NAT Boost or NAT Acceleration or Hardware Acceleration in Wi-Fi routers is a feature which helps you to get peak speed of your high-speed broadband connection, called by different names by different Wi-Fi brands. It’s actually CTF (cut-through forwarding) and FA (flow accelerator). It’s available in most mid-range to flagship grade Wi-Fi routers and mainly helps those with high-speed Internet connection.
It will be helpful for those who got faster than 200 Mbps connection. However, if your connection speed is 200 Mbps or lower than it’s basically useless for you because your router should be able to stay on its peak speed without issues and besides that, NAT Boost / Acceleration also conflicts with several other features and use cases. So, in some cases you might not want to use it.
What is NAT Boost / Acceleration in Wi-Fi routers?
It’s a feature which helps you achieve peak speed of your connection when your broadband connection is having over 200 Mbps speed. For those who don’t have faster connection, I’ll say it’s better to turn it off because it conflicts with many other services.
It works by sending the packets as soon as it receives the destination without checking for errors instead it waits for the receiver’s response to know whether there was any error or corruption in data and if there is then it resends it. It’s the reason why it doesn’t work alongside many other features.
There are two options for the same–
Level 1 – Cut-through forwarding.
Level 2 – Cut-through forwarding alongside Flow Accelerator.
Conflicting use cases and features of NAT Boost / Acceleration-
1. Port Forwarding and Gaming:
Port Forwarding doesn’t work alongside NAT Boost / Acceleration in Wi-Fi routers which means if you play certain game which requires port forwarding, you’ll have to disable NAT Boost before you can play. Besides that, as the router sends packets without checking for errors, your gaming experience in other online games will be impacted as well, even if they are mobile game like PUBG Mobile or Call of Duty Mobile.
2. Quality of Service:
As QoS features usually have to hold the data to take decision based on the command provided to it. Meanwhile, when you’ve NAT Boost / Acceleration feature turned on, your data is transmitted as soon as it knows the receiver, hence, QoS cannot work alongside this.
However, in some routers, you might be able to use “adaptive QoS” with level 2 NAT Boost.
3. Parental Control:
If you’re someone who got kids at home and want to have parental control then again, it won’t work alongside this NAT Boost / Acceleration due to the way it works.
4. Screen mirroring & VoIP:
Screen mirroring features like Chromecast or AirPlay also suffers issues like stuttering during video playback with NAT Boost / Acceleration. Similar problem can be noticed during VoIP sessions as well. Hence, if you’re user of either of these, it’s better to turn this feature off.
If you need any of the features mentioned above or if your Internet speed is not more than 200 Mbps then it’s better to disable this feature. However, if you got faster connection than that and you also need one or more features mentioned above then it’s on you whether you want those feature or higher peak speed. I recommend setting it on Auto if you don’t need those features and also having faster than 200 Mbps connection.