AnyConnect pioneered NAT Traversal protocols which later came to be known as STUN, TURN, and ICE.


what-is-nat

Routers create problems

  • The router remaps your home device IP address to a public IP address typically provided by your internet service provider.

NAT

Network Address Translation (NAT) is a technique by which a router remaps a public IP address space into a private IP address space by translating IP addresses in packet headers without altering packet contents.  NATs forward solicited packets to their destinations, and discard unsolicited packets.

PAT

Similarly, Port Address Translation (PAT) is a technique by which a router remaps a public port space into a private port space by modifying port numbers in packet headers without altering packet contents.

IP Masquerading

NAT and PAT (together, NAPT) enable IP masquerading, a technique by which many devices share a single public IP address.

NAT, PAT, and IP masquerading are ubiquitous. They’ve been essential to Internet growth by enabling:

  •  IP address space expansion
  •  Network management
  •  Network security

I can access a website, but I can’t make a video call.

NATs support device-to-server connections for services like email and web browsing, because email and web servers have public or port-forwarded IP addresses capable of receiving unsolicited packets to initiate connections from devices, and because NATs forward solicited packets to their destinations.

view-a-web-page

View a web page

1a. Initiate request from behind a NAT

1b. NAT maps the device IP address to a public IP address and forwards the request to a public server

2. Public server responds with data packets

3. NAT forwards the response to the device

But NATs break device-to-device connections for services like IoT, home automation, and video telephony, because when 2 devices are behind different NATs, neither NAT will forward unsolicited packets from the other, which prevents one device from initiating a connection to another.

Make a video call

1a. Initiatie request from behind a NAT

1b. NAT maps the device IP address to a public IP address and forwards the request to the peer device. The request hits a NAT at the receiving end. This unsolicited request is blocked by the receiving NAT.


STUN, TURN, and ICE

In the world of IP communications, devices trying to connect, i.e. make a call over the internet are known as endpoints. Typically, endpoints reside behind NATs and hence it is difficult to discover the public IP addresses of endpoints. The endpoint initiating a call is known as caller. The endpoint receiving the call is known as callee.

STUN

  • Session Traversal Utilities for NAT (STUN) protocol enables a device to discover its public IP address.
  • If the public IP address of both the caller and callee is discovered it is possible to establish a direct connection between the caller and callee, typically known as a peer-to-peer call.
  • AnyConnect’s STUN solution provides 95% peer-to-peer connectivity, the best in the industry.

TURN

  • Traversal Using Relays around NAT (TURN) protocol enables a server to relay data packets between devices.
  • If the public IP address of both the caller and callee is not discovered, TURN provides a fallback technique to relay the call between endpoints.
  • The frequency of TURN cases with AnyConnect’s TURN solution is estimated to be under 5%.

ICE

  • Interactive Connectivity Establishment (ICE) protocol enables devices to communicate its public IP address and connect to other devices.
  • AnyConnect’s ICE solution is optimized for best connection setup time and least latency in the industry

NAT Traversal

NAT Traversal is a computer networking methodology which establishes and maintains device-to-device connections across routers that implement NAT.  NAT Traversal is required for network applications that require device-to-device connections, such as file sharing, VoIP and video telephony, and IoT.

1. STUN binding
2. Caller TURN allocation
3. Caller sends invite
4. Callee TURN allocation
5. Callee answers OK
6. Exchange candidate IP addresses
7a. ICE check for P2P connection
7b. If P2P unsuccessful, make relay connection

Related products

Following open standard protocols.

  • RFC 5245 – Interactive Connectivity Establishment (ICE): A Protocol for Network Address Translator (NAT) Traversal for Offer/Answer Protocols
  • RFC 5389 – Session Traversal Utilities for NAT (STUN)
  • RFC 5766 –Traversal Using Relays around NAT (TURN): Relay Extensions to Session Traversal Utilities for NAT (STUN)
  • RFC 5768 – Indicating Support for Interactive Connectivity Establishment (ICE) in the Session Initiation Protocol (SIP)
  • RFC 5928 – Traversal Using Relays around NAT (TURN) Resolution Mechanism
  • RFC 6062 – Traversal Using Relays around NAT (TURN) Extensions for TCP Allocations
  • RFC 6156 – Traversal Using Relays around NAT (TURN) Extension for IPv6
  • RFC 6336 – IANA Registry for Interactive Connectivity Establishment (ICE) Options
  • RFC 6544 – TCP Candidates with Interactive Connectivity Establishment (ICE)

Compliant with industry standards.

  • IETF (officially founded STUN. TURN, and ICE)
  • IP Multimedia Subsystem
  • Open Interconnect Consortium (OIC)
  • WebRTC

Patents in multiple countries.

  • Canada – 2,476,722 & 2,761,983
  • China – ZL02805239.0
  • Europe – 1 362 460
  • India – 224961
  • Japan – 3917076
  • Korea – 10-949510
  • UK – 1362460
  • USA – 7,522,594 & 7,602,784

100+ M

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