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If a NAT's job is to create mappings between internal ip/port pairs and external ip/port pairs with one Internet-routable IP address, does a NAT need a private IP address for itself? I think one public IP address all a NAT needs to function. The only thing I can think of is that we need its private address to connect to it for the configuring purpose. I know this may be a trivial question but I can't seem to find a clear answer.

  • There are multiple forms of NAT (you are referring to the NAPT variant), and it is really just replacing either or both the source and destination address in a packet header. It does not matter if it is public or private addressing because IP has no concept of public or private addressing. Private addressing is just that the ISPs have agreed not to route traffic on the public Internet in certain IP ranges. – Ron Maupin Mar 4 at 11:24
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Most often, a NAT device is modeled as a router, using IP addresses for its (L3) interfaces. However, NA(P)T can also be done on any suitable device that the traffic to be translated runs through, like a bridge/switch, without using any IP address for itself.

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No, NAT doesn't need to have a private IP. You can also NAT a private IP address to another private IP address.

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  • Or, public address to public address. – Ron Maupin Mar 6 at 0:03

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