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A network access server (NAS) is a type of server that provides in-house or remotely connected users with a broader external network and/or the Internet. It centrally manages and gives connected users the ability to receive a suite of network-enabled services, while serving as the single point of access or gateway to network resources.
NAS is also known as remote access server (RAS) or media access gateway.
Internet service providers (ISP) use NAS to provide Internet access to their remote users. NAS works by enabling simultaneous connections between multiple remote users through a dialup connection, wired/wireless medium or multiple supported analog/digital connectivity interfaces. Upon successful user authentication, Internet access is granted.
NAS also maintains user sessions, network resource management, load balancing and other network management/optimization processes. In an enterprise setting, NAS serves as a provisioning server for specialized network-enabled services, such as Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), Fax over Internet Protocol (FoIP) and Web conferencing.