& cplSiteName &

Stateful NAT64 Performance

Light Reading
Series Column
Light Reading
2/5/2012
50%
50%

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: Cisco’s CRS-1 loaded with four CGSE cards successfully translated IPv6 traffic to IPv4 at 4 million translations per second. The same system scaled up to 78.4Gbit/s at a total of 67,107,840 translations with almost no loss.


While the industry embraces IPv6 now more than ever, it also recognizes that IPv4 services are not going away soon. The Internet is an obvious example where IPv4 addresses are going to be used for years to come. Cloud applications will use those addresses as well.

While data centers will have different IP migration strategies, they will likely look to serve both IPv4- and IPv6-based customers. Long-term strategies will include native IPv6 throughout the data center, but in the short term a complete IPv6 strategy might not be practical.

For this reason service providers and cloud operators are likely to find themselves needing to deploy Network Address Translation (NAT) from IPv6 users to IPv4 services (NAT64). Let's say an enterprise is building a brand-new large-scale office and wants to use unique IP addressing. The carrier could provide this adventurous customer with IPv6 addresses to use for internal hosts and servers. In order to communicate with the Internet, which at this point is still IPv4 heavy, the carrier could install a NAT64 device somewhere between the customer and their services to translate the IPv6 addressing to IPv4 before sending the datagrams to the Internet. Another example is the rollout of mobile services en masse using IPv6, to customers who still plan to access IPv4 services, including cloud services.

Cisco claimed to be ready for these scenarios -- delivering IPv4 services to IPv6 customers -- at scale. Since we have already reported results on Cisco's stateless NAT 64 capabilities we wanted to use this opportunity to verify Cisco's stateful NAT64 performance claims -- that by placing four Carrier-Grade Services Engine (CSGE) modules into a single CRS-1, we could scale up to 60 million NAT64 translations, at 4 million translations per second, all while transmitting up to 80Gbit/s of data.

Would any carrier need this performance? Probably not anytime soon, but we have learned that those who purchase large-scale core routers want to know that they can use their significant financial investment for a while.

Given the scale, we looked to verify each metric separately. Even with this divide-and-conquer approach, NAT can become complex to test. Cisco explained, and showed, that when their NAT64 implementation chooses an IPv4 address to map to an incoming IPv6 request, it is done at random. Now imagine manually configuring the tester for 60 million mappings, when all 60 million incoming requests are given random IPv4 addresses -- clearly this was not the way to go.

One alternative that we considered was to use stateful traffic using Ixia's IxLoad application, but emulating up to 60 million sessions would have required a significant amount of very high-performance test equipment -- again, not really a workable option. The solution we used involved Ixia's IxNetwork generating stateless traffic, with the appropriate TCP fields set to emulate a stateful session (TCP SYN/TCP ACKs). Since Cisco’s implementation randomly assigned TCP port numbers and IPv4 addresses to incoming IPv6 requests, we schemed to simply exhaust the entire pool of resources on the CRS-1. This way we were able to predict which addresses and ports would be used -- it would be all of them. If your head is spinning, we hope the following diagram will help.

To summarize, we sent client traffic from 1,024 IPv6 addresses -- each of whom opened 65,535 TCP sessions. In fact, this brought us to a total of 67,107,840 translations on the CRS-1. We sent traffic in return toward all 960 IPv4 addresses, each with all 65,535 TCP port numbers, as was configured in the CRS-1 pool. All traffic used IMIX frame sizes -- 122:7, 512:4, 1500:1 (106 in place of 122 on the IPv4 side) at a rate of 38.4Gbit/s toward the clients and 40Gbit/s toward the servers, all across four 10-Gigabit Ethernet links. Once the configuration was pre-staged and verified to be working, we could breathe a sigh of relief.

As we started the official test run we recorded only a small amount of loss -- 0.002 percent on eight of the 16 flows configured from the IPv6 emulated clients toward the IPv4 emulated servers. The other four of such flows ran with no loss, and no flows in the return direction observed any loss either. Considering that we had planned to only test 60 million translations rather than 67,107,840, the loss was considered very minimal. We also verified, using the CRS-1 Command Line Interface (CLI) that all expected translations appeared in the enormous translation table. We also measured latency. The maximum latency values were not very surprising given the translation work to be done by the CRS-1, but in general, given that the latency also included the seven other devices in the test bed, the average latency was quite low.

Next was performance. How quickly could these translations be built in hardware? Now that our test methodology was proven, we felt safe clearing the NAT table on the CRS-1. After doing so, we lowered all frame sizes to 150 bytes so we could increase the frame rate to 4 million frames per second -- 1 million frames per second on each of the four 10-Gigabit Ethernet ports. In order to add realism to the test we configured IxNetwork to randomly assign TCP ports to the IPv6 flows, so that they were not sequential. This however required that we also lower the total number of ports to 13,824, bringing the number of translations to 56,622,848 in total. We ran the test for two minutes without loss.

After some pretty long nights of some complex configuration, we had finally established a test that was able to verify the rate, translation capacity, and throughput of Cisco’s NAT64 solution. Impressive.


