NAT Traversal with Meshify VPN Service

Traditional NATs translate network addresses, but not ports

NAT traversal allows two computers behind their respective NATs to establish secure VPN connections with each other without using a relay. It is believed you need a service (such as ourselves) to do NAT traversal. In truth, any WireGuard peer sitting behind a traditional NAT can be easily accessed using a hole-punch technique.

This technique may not be applicable for coffee house road warriors, but if you have two relatively stable external IP addresses for the machines, you can simply configure WireGuard correctly, set PersistentKeepAlive to 5, and viola, you’ve defeated the NATs. You can consider yourself a true professional the first time you do it. It does not require port forwarding. It does not require UPnP. But it does require a “traditional” NAT, and not a carrier grade NAT.

Hole Punch Technique

The hole-punch technique allows WireGuard peers with relatively stable IP addresses to connect through their respective NATs. Wireguard is a UDP-based protocol, similar to DNS. So to illustrate, we will use DNS as an example.

If one does a DNS query like this:


Non-authoritative answer:
Addresses:  2607:f8b0:400a:80b::XXXX

Programmatically what is happening with your computer and your NAT is this:

  • Your UDP packet is sent from to port (dns) with a query for
  • replies with the answer you see above

In reality, the UDP packet is sent to, your default gateway. The NAT on this gateway translates the address from to and sends it to The reply goes to The NAT sees it recently sent a packet to that address, so it forwards the reply to Note that the network address was translated, but not the port.

This is how and why you can defeat the NATs. By simply knowing each others IP addresses (and ports), and persistently pinging them with a keepalive will cause the request of one machine look like a reply to the other, allowing WireGuard to synchronize the connection. It is safe and secure. Only the addresses you are actively pinging can connect through the NAT. Since you’re using WireGuard, everything sent over the connection is secure.

Multiple Machines Behind a NAT

To communicate with multiple machines behind the same NAT, you must use unique ports for each machine. While most NATs do use tuples to map who is talking to whom, they can get confused if two machines using the same port are talking to the same remote machine (over UDP).

More Information

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