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Network address translation (NAT) Definition

Network address translation (NAT) is the procedure of assigning an IP address to systems on the inside network and cannot be routed to external networks. This process is executed by changing the network address information across a traffic routing device in Internet Protocol (IP) packet headers. Network address translation was widely used for rerouting traffic in IP networks without readdressing each host involved. Network address translation helps organizations in limiting the number of public IP addresses used. This vastly improves the organizations in their security and in maintaining their economy. In the advanced form, NAT constitutes IP masquerading, which conserves global addresses by sharing one Internet-routable IP addresses. In IP masquerading, an entire IP address space mostly private IP addresses hide in another IP addresses which usually turns out to be public addresses.

The Network address translation gateway maps the IP addresses in various ways. It can map from a local IP address to a global IP statically, a local IP address to a pool of global IP addresses and a global IP address to any pool of local IP addresses. The Network address translation forms a critical aspect of the firewall security. The modern firewalls are stateful-they link the internal workstation and the internet resource. They track the state of connections which involves ports, packet and the IP addresses required. In rare cases, the network administrators define the policies regarding the destination in assigning mapping or the protocols being used. 

The network address translation implementations vary in their aspect of addressing the effect on network traffic but many times the technicalities of network address translation is not recorded. Network address translation also plays a vital role in interpreting IPv4 addresses and expressing in IPv6.

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