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Network Address Translation

An Internet standard that enables a private network (LAN) to communicate to a public network (ie Internet)

NAT is usually achieved with a combination of hardware and software, in it's simplistic form there is a network card which is on the public facing side of the network and a network card on the private side, NAT enables the 2 to talk to one another (but only one another) to enable traffic on the internal private network to communicate to the external network.

Can act as a firewall by hiding the internal network from the outside world (as only the public facing network card can talk to the private facing network card)

Enables a company to use any set of IP addresses internally without the possibility of any conflict with the outside world.

If you are currently using a cable/adsl router at home chances are it is using NAT. Take a look at the base or back of the router and you will see 2, 12 digit numbers, probably marked A and B or WAN, LAN, these are the unique identifying numbers for the public and private network cards described above - called MAC addresses.


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