While the Internet uses IP addresses assigned by an Internet authority such as the American Registry for Internet Numbers (ARIN), there are too few of these numbers to uniquely identify the millions of computers and computing devices in the world. Therefore, most enterprises use private addresses which allow them to identify the aforementioned computers. Of course, these IP numbers cannot be allowed on the Internet because all private networks use the same ones so there would be vast overlapping of addresses, and the addresses are not compliant anyway.
Therefore, it is necessary to change the identity of a private host to a legal public host. This process is called Network Address Translation (NAT) and may be implemented on Cisco firewall products and Cisco routers. The firewall device(s) at the Internet demarcation point is by far the more popular way to implement NAT, but routers are used in small offices or small-to-medium-sized networks in which a separate firewalling solution is not possible or affordable. The focus of this paper is on the router-based NAT solution.
The objective is to provide a fundamental explanation of Cisco NAT with the following topics:
1. Defining NAT and Port Address Translation (PAT)
2. Configuring Static NAT
3. Configuring Dynamic NAT
4. Configuring PAT
5. Troubleshooting NAT/PAT
6. Troubleshooting Example