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NAT with IPsec Phase 2 Networks

As of pfSense® software version 2.1, there is support for NAT on IPsec Phase 2 networks.


NAT is configured using the options on Phase 2 directly under the local network specification.

In the Upper section of the Local Network settings, Type and Address specify the actual local network (such as the LAN network).

In the Lower section of the Local Network settings, Type and Address specify the translated network which will be seen by the far side.

For example, connecting to a Vendor where they want the pfSense router to use, but the LAN is actually, set the top box to Network, enter into the address entry box, then select Network in the lower box and put into the address entry box.

NAT Types

There are two main modes for NAT with IPsec:

  1. Binat - 1:1 NAT - When both the actual and translated local networks use the same subnet mask, they will be directly translated to one another inbound and outbound. Can also be used for single addresses.

  2. NAT - Overload/PAT Style - Local network is a subnet, but the translated address is a single IP. Works for outbound connections only.

NAT+IPsec cannot be configured between two differently sizes subnets (such as a /24 to a /27).

Firewall Rules

NAT is processed before firewall rules, so firewall rules on the IPsec tab refer to the actual LAN subnet

Remote End Notes

The far side of the tunnel does not need any knowledge of the actual LAN network. Their tunnel is built between their local network and the translated post-NAT network.

Packet Capturing Quirk

In a packet capture, the actual address will be shown on outbound traffic, not the translated address. This does not indicate any problem.