NATTING – What it Means, and How it Works

Network Address Translation (NAT) is the process of mapping an IP (internet protocol) address to
another by changing the header of IP packets while in transit via a router. This helps to improve security and decrease the number of IP addresses an organization needs to use.

The NAT mechanism, known as NATTING is a router feature, and is often used as part of a corporate
firewall.

NAT gateways can map IP addresses in several ways:

  • From a local IP address to a global IP address statically.
  • Hiding an entire IP address space comprised of private IP addresses behind a single IP address;
  • To a large private network using a single public IP address using translation tables;
  • From a local IP address plus a particular TCP port to a global address or a pool of public IP addresses; and
  • From a global IP address to any of a pool of local IP addresses on a round-robin basis.

A newer way to use NAT focuses on translating an ISP provider's IPv4 addresses to IPv6, and vice versa. This provides integration of IPv4 infrastructure and end nodes into IPv6 environments, and allows IPv6 services to interact with IPv4 systems.

Network Address Translation helps improve security by reusing IP addresses. The NAT router translates traffic coming into and leaving the private network. This means that only a single, unique IP address is required to represent an entire group of computers.

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