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Dynamic Network Address Translation (Part 1):

Introduction:
Dynamic NAT is the second NAT mode we're going to talk about. Dynamic
NAT, just like Static NAT, is not that common in smaller networks but you'll
find it used within larger corporations with complex networks.
The way D`1 nynamic NAT differentiates from Static NAT is that where
Static NAT provides a one-to-one internal to public static IP mapping,
Dynamic NAT does the same but without making the mapping to the public
IP static and usually uses a group of available public IPs.
Confused ? Don't worry, I would be too :) Let's explain it better...
What exactly does Dynamic NAT do ?
While looking at Static NAT, we understood that for every private IP
Address that needs access to the Internet we would require one static public
IP Address. This public IP Address is mapped to our internal host's IP
Address and it is then able to communicate with the rest of the world.
With Dynamic NAT, we also map our internal IP Addresses to real public IP
Addresses, but the mapping is not static, meaning that for each session our
internal hosts communicate with the Internet, their public IP Addresses
remain the same, but are likely to change. These IPs are taken from a pool of
public IP Addresses that have been reserved by our ISP for our public
network.
With Dynamic NAT, translations don't exist in the NAT table until the router
receives traffic that requires translation. Dynamic translations have a timeout
period after which they are purged from the translation table, thus making
them available for other internal hosts.
The diagram below illustrates the way Dynamic NAT works:

The diagram above is our example network and shows our router, which is
configured to perform Dynamic NAT for the network. We requested 4 public
IPs from our ISP (203.31.218.210 to 203.31.218.213), which will be
dynamically mapped by our router to our internal hosts. In this particular
session our workstation, with IP Address 192.168.0.1, sends a request to the
Internet and is assigned the public IP address 203.31.218.210. This mapping
between the workstation's private and public IP Address will remain until the
session finishes.
The router is configured with a special NAT timeout and, after this timeout
is reached (no traffic sent/received during that time), the router will expire
the particular mapping and reuse it for a different internal host.
Let's say that around noon, the users of workstations with IP Address
192.168.0.1 and 192.168.0.3 go to lunch, so they log off and leave their PCs
on (even if they switched them off, it wouldn't make a difference unless they
had some program running that was constantly generating Internet traffic
because the NAT timeout would never be reached). While these users went
out for lunch, the user on the workstation with IP Address 192.168.0.2
decided to stay and do some extra work on the Internet. After 1 hour, the
users return and log back on, launch their web browser and start to search on
the net.
The router, as expected, deleted the old mappings once the NAT timeout had
been reached for each mapping and created new ones once the users

launched their web browsers, because that action generated traffic to the
Internet and therefore had to transit the router.
Here's how the new mappings look:

By now, I would like to believe that you have understood what Dynamic
NAT is all about and roughly how it works.
But where would Dynamic NAT be used?
Again, everyone's network needs are different, though I must admit that
finding a practical implementation for Dynamic NAT is perhaps more
difficult than any other NAT mode :)
Come to think of it, I can't recall ever being required to implement Dynamic
NAT for a customer or my own network, but that doesn't mean it's not used.
There are some network setups in which Dynamic NAT would work
perfectly and that's what i'm about to show you.
Dynamic NAT Configuration for Cisco Router
Our Cisco Technical Knowledgebase contains detailed step-by-step
instructions how to setup Dynamic NAT on a Cisco router. Please refer to
our Dynamic NAT Configuration for Cisco Routers to read up more on its
configuration.
Implementation of Dynamic NAT:
This example is about a company called 'Dynasoft'. Dynasoft deals with the

development of high quality software applications. As a large software firm,


it has multiple contractors that help complete special sections of the software
it sells.
Because of the nature of this production model, Dynasoft requires its
contractors to have a permanent link into its private development network,
so the source code of all ongoing projects is available to all contractors:

Now because Dynasoft is concerned about its network security, it purchased


a firewall that was configured to regulate each contractor's access within the
development network.
For the rest of this example, we will concentrate on Dynasoft's and Datapro's
(green) networks:
Dynasoft has configured its firewall only to allow a particular part of
Datapro's internal network to access the servers and that is network
192.168.50.0/24, which is Datapro's main development network.
This setup has been working fine, but Datapro is expanding its development
network, so a second separate network (192.168.100.0/24) was created that
also needs access to Dynasoft's development network. All hosts on this new
network will be using the new DHCP server, which means that they'll have a
dynamic IP Address.

In order for the new network to access Dynasoft's network, we need to


somehow trick Dynasoft's Firewall into thinking that any workstation from
the new network is actually part of the 192.168.50.0 network, that way it
won't be denied access.
There was a suggestion to use Static NAT but there are a few problems:
a) All workstations are on DHCP, so Static NAT will not work properly since
it requires the internal hosts in the new network to have static IP Addresses.
b) Datapro's administrator wants maximum security for this new network
therefore having dynamic IPs makes it more difficult for someone to track a
particular host from it by using its IP Address.
So, after taking all this into consideration it was decided to implement
Dynamic NAT and here's what the solution looks like:

A Dynamic NAT router in this situation would do the job just fine. We would
place the router between the existing (192.168.50.0) and new
(192.168.100.0) network. Because of the way Dynamic NAT works, we
would need to reserve a few IP Addresses from the 192.168.50.0 network in
order to allow the Dynamic NAT router to use them for mapping hosts on
the new network - to the existing network. This way, no matter which IP
Address any host in the new network has, Dynasoft's Firewall device will
think it's part of the 192.168.50.0 network !
I should also point out that the number of IP Addresses we'd need to reserve
from network 192.168.50.0 would depend on how many simultaneous
connections we want to allow from network 192.168.100.0 to Dynasoft's
development network.
For example, if we required 25 workstations from network 192.168.100.0 to
have simultaneous connection to Dynasoft we'd need to reserve at least 25 IP
Addresses from the 192.168.50.0 network.
As previously explained, the reserved IP Addresses will be used to map
hosts coming from the 192.168.100.0 network and must not be used by any
host or workstation within the 192.168.50.0 network. If any were used in
this way it would cause IP conflicts between the host in the 192.168.50.0
network and the Dynamic NAT router that's mapping that particular IP
Address to the host from the 192.168.100.0 network.
So a good practice would be to set aside the last 30 IP Addresses from the
192.168.50.0 network, which would be 192.168.50.224 to 192.168.50.254,
and ensure no one is assigned any IP Address within that range.

All this assumes networks 192.168.50.0 and 192.168.100.0 are using a Class
C default subnetmask (255.255.255.0).
On this page, you need to understand why we're going to introduce the
Dynamic NAT router, how it will solve the problem (by mapping hosts on
the new network to the (existing one) and the requirements for the
implementation of this solution (to reserve the required IP addreess from the
existing network).
The next page deals with the analysis of the packets that will traverse the
Dynamic NAT router. It will help you understand the changes in the packet
and complete your understanding of Dynamic NAT.