What is a Gateway? Definition from WhatIs.com (2024)


  • Sarah Lewis
  • John Burke,Nemertes Research

A gateway is anetwork nodeused in telecommunications that connects two networks with different transmissionprotocolstogether. Gateways serve as an entry and exit point for a network as all data must pass through or communicate with the gateway prior to being routed. In most IP-based networks, the only traffic that does not go through at least one gateway is traffic flowing among nodes on the same local area network (LAN) segment. The term default gateway or network gateway may also be used to describe the same concept.

The primary advantage of using a gateway in personal or enterprise scenarios is simplifying internet connectivity into one device. In the enterprise, a gateway node can also act as a proxy server and a firewall. Gateways can be purchased through popular technology retailers, such as Best Buy, or rented through an internet service provider.

How gateways work

All networks have a boundary that limits communication to devices that are directly connected to it. Due to this, if a network wants to communicate with devices, nodes or networks outside of that boundary, they require the functionality of a gateway. A gateway is often characterized as being the combination of a router and a modem.

The gateway is implemented at the edge of a network and manages all data that is directed internally or externally from that network. When one network wants to communicate with another, the data packet is passed to the gateway and then routed to the destination through the most efficient path. In addition to routing data, a gateway will also store information about the host network’s internal paths and the paths of any additional networks that are encountered.

Gateways are basically protocol converters, facilitating compatibility between two protocols and operating on any layer of the open systems interconnection (OSI) model.

What is a Gateway? Definition from WhatIs.com (1)

Types of gateways

Gateways can take several forms and perform a variety of tasks. Examples of this include:

  • Web application firewalls- This type filters traffic to and from a web server and looks at application-layer data.
  • Cloud storage gateways- This type translates storage requests with various cloud storage service API calls. It allows organizations to integrate storage from a private cloud into applications without migrating into a public cloud.
  • API,SOA orXMLgateways – This type manages traffic flowing into and out of a service, microservices-oriented architecture or XML-based web service.
  • IoT gateways-This type aggregates sensor data from devices in an IoT environment, translates between sensor protocols and processes sensor data before sending it onward.
  • media gateways- This type converts data from the format required for one type of network to the format required for another.
  • Email security gateways- This type prevents the transmission of emails that break company policy or will transfer information with malicious intent.
  • VoIP trunk gateways- This type facilitates the use of plain old telephone service equipment, such as landline phones and fax machines, with a voice over IP (VoIP) network.

Additionally, a service provider may develop their own personal gateways that can be used by customers. For instance, Amazon Web Services (AWS) has an Amazon API Gateway that allows a developer to connect non-AWS applications to AWS back end resources.

Difference between a gateway and a router

Gateways and routers are similar in that they both can be used to regulate traffic between two or more separate networks. However, a router is used to join two similar types of networks and a gateway is used to join two dissimilar networks. Dissimilar could be used to describe networks that use different primary protocols.

Due to this logic, a router may be considered a gateway, but a gateway is not always considered a router. Routers are the most common gateway, used to connect a home or enterprise network to the internet.

This was last updated in June 2019

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What is a Gateway? Definition from WhatIs.com (2024)


What is a Gateway? Definition from WhatIs.com? ›

A gateway is a network node used in telecommunications that connects two networks with different transmission protocols together.

What is the definition of a gateway? ›

A gateway is an entrance where there is a gate. He walked across the park and through a gateway. 2. countable noun. A gateway to somewhere is a place which you go through because it leads you to a much larger place.

What is gateway computer definition? ›

1. A computer that sits between different networks or applications. The gateway converts information, data or other communications from one protocol or format to another. A router may perform some of the functions of a gateway.

What is the good meaning of gateway? ›

an entrance or passage that may be closed by a gate. a structure for enclosing such an opening or entrance. any passage by or point at which a region may be entered: New York soon became the gateway to America. Digital Technology.

What is Internet gateway in simple words? ›

An internet gateway (also called an Internet service provider or ISP) is a device that allows you to connect your devices to the Internet. To do so, it connects to your home network and uses your Wi-Fi router or Ethernet cable to exchange data with other networks.

What is the difference between Wi-Fi and gateway? ›

Essentially, a WiFi gateway is a device that combines the purpose of both a modem and a router. Separately, a modem is a device that connects your smart devices with your ISP (internet service provider), while a router is a device that translates the modem's data and distributes it as a WiFi signal to many devices.

What are the 2 types of a gateway? ›

Based on the direction of data flow, gateway in networking are of two types, such as: Unidirectional gateways: These gateways allow data to flow in only one direction. Bidirectional gateways: These gateways allow data to flow in both directions.

What is another word for gateway? ›

Definitions of gateway. an entrance that can be closed by a gate. type of: entrance, entranceway, entree, entry, entryway.

What is gateway and its example? ›

A gateway is a hardware device that goes about as a “gate” between two networks. It might be a server, firewall, router, or another device that enables traffic to stream through the network.

What is the other word for gateway? ›

arch entrance entry portal pylon.

Can you explain the difference between a router and a gateway? ›

A router is a networking layer system that we can use for managing and forwarding the data packets into various computer networks. A gateway is very different. It is basically hardware or a device that acts as a gate among various available networks.

What is the gateway of a Wi-Fi? ›

A gateway is a device that acts as both modem and router for your home network, combining the features of both in a single piece of hardware. If you have fiber internet or DSL, your provider may require you to rent one of these gateways.

What is the difference between a bridge and a gateway? ›

Bridges and gateways are both the backbone of networking devices. The primary distinction between these two networking devices is that a bridge joins two networks that utilize the same protocol. In contrast, a gateway links two dissimilar networks that utilize separate protocols.

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