[arin-ppml] The role of NAT in IPv6

Chris Engel cengel at sponsordirect.com
Fri Apr 16 11:33:36 EDT 2010

Owen Delong wrote:

> On Apr 15, 2010, at 2:48 PM, Chris Engel wrote:
> >
> > Gary T. Giesen wrote:
> >
> >> As Owen has pointed out many times, the cost of supporting NAT is
> >> rarely borne by the person implementing it. It's borne by everyone
> >> else trying to sell services to the the NAT'd customer.
> >
> > So let me get this straight, you're complaining that your customers
> > demand support for X functionality (NAT or fill in whatever
> blank you
> > want) in the services that you are trying to sell them and
> then assert
> > how unfair it is that you have to carry the costs of
> meeting your own
> > (potential) customers demand?
> >
> I'm not sure what Gary is asserting. However, I suspect his
> assertion is similar to mine...
> I'm asserting that NAT creates the following costs borne by
> people providing services to NON-NATTed customers who have
> nothing whatsoever to do with NAT:
>       1.      Additional troubleshooting difficulty/cost (web
> sites, services,
>               network providers, network providers selling to
> web sites, etc.)
>       2.      Additional software complexity (ISVs)
>       3.      Decreased security (inability to correlate events/logs)
>       4.      Increased legal costs (see 3)
> > Let me introduce you to this concept called a "free market economy".
> >
> Even in a free market economy, you're not supposed to dump
> toxic chemicals in the river upstream from my water treatment plant.
> Owen


With all due respect, that is an entirely false analogy. Someone who dumps toxic chemicals into a stream is putting thier junk into a resource not owned by them without the consent of the owners of that resource.

In the case of NAT people are simply making a choice of how to configure thier OWN resources. No one else is FORCED to bare any of the costs of that choice. If they are, it is because they are choosing to do so... perhaps a reluctant choice...but still a CHOICE.

If you and Gary don't wish to bare the costs of dealing with NAT...the solution is simple...DON'T. You are in complete control of your own business...no one can force you to support NAT if you don't wish it.

You may not be able to sell your services to a broad array of customers but that is simply because many customers demand interopability with NAT as a feature of the services they purchase. That is no different then ANY other feature a customer might demand. If your customers demand written documentation and an SLA from you...do you complain that other vendors who offer such features as a standard are "toxic polluters" because they create an expectation among customers for such features?

I'm sure it would be far simpler for many vendors if there were only 1 desktop Operating System is existance in the world. They wouldn't have to write drivers or documentation for different systems, etc. Do we consider MicroSoft & Apple & whoever produces the dozens of different flavors of Unix "toxic polluters" for offering customers a choice in OS?

The bottom line is that people deploy NAT on thier OWN networks because they CHOOSE to do so. Other people interact with those networks because they CHOOSE to do so. Vendors offer NAT support in thier products and services because they CHOOSE to be marketable to all those customers.

There is no toxic polluter model at work here....what's at work is a free market model. Your complaints about having to bare the costs of NAT are about as valid as software vendors complaining that they had to bare the costs of switching over from Floppies to CD/DVD's.

Despite what you guys may think, NAT is an attractive solution to many people to address certain specific issues. If it wasn't, there would be no demand for it currently. As far as I can see it will CONTINUE TO BE SO in IPv6...because most of those issues still exist in an IPv6 world and to date none of the proposed alternatives meet those issues as effectively as NAT. If that isn't the case...then you won't need to worry about it...because then there won't be a demand for NAT.

If you guys want to climb up on your soapbox and preach about NAT being the devils own brew...by all means do so....just don't try to use public policy as a club to create false scarcity if your arguements proove unconvincing enough to sway the masses.

Christopher Engel

More information about the ARIN-PPML mailing list