The internet is a complex place reminding us of a sophisticated highway system. But somehow, our data finds its way. Meet NAT — a tool that helps data to not get lost. Let’s see how it works and what its main purpose is.
NAT (or network address translation) is the process of mapping multiple local IP addresses to a public one. It is done by modifying network address data in the IP header of packets while they travel through a routing device.
This process enables a unique IP address to represent an entire group of computers. It has become widely applied to save online address space after the exhaustion of IPv4 addresses, as a single IP address can represent a whole private network.
NAT turns your private IP address into a public one. Let’s say you search for a nearby food store on Google. The request goes from your laptop to a router and then to the web. However, the changes take place within the router. This device changes your private IP address to a public one. Then a receiver of the request identifies the public address and can send the information back to you. In that way, a connection is established.
So NAT allows a single device, such as a router, to become an agent between private and public networks. Then a device of a single network can be represented by a single IP on the World Wide Web.
In this sense, NAT recalls a receptionist who directs, blocks, and sends through calls at a large corporation. NAT operates as a filter between your networks and the outside web. It processes all the requests without revealing your private IP address.
Here are a few major types of NAT:
Here are a few reasons for NAT usage:
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