Many firewalls use a technique called network address translation (NAT) to hide the actual IP address of a host from the outside world. When that’s the case, the NAT device must use a globally unique IP to represent the host to the Internet. Behind the firewall, though, the host can use any IP address it wants. When packets cross the firewall, the NAT device translates the private IP address to the public IP address and vice versa.
NAT is supported by routers and some layer 3 switches, but is not limited to firewalls only.
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