Next Page: IPv6 Rapid Deployment (RD) Performance
Previous Page: Intro: Cloud Intelligent Networks


Back to the Cisco Test Main Page

(1)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
TJ Evans
50%
50%
TJ Evans,
User Rank: Light Beer
6/17/2013 | 7:28:06 PM
re: Stateful NAT64 Performance
Are any numbers available for NAT64 performance on slightly more moderate platforms, ASR1k, ASR9k, etc.?
From The Founder
NFV's promises of automation and virtualization are intriguing, but what really excites service providers is the massive amount of money they could save.
Flash Poll
Live Streaming Video
Charting the CSP's Future
Six different communications service providers join to debate their visions of the future CSP, following a landmark presentation from AT&T on its massive virtualization efforts and a look back on where the telecom industry has been and where it's going from two industry veterans.
LRTV Documentaries
Phone Review: Moto Z2 Play

8|22|17   |   1:54   |   (0) comments


Light Reading Mobile Editor Dan Jones reviews the Moto Z2 Play, which he calls 'a nice modern Android phone with good battery life and one of the nicest cameras' he's seen. The Moto Z2 Play is a Gigabit LTE-ready phone, but we were not able to test speeds that fast in the US.
LRTV Documentaries
Three Gets Smart(y), BT Invokes Twitter – The Recap

8|21|17   |     |   (0) comments


From Telecoms.com, a recap of the week's telecoms talking points. It's been a week of gimmicks as Three tests out a pay-as-you-go sub-brand called Smarty; Comcast
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
VMWare VP Brings Women Up With Her

8|16|17   |   6:49   |   (1) comment


It's an art and a science to make mentorship, inclusive leadership, diversity and promotion of high-potential women work, says Honore' LaBourdette, vice president of Global Market Development at VMWare.
LRTV Documentaries
5G Spectrum Wars – The Recap

8|15|17   |   2:22   |   (0) comments


Service provider 3 has filed a lawsuit against Ofcom over 5G spectrum auction in the UK.
LRTV Custom TV
Say What? Facebook Unleashes AI Anarchy – The Recap

8|7|17   |     |   (0) comments


A recap of the week's talking points on Light Reading's sister site, telecoms.com. Facebook AI programmers had a bit of a brain-fade as they allowed one of its AI applications to invent its ...
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
Fujitsu's Women Band Together to Help Girls Do STEM

8|2|17   |   9:35   |   (1) comment


Supporting women both inside and outside of Fujitsu is a top priority of the telecom vendor. Yanbing Li, Fujitsu Network Communication's director of System Software Development & Delivery, shares why it's important, but why there's still a long road ahead.
LRTV Custom TV
If You're Not First, You're Last – The Recap

7|31|17   |   08:18   |   (1) comment


In case you missed it, Amazon's 1% stock increase helped Jeff Bezos dethrone Bill Gates as the richest man in the world. Also, Taiwanese electronics manufacturer
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
AT&T's Tech President Preps Workforce for the Future

7|26|17   |   5:47   |   (10) comments


AT&T is focused on the software-defined network of the future and is reskilling its workforce to get ready too, according to AT&T's President of Technology Development Melissa Arnoldi.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
Cisco: Mentoring Critical to Attract & Retain Women

7|19|17   |   6:40   |   (1) comment


Liz Centoni, senior vice president and general manager of Cisco's Computing System Product Group, shares why mentoring in all its forms is important for women and what Cisco is doing that's made a difference for women in tech.
LRTV Custom TV
Gigabit LTE With Snapdragon 835

7|12|17   |     |   (1) comment


At an event in Wembley stadium, EE used its live network to demonstrate gigabit LTE using a Sony Xperia XZ Premium smartphone with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 chip.
LRTV Custom TV
Implementing Machine Intelligence With Guavus

7|12|17   |     |   (0) comments


Guavus unites big data and machine intelligence, enabling many of the the largest service providers in the world to save money and drive measureable revenue. Learn how applying Machine Intelligence substantially reduces operational costs and in many cases can eliminate subscriber impact, meaning a better subscriber experience and higher NPS.
LRTV Custom TV
Unlocking Customer Experience Insights With Machine Intelligence

7|12|17   |     |   (0) comments


When used to analyze operational data and to drive operational decisions, machine intelligence reduces the number of tasks which require human intervention. Guavus invested in Machine Intelligence early. Learn about the difference between Machine Learning and Machine Intelligence.
Upcoming Live Events
September 28, 2017, Denver, CO
October 18, 2017, Colorado Convention Center - Denver, CO
November 1, 2017, The Royal Garden Hotel
November 1, 2017, The Montcalm Marble Arch
November 2, 2017, 8 Northumberland Avenue, London, UK
November 30, 2017, The Westin Times Square
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
With the mobile ecosystem becoming increasingly vulnerable to security threats, AdaptiveMobile has laid out some of the key considerations for the wireless community.
Hot Topics
Why AT&T May Dump Home Security Biz
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 8/21/2017
Verizon & Friends Bust Through Gigabit LTE in the Lab
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 8/21/2017
Disney, iflix Team Up to Take Down Netflix
Aditya Kishore, Practice Leader, Video Transformation, Telco Transformation, 8/22/2017
WiCipedia: Dolly Babes, Manifesto Backlash & 'Brotastic' Failures
Eryn Leavens, Special Features & Copy Editor, 8/18/2017
T-Mobile Turns On First 600MHz 4G Sites
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 8/16/2017
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
Animals with Phones
Talk About a Custom-Made Workstation! Click Here
Proper ergonomics indeed.
Live Digital Audio

Understanding the full experience of women in technology requires starting at the collegiate level (or sooner) and studying the technologies women are involved with, company cultures they're part of and personal experiences of individuals.

During this WiC radio show, we will talk with Nicole Engelbert, the director of Research & Analysis for Ovum Technology and a 23-year telecom industry veteran, about her experiences and perspectives on women in tech. Engelbert covers infrastructure, applications and industries for Ovum, but she is also involved in the research firm's higher education team and has helped colleges and universities globally leverage technology as a strategy for improving recruitment, retention and graduation performance.

She will share her unique insight into the collegiate level, where women pursuing engineering and STEM-related degrees is dwindling. Engelbert will also reveal new, original Ovum research on the topics of artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, security and augmented reality, as well as discuss what each of those technologies might mean for women in our field. As always, we'll also leave plenty of time to answer all your questions live on the air and chat board.