NAT stands for Network Address Translation. It is a way of converting a single internet protocol address (IP) into a public one before transferring the data or information. An organization that wants multiple devices on a single IP address use network address translation. And some home routers use NAT. it was generally invented to prevent IPv4 address space depletion. Simply, by connecting two networks NAT will work on the router. Multiple devices can be interconnected to the intranet via a single IP address. However, NAT comes with advantages and disadvantages.
For networking systems, it provides double features like security and translation.in particular scenario it is useful but cause issues in others. In this blog, we will discuss the advantages mostly disadvantages of NAT. From this post, you will know the pros and cons of network address translation. Before this let’s understand how it works.
Table of Contents
Network address translation working:
Let’s say there is a laptop link to a home router. Someone uses the laptop to search the direction of a bus stop. So, the laptop sends this information to the router in the form of packets, which pass along to the web. Firstly, the router changes the outgoing internet protocol address from a private to a local address.
If the packets keep a private address, then the server does not know where to send back the data. So, by using NAT, the information is sent back to the laptop using the router’s public IP address not the laptop’s private address.
Types of NAT:
Nat has three different types. Most people use them for different purposes, but they all still work as NAT.
When the local address is changed to a public one, this static NAT chose the same one. It means that a consistent public internet protocol address is linked with the NAT devices.
Dynamic NAT goes through the pool of public IP addresses so, instead of choosing the same IP address all the time, it chooses differently. As a result, the router or NAT devices every time get a new address, when the router translates the private or local address to the public one.
PAT (port address translation):
Port address translation is a type of dynamic NAT. But it converts several local IP addresses to the single public one. So, companies or organization that wants all of their employee’s activity use a single IP address and use a port address translation.
Why the need for NAT?
NAT is a straight process what is the point of it? The main reason for using this is its security and IP conservation.
The previous IP version that is IPv4 uses the 32-bit numbered IP address. It allows only 4 billion people IP addresses it is more than enough when it was invented in the 1970s. However, with the discovery of the internet need more IP addresses. Well, not all the people on the planet access the internet regularly.
As a result, the number of devices connecting to the internet surpasses the number of OP addresses available. Routing all these devices through one connection NAT helps to combine multiple private IP addresses into public IP addresses. NAT helps to keep available the public IP address even though local IP addresses multiply.
To address these issues a new IP version was launched to accommodate the needs of more IP addresses. Version 6 which is IPv6 use 128-bit numbered IP addresses. It allows more IP addresses. So, completing this process takes more time, until then NAT will be a valuable process.
In addition, it provides privacy and security. Because it is responsible for transferring data packets from public to private addresses, it also avoids anything else that accesses the private device. The router ensures the data goes to the right destination. Also, it makes it more difficult for unwanted data to enter it. It is not foolproof but it cats the first line of defense for your network. NAT also give access to peoples who show the public IP address while they are on a local network. Doing this helps to keep data and history private.
Maybe all of these theories seem difficult for you but in the real world, it is not so complicated. IT professionals use NAT for the security of their data and use several devices under the name of the same IP address of course everyone is interested in the security of their data. Before talking about the disadvantages let’s see some advantages of NAT as well.
Advantages of NAT:
- Lowers the cost.
- Connection flexibility
- Limited addresses
- Network security
- Private Addressing
Lowers the cost:
When any organization uses NAT for a private internet protocol address, they did not buy a new IP address for the computers they have. Instead, they use the same IP address for all computers in their organization. This helps to control the cost of the organization.
Flexibility in connection:
NAT has many tools like backup tools, multiple tools, and load balancing tools. These tools overall increase the flexibility and reliability of the network. It will happen when we make a connection either in public or in any of their connection.
NAT allows you to preserve the IPv4 address space while giving access to all the private intranets. This is all done in the privatization of intranets. In this process, they saved all the addresses at the port level in various applications.
Consistency in a network:
Consistency in the network is a scheme. It has a proper space for the Use of the public IP address. This will happen when we expand the network, the more internet protocol addresses will be needed.
In network address translation all, all the destinations and sources are hidden. Even without the user’s permission no one access it and the hosts inside them will not be able to reach other hosts in the network. This proves they need additional security.
NAT has a private addressing system like IPv4 that is owned by them. If you want to move to another addressing system, still they have their addressing system. It prevents the internal address changes in them.
Additionally, with advantages, it has many disadvantages like,
- Issue in performance
- Usage of protocol
- Troubleshooting issues
Use In application:
Sometimes NAT inside the network host is not available. Because of this, some NATs have compatibility issues. This will be based on end-to-end functionality which some networks fail to provide them.
Issues in performance:
For example, if someone requested the remote serve, firstly it will check whether the connection belonged to the NAT servers or not. Additionally, some host request to perform a security mechanism for the number of requests to be accepted. So, if the number exceeds the limit, it will not take more requests. In the end, it will create performance degradation.
Usage of protocols:
Some of the protocols in NAT are very difficult to use like IPsec. Values in the header can be changed. When you want to modify the values in the header, then an integrity check will happen which will interfere with and fail the process.
When NAT use then services such as TCP and UDP will be necessary. These processes will be affected which makes them unstable. Also, incoming packets will affect when they try to reach destinations. We can solve this issue by configuring them with the router.
Incoming and outgoing services will be examined with the NAT servers. NAT will convert the data packets into local and global addresses. This makes all the transitions get stored in memory. In return consumes lots of energy as well as a processor.
when NAT is in use the end-to-end traceability will be reduced. Also, the IP address changed multiple times. In turn, makes the troubleshooting more difficult. In some cases, it will become more difficult when you use it in remote locations.
Despite their shortcomings, NAT makes a lot of applications, and their users, even NAT being a part of our future of the internet. The benefits it provides are more outweigh the disadvantages and its popularity makes the application makers take into account and cope with the problems.