Everytime I see private range addresses somewhere, I automatically think about Network Address Translation. But NAT and private addresses do not always need to be used together.

Take the following network:

Example network

Now suppose you have received a /22 public address range for your company, e.g., which you then split up in subnets for your users and servers. Since IPv4 addresses are limited and you have three point-to-point links in the ‘Internal’ part of the network, you’re hesistant to go waste 12 addresses (three times a /30) on them. Sure you could use /31’s and use only 6 IP’s, but if the number of links increases, so do the wasted IP’s.

But if you give these links IP’s in the ranges, and and advertise them internally with whatever IGP you’re using, things will work too. You will need to filter any packets originating from these private ranges at the WAN edge router so they don’t reach the internet. Any hosts on the internet can’t reach the IP’s on the point-to-point links as they aren’t advertised to outside the company (added security!). Internally in your network, the private ranges become part of the network, without NAT. They can be pinged perfectly. You could even set up a subnet using private ranges for servers that must only be accessed internally (very secure, though automatic updates would not be so easy, I can imagine). For remote connectivity, VPN should allow access.

All in all, a real world implementation by this design may have some flaws, but it proves a point, and adds security in some sense.