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NAT gives a virtual machine access to network resources using the host computer's IP address.
A network address translation connection is set up automatically if you follow the Custom path in the New Virtual Machine Wizard and select Use network address translation.
If you want to connect to the Internet or other TCP/IP network using the host computer's dial-up networking or broadband connection and you are not able to give your virtual machine an IP address on the external network, NAT is often the easiest way to give your virtual machine access to that network.
NAT also allows you to connect to a TCP/IP network using a Token Ring adapter on the host computer.
If you use NAT, your virtual machine does not have its own IP address on the external network. Instead, a separate private network is set up on the host computer. Your virtual machine gets an address on that network from the VMware virtual DHCP server. The VMware NAT device passes network data between one or more virtual machines and the external network. It identifies incoming data packets intended for each virtual machine and sends them to the correct destination.
If you select NAT, the virtual machine can use many standard TCP/IP protocols to connect to other machines on the external network. For example, you can use HTTP to browse Web sites, FTP to transfer files and Telnet to log on to other computers. In the default configuration, computers on the external network cannot initiate connections to the virtual machine. That means, for example, that the default configuration does not let you use the virtual machine as a Web server to send Web pages to computers on the external network.
If you make some other selection in the New Virtual Machine Wizard and later decide you want to use NAT, you can make that change in the Virtual Machine Control Panel (Edit > Virtual Machine Settings). For details, see Changing the Networking Configuration.