Devices
The modem is an integral part of a networking system, and in most cases, the modem is a separate entity along with the router,
Check whether your Router and Modem are separate components in your networking system.
This is the most popular configuration due to the increasing demand for third-party router solutions such as Google WiFi.
If you are in doubt, it is best to contact your Internet Service Provider (ISP).
Once clarified that they are separate devices, chances are that the installation team for your Google WiFi might have chained it to the ISP's router.
If you have hooked up your Google WiFi router to the router provided by your ISP, then you can simply proceed to remove that from the system.
In order to properly remove your ISP's router from the modem and connect your Google WiFi directly, follow the steps given below:
- Power off the routers.
- Unplug your ISP's router from the modem.
- Connect the Google WiFi router directly to the modem.
- Power on the router.
This removes the added dummy component that is your ISP's router and negates any double NAT issues in the future.
You can also contact your ISP and return the router in order to save on a yearly or monthly fee that is usually charged for the router.
If the Router and Modem Are a Single Unit or if You Need Both Routers
After enquiring with your ISP, if they claim that the router and modem are a single unit for your case then you might need to enable bridge mode to bypass NAT.
This is also valid for cases where you need both routers in your network system, for very niche cases depending on your personal preferences.
Unfortunately, this is not as recommended as simply removing a router from the system, as enabling bridge mode can open up some security issues.
But if double NAT is a very annoying issue in your networking system with Google WiFi, then this can be a worthy method to try.
Bridge mode is a feature that lets you connect two routers together, by essentially turning the enabled router into a switch to extend port access.
If you have a single-unit router and modem combo, then you can simply enable bridge mode on that unit in order to connect your Google WiFi to it.
To do just that, simply follow the steps below:
- Make sure your Google WiFi router is set up and paired with your Google Home app on your phone or tablet.
- Open the Google Home app.
- Tap on WiFi and open the settings option by clicking on the settings gear.
- Tap on Advanced Networking.
- Click on Network mode.
- Select your Google WiFi router from the resultant list.
- Toggle Bridge mode on and tap on save.
- Connect your router and modem unit to a computer, using the WiFi from the router or using an ethernet cable.
This works on your phone too, but the settings layout can be crammed, and sometimes you won't be able to access all settings options reliably.
- Log into the gateway portal of your router and modem combo.
This process is different for different router manufacturers, but the most common method is to go to a browser and search for 192.168.1.1 in the address bar
- Log in with your router and modem combo unit credentials.
These vary depending on the model of the router and are usually found on the body of the unit. If in doubt, it is best to contact your ISP for accurate details
- Search for the Bridge Mode Setting under the Wireless or Advanced tab.
The layout of the settings also varies drastically between each router model, but if the router supports bridge mode then you can find the settings there.
- Enter the settings, SSID, and WiFi password of the Google WiFi you want to connect to.
- Tap on Apply.
This will properly set up bridge mode on your device and will help you to properly use both your model and router combo unit and Google WiFi together.
Do note that enabling bridge mode can lead to a series of security flaws in your system and certain options will be disabled.
The notable options that can't be used with bridge mode enabled are as follows:
- You will lose mesh network capabilities.
- Changing DNS settings will be unavailable.
- Guest WiFi cant be configured.
- WAN settings cant be edited.
- Some smart home devices, such as Philips Hue will not work as intended.
But the system is still well secure from attacks, and for users wanting to get rid of double NAT, the pros will probably outweigh the cons.
Double NAT is an issue many faces when they have multiple devices connecting to a two-router system.
Fortunately, Google WiFi supports bridge modern and therefore is compatible with the fix one needs to bypass double NAT.
I hope my article on double NAT and how you can fix the various double NAT issues with your Google WiFi setup has been a helpful read and has aided you with the same.
Have a good day!
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Does Double NAT on Google WiFi cause packet loss?
Double NAT on Google WiFi routers does not cause packet loss.
Can a VPN bypass double NAT?
A VPN can only bypass Carrier Grade Network Address Translation (CGNAT), usually found in cellular networks, and cannot be used to bypass a double NAT.
Is Double NAT a problem in the long term?
Double NAT poses no hidden issues and is not necessarily a problem as it doesn't affect WiFi performance or connectivity.
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