As the world approaches an acute global shortage of IPv4 addresses, an important debate has arisen regarding how effective Network Address Translation (NAT) systems are as a solution to serve the growing mobile user base of the Internet. NATs have been used for approximately 10 years, and the technology is familiar to Internet service providers (ISPs). The usage of NATs has increased significantly in recent years in order to efficiently utilize the dwindling pool of IPv4 addesses, but can one expect them to continue to be a reliable solution? Many experts take the position that NAT systems will have a very limited and reduced capacity to effectively service the active users of the Internet. In light of the fact that the transition to IPv6 protocol is expected to take anywhere from several years to more than a decade, the limited pool of dedicated IPv4 addresses will remain the preferred option to serve active Internet users, and therefore the value of these IPv4 addresses is expected to increase significantly in the near future. This article takes a closer look at one's ability to rely on NATs as an acceptable alternative or substitute for a dedicated IPv4 address.
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