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What is NAT and DHCP?  

What is NAT and DHCP?

Stands for Network Address Translation, and is a commonly used IP translation and mapping technology. Using a device or piece of software that implements NAT allows an entire home or office network to share a single internet connection over a single IP address. A single cable mode, DSL modem, or even 56k modem could connect all the computers to the internet simultaneously. Additionally, NAT keeps your home network fairly secure from hackers. NAT is built in to the most common Internet Connection Sharing technologies around. Microsoft has built their ICS around it and nearly every Cable/DSL Broadband Router on the market accomplishes its job with NAT.

NAT acts as an interpreter between two networks. In the case of a home network, it sits between the internet and your home network. The internet is considered the ‘public’ side and your home network is considered the ‘private’ side. When a computer in the private side request data from the public side (the internet), the NAT device will open a little conduit between your computer and the destination computer. When the public computer returns results from the request, it is passed back through the NAT device to the requesting computer.

NAT devices are not real firewalls, but they are usually considered ‘good enough’ for most home networks. By not processing requests or probes that originate from the internet, a NAT device blocks most mischief. A NAT device can not keep hackers from running DoS (Denial Of Service) attacks on you, but inDIViduals rarely get attacked like that. It will keep out people looking for file shares, rogue mail servers and web servers, and most port based exploits. With a NAT device and a good anti-virus program, you should be safe from most kinds of internet attacks.
Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol - DHCP is a way of configuring your home computer's networking setup automatically using a DHCP server. The DHCP server will automatically setup an IP address, gateway, DNS and WINS and subnet mask on your computer. This configuration is usually used when some form of NAT is being used with the internal network being on a private address range


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