External connectivity


Calico creates a routed network on which your containers look like normal IP speakers. You can connect to them from a host in your cluster (assuming the network policy you’ve assigned allows this) using their IP address.

This document discusses connectivity between Calico endpoints and hosts outside the cluster.

Outbound connectivity

Outbound connectivity refers to connections originating from Calico endpoints to destinations outside the cluster.

The easiest way to get outbound connectivity is to turn on NAT Outgoing on all Calico pools you want to be able to access the internet.

For each pool that needs connectivity:

kubectl patch ippool <name> --type merge --patch '{"spec":{"natOutgoing": true}}'

You should see an output like below:

ippool.projectcalico.org/<name> patched
calicoctl patch ippool <name> --patch '{"spec":{"natOutgoing": true}}'

You should see an output like below:

Successfully patched 1 'IPPool' resource

Please note that many solutions for inbound connectivity will also provide outbound connectivity.

Inbound connectivity

Inbound connectivity refers to connections to Calico endpoints originating from outside the cluster.

There are two main approaches: BGP peering into your network infrastructure, or using orchestrator specific options.

Remember to configure your network policy to allow traffic from the internet!

BGP peering

This requires access to BGP capable switches or routers in front of your Calico cluster.

In general, this will involve peering the nodes in your Calico cluster with BGP capable switches, which act as the gateway to reach Calico endpoints in the cluster from outside.

A common scenario is for your container hosts to be on their own isolated layer 2 network, like a rack in your server room or an entire data center. Access to that network is via a router, which also is the default router for all the container hosts.


See the BGP peering document for information on how to set up the calico/node sides of the sessions. Consult the documentation for your BGP capable switch/router to set up the switch sides of the sessions.

If you have a small number of hosts, you can configure BGP sessions between your router and each Calico-enabled host. With many hosts, you may wish to use a route reflector or set up a Layer 3 topology.

There’s further advice on network topologies in Calico over Ethernet fabrics. We’d also encourage you to get in touch to discuss your environment.

Orchestrator specific

Calico supports a number of orchestrator specific options for inbound connectivity, such as Kubernetes service IPs, or OpenStack floating IPs.

Consult the documentation for your orchestrator for more information.