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What is Network Address Translation (NAT)
Network Address Translation (NAT) is a network layer routing technology that enables a group of workstations to share a single registered address. A NAT router is a device with two network interfaces, one connected to a private network and one to the Internet. When a workstation on the private network wants to access an Internet resource, it sends a request to the NAT router.
The NAT provides a way to hide the ip address of a private network from internet while still allowing computers on that network to access the internet resources. The NAT has many uses but home users use NAT for to masquerading one or more devices on the LAN can be made to appear as a single ip address to the out site.
Nat also allows for multiple devices in a network to use a single cable modem or DLS connection without requiring the Internet Service Provider (ISP) to provide more than one public ip address to the users on the network. Using NAT method ISP can either assign dynamic ip address or static address.
Normally, a router passes traffic from one network to another without modifying the packets. However, in this case, the NAT router substitutes its own registered IP address for the workstation’s private address, and sends the request on to the Internet server. The server responds to the NAT router, thinking that the router generated the original request. The router then performs the same substitution in reverse and forwards the response back to the original unregistered workstation. The router therefore functions as an intermediary between the client and the server.
A single NAT router can perform this same service for hundreds of private workstations, by maintaining a table of the address substitutions it has performed. In addition to conserving the IPv4 address space, NAT also provides a certain amount of protection to the network workstations. Because the workstations are functionally invisible to the Internet, attackers cannot readily probe them for open ports and other common exploits.
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