Network Mapping

Tom Eastep

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Table of Contents

Why use Network Mapping
Author's Notes
Can't I do this with one router? Why do I need two?

Why use Network Mapping

Network Mapping is most often used to resolve IP address conflicts. Suppose that two organizations, A and B, need to be linked and that both organizations have allocated the subnetwork. There is a need to connect the two networks so that all systems in A can access the network in B and vice versa without any re-addressing.


Shorewall NETMAP support is designed to supply a solution. The basic situation is as shown in the following diagram.

While the link between the two firewalls is shown here as a VPN, it could be any type of interconnection that allows routing of RFC 1918 traffic.

The systems in the top cloud will access the subnet in the lower cloud using addresses in another unused /24. Similarly, the systems in the bottom cloud will access the subnet in the upper cloud using a second unused /24.

In order to apply this solution:

  • You must be running Shorewall 2.0.1 Beta 2 or later.

  • Your kernel must have NETMAP support. 2.6 Kernels have NETMAP support without patching while 2.4 kernels must be patched using Patch-O-Matic from

  • NETMAP support must be enabled in your kernel (CONFIG_IP_NF_TARGET_NETMAP=m or CONFIG_IP_NF_TARGET_NETMAP=y).

  • Your iptables must have NETMAP support. NETMAP support is available in iptables 1.2.9 and later.

Network mapping is defined using the /etc/shorewall/netmap file. Columns in this file are:


Must be DNAT or SNAT.

If DNAT, traffic entering INTERFACE and addressed to NET1 has its destination address rewritten to the corresponding address in NET2.

If SNAT, traffic leaving INTERFACE with a source address in NET1 has its source address rewritten to the corresponding address in NET2.


Must be expressed in CIDR format (e.g.,


A firewall interface. This interface must have been defined in /etc/shorewall/interfaces.


A second network expressed in CIDR format.

Referring to the figure above, lets suppose that systems in the top cloud are going to access the network in the bottom cloud using addresses in and that systems in the bottom could will access in the top could using addresses in


You must arrange for routing as follows:

  • Traffic from the top cloud to must be routed to eth0 on firewall 1.

  • Firewall 1 must route traffic to through firewall 2.

  • Traffic from the bottom cloud to must be routed to eth0 on firewall 2.

  • Firewall 2 must route traffic to through firewall 1.

The entries in /etc/shorewall/netmap in firewall1 would be as follows:

#TYPE NET1           INTERFACE        NET2
SNAT vpn            #RULE 1A
DNAT  vpn           #RULE 1B

The entry in /etc/shorewall/netmap in firewall2 would be:

#TYPE NET1           INTERFACE        NET2
DNAT  vpn           #RULE 2A
SNAT vpn            #RULE 2B

Example 1. in the top cloud connects to in the bottom cloud

In order to make this connection, the client attempts a connection to The following table shows how the source and destination IP addresses are modified as requests are sent and replies are returned. The RULE column refers to the above /etc/shorewall/netmap entries and gives the rule which transforms the source and destination IP addresses to those shown on the next line.

FROMTOSOURCE IP ADDRESSDESTINATION IP ADDRESSRULE in upper cloudFirewall 1192.168.1.410.10.10.271A
Firewall 1Firewall
Firewall 2192.168.1.27 in lower cloud10.10.11.4192.168.1.27 in the lower cloudFirewall 2192.168.1.2710.10.11.42B
Firewall 2Firewall
Firewall 1192.168.1.4 in upper cloud10.10.10.27192.168.1.4 

Author's Notes

This could all be made a bit simpler by eliminating the TYPE field and have Shorewall generate both the SNAT and DNAT rules from a single entry. I have chosen to include the TYPE in order to make the implementation a bit more flexible. If you find cases where you can use an SNAT or DNAT entry by itself, please let me know and I'll add the example to this page.

In the previous section, the table in the example contains a bit of a lie. Because of Netfilter's connection tracking, rules 2B and 1B aren't needed to handle the replies. They ARE needed though for hosts in the bottom cloud to be able to establish connections with the network in the top cloud.

Can't I do this with one router? Why do I need two?

I wrote this article before Shorewall included multiple provider support. You should be able to accomplish the same thing with just one router through careful use of /etc/shorewall/netmap and multiple providers. If you try it and get it working, please contribute an update to this article.