Set up Overlay Port Groups

The default port groups work for some deployments. You may need to set up overlay port groups if your deployment requires it.

Overlay Port Groups are used to connect your Airwall Gateway to your protected networks. Airwall Gateways default to having a single overlay Port Group, but you may need to configure your overlay port groups when you want to:

  • Micro-segment your network for fine grain security control
  • Configure IP addresses or Source NAT (SNAT) for routed deployments
  • Set up two Airwall Gateways for High Availability

If your Airwall Gateway is only providing relay functionality, it only needs an Underlay Port Group, and does not use any configured Overlay port group.

You can set up multiple port groups for an overlay, assigned to different physical or VLAN tagged sub-interface ports. When multiple ports are included in a Port Group, they are bridged. Port groups are also connected to the overlay through routing and/or bridging.

Airwall diagram showing Overlay port groups

Getting to know your Airwall Gateway ports

Here is how the physical ports are assigned on most Airwall Gateways:

  • Port 1 – Connects to the initial underlay network, and is assigned to the underlay Port Group.
  • Port 2 & Up – Connect to overlay networks, and are assigned to an overlay Port Group.

Underlay and overlay ports on a physical Airwall Gateway

Basic Airwall Gateway Deployment

The most basic Airwall Gateway deployment design is to put Airwall Gateways inline in front of protected devices. If you do not want to, or cannot, change IP addresses, you replicate the default gateway of the router on the overlay Port Group. If these devices are using DHCP, see Protected devices with static routing to configure DHCP on the overlay port group.

Diagram of deployment before Airwall Gateway port groups

The underlay IP address can be any address on the network. DHCP is common, or you can configure a static IP if needed. The overlay IP address is the same as the default gateway on the router.

Diagram of deployment after Airwall Gateway port groups

Set up an Overlay Port Group

By default, an Airwall Gateway has two port groups. One underlay port group assigned to Port 1 and one overlay port group assigned to the remaining ports. On virtual and cloud Airwall Gateways, you may be able to configure more ports if supported by the virtual or cloud platform.

  1. In the Conductor, go to the Airwall Gateway on which you want to set Port Groups, open the Ports tab, and select Edit Settings.
  2. Select an Overlay port group you want to use, or add a new port group by clicking the + to the right of Port groups, and select Overlay group.
    Overlay Ports tab showing how to add port groups
  3. Click the arrow on the left of your Overlay group header to expand the settings for that Port Group.
    Expanding the settings for the port group
  4. Enter a name for the group, and under Interfaces, select the ports or other interfaces for the group.
  5. Under IP addresses, click the + to add IP addresses. For example, (be sure to include the prefix length). Your protected devices will use this address as their gateway to reach the rest of your overlay network.
    Note: In v 3.4.1 and later, you can assign IP addresses through DHCP in the dropdown menu.
  6. Select the network options that apply for your implementation:
    1. Enable Source NAT – Check this box to rewrite the source IP address of traffic arriving from other port groups or tunnels with the overlay IP address of this port group. You must also configure an overlay IP address. Use this option when your local protected devices do not use this Airwall Gateway as their default gateway. This setting enables connections, permitted by policy, from remote overlay devices to local protected devices. When you enable Source NAT, local protected devices cannot initiate connections to remote overlay devices.
    2. Enable MAC masquerading – Check this box to rewrite the source MAC address of all traffic arriving from other port groups or tunnels with the Airwall’s MAC address. Use this option if the network you are connected to doesn’t permit foreign MAC addresses. Note: Checking the Routed traffic only box enables MAC masquerading by default.
    3. Enable spanning tree protocol – Leave this box checked to enable spanning tree protocol on the overlay bridge to avoid potential bridge loops. Only clear this box if this port group is free of any bridge loops, and you do not wish to run STP. One example is if this port group is connected to a Cisco switch running BPDU guard. A recommended alternative is to configure the port group with only a single port and use routed traffic only mode to make bridge loops impossible.
    4. Routed traffic only – Check this box to permit only routed bypass traffic. You must also configure an overlay IP address. Local protected devices should use this overlay IP as a gateway (either their default gateway or a static route) or Source NAT to allow incoming connections. Typically, you check Routed traffic only, unless you specifically need to bridge traffic. For example, if you have IP addresses in the same subnet on both sides of the tunnel, you are bridging traffic, so clear this box.
      This setting prevents inadvertently carrying broadcast and multicast traffic sent by protected devices and can improve performance by using only a single port in the port group.
  7. If you are connecting this port group to a router connected to a larger overlay network, you can configure static routes or even a default gateway.
  8. Select Update Settings.

Add Interfaces to a Port

Each physical or logical port on an Airwall Gateway has a single interface by default, that can be assigned to a port group. If you are connecting an Airwall Gateway port to a switch using an 802.1q trunk allowing multiple VLANs, you need to add additional interfaces. To do this:

  1. Up above the Port Groups section, select the Port and then click Edit Settings.
  2. Next to VLAN, click the + to add a new VLAN for this overlay.
  3. Enter the VLAN tag to match the VLAN config on the switch.
    showing where to add VLAN on the Ports page
    Note: If you disable the VLAN parent interface, the child interfaces are also disabled.

Do I need a gateway?

You only need a gateway if the Airwall Gateway needs to know how to reach additional networks from this port. The Airwall Gateway is the gateway for its protected devices. In general, using static routes (for example, for your corporate network is preferable to using a default gateway (which is a route), particularly if you have a bypass destination of set up, since that will cause a conflict.