This document describes how to enable the Linux IP Masquerade feature on a given Linux host. IP Masquerade, called "IPMASQ" or "MASQ" for short, is a form of Network Address Translation (NAT) which allows internally connected computers that do not have one or more registered Internet IP addresses to communicate to the Internet via the Linux server's Internet IP address. Since IPMASQ is a generic technology, you can connect the Linux server's internal and external to other computers through LAN technologies like Ethernet, TokenRing, and FDDI, as well as dialup connections line PPP or SLIP links. This document primarily uses Ethernet and PPP connections in examples because it is most commonly used with DSL / Cablemodems and dialup connections.
"This document is intended for systems running stable Linux kernels like 2.4.x, 2.2.x, and 2.0.x preferably on an IBM-compatible PC. IP Masquerade does work on other Linux-supported platforms like Sparc, Alpha, PowerPC, etc. but this HOWTO doesn't cover them in as much detail. Beta kernels such as 2.5.x, 2.3.x, 2.1.x, and ANY kernels less than 2.0.x are NOT covered in this document. The primary reason for this is because many of the older kernels are considered broken. If you are using an older kernel version, it is highly advisable to upgrade to one of the stable Linux kernels before using IP Masquerading. "