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In the D-Link router configuration, I found two notions, NAT Forwarding that pairs A Local IP Address with A Remote IP Address:

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And at the same time there is Port Forwarding that pairs A WAN Interface/IP and WAN Port with A LAN Port and LAN IP:

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I don't understand the difference between them and which one of them I have to use to forward requests from Internet/public IP to local/LAN IP.

What is the difference and which one do I need?

  • I dont know for sure but it would appear to me that port forwarding is what you would expect (ie external connection to internal servers), NAT forwarding almost seems like some attempt to handle hairpin nat or intercept traffic destined from lan to Internet and redirect to a local server. – davidgo May 14 at 20:33
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You undoubtedly require port forwarding.

Port Forwarding allows you to direct a port to a specifc IP. So say you have following setup:

  • Public IP -> 80.100.100.100
  • Private Machine 1 -> 192.168.1.2
  • CCTV -> 192.168.1.3

If your CCTV required port 8080 to work to view this from the outside world your router would require the following details:

  • Protocol -> TCP
  • WAN Port -> 8080
  • LAN Open Port -> 8080
  • LAN IP Address -> 192.168.1.3

This would allow you to view the cameras on the internet by using https://80.100.100.100:8080

Alternatives to port forwarding are DMZ mode, but this would forward all traffic on the IP to the local internal IP (and to a large extent negates the benefits of the router blocking unwanted traffic) or uPnP which allows devices to tell the router to open a port (if a device can tell it to do it so, so can a virus or any other malicious software/hardware).

The documentation on NAT Forwarding from DLink seems to be lacking but I suspect this feature is in fact if you had multiple IP's assigned from your ISP and you wished to use one of the IP's for the device (maintining a local IP address within the router). NAT forwarding would not open the firewall to allow traffic into the network.

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What I wanted, was to use my visible public IP to be accessible from an external website, I was looking at port forwarding to communicate with gateway and try to forward requests from public gateway-IP to local/LAN IP in the router configuration.

The previous approach did not work, alternatively, I simply bridged the router connection, and set the public IP manually to the server.

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