What is NAT?

Network Address Translation (NAT) is typically used to interconnect a local network to the external (public) Internet. Specifically, NAT translates IP header information, substituting external (public) addresses for internal addresses in IP packets that need to transit the public network. NAT accomplishes this by providing either a static or dynamic external IP address. Network Address Translation is used as an Internet security measure, by never using the sender’s IP address for Internet access.

Network Address Translation technology was developed as a solution for the ever-increasing need for more IPv4 addresses. Certain ranges of IP addresses (described in RFC 1918) are designated as internal only, in other words, not routable over the Internet. Anyone can use those addresses for private networks, reducing the number of public addresses that must be purchased.