As far as I can tell "Destination NAT (with PAT)" and "Port Forwarding" are different terms for the same thing, or are there any technical differences?

Note: I added PAT because strictly speaking NAT could take place on layer 3 only but port forwarding has to take place in layer 4

2 Answers 2


Also called virtual IP by some vendors, they're all the same thing.


Sometimes, Destination NAT may refer to forwarding all the traffic for a whole IP address to another address; not just specific ports.

A common reason to do this is connectivity between different parts of an enterprise network which may not have a common IP addressing plan, or connections between different enterprises' networks, e.g. Acme and Widget Co both have RFC1918 servers which need to communicate and not necessarily over predictable ports.

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