How to configure Port Address Translation (PAT) on Cisco routers

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Overview

Port Address Translation (PAT), is an extension to the well known Network Address Translation (NAT) protocol that allows multiple devices on a local area network (LAN) to access Internet resources using a single public IP address. NAT is defined in RFC 1631 and the main purpose of using it was to slow the depletion of public IP address space. A practical use of PAT is for example when an ISP allocates a public IP address for an organization which has many devices which need Internet access. PAT uses private IP address classes defined in RFC 1918 for all inside devices and also uses port numbers to identify the connection. When an internal host wants to communicate with the outside it sends a datagram with its private source address and a random port. The NAT router will then rewrite the source address and port with its public IP and sends the datagram to the requested resource. The response will come back to this same public address and port combination (called a socket) and can be translated back again.

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