What is a Gateway in networking?

What is a Gateway in networking?

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Anshuman
Anshuman Singh
Senior Executive - Content
Updated on Sep 30, 2023 21:47 IST

We all know that many different network protocols are used in networking to carry out data transmission effectively and smoothly. But, what if I ask you how two networks with different transmission protocols are connected? I can assure you that most of us won’t be able to answer this question. This is possible with the help of a gateway. But what exactly is a gateway in networking?

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A gateway in networking is a hardware device or software program that serves as a bridge between two different networks, allowing data to flow from one to the other. It acts as a “gate” between networks, and it may be used to connect a local network to the internet or to link a local network to another local network (often of a different type).

Table of Contents

What is a gateway in networking? 

Gateway in networking definition: A gateway is a connecting device (node) that can connect two networks that employ different transmission protocols. 

In simpler terms, a gateway in networking is a network node that acts as an entry point to another network.

A gateway in networking can be considered the most intelligent device among various network-connecting devices. Intelligent in terms of operation, transmission speed, error control, data packet routing, etc. It is made up of both hardware and software components.

The gateway acts as a portal between two applications via protocol communications, allowing them to share data on the same or other systems. Hence, a gateway is also a protocol converter that can operate at any OSI model layer.

How does a gateway in networking work? 

Each network has to have a barrier that limits communication or data transmission to only connected devices. As a result, a gateway is required if a network needs to interact with network devices, nodes, or other networks beyond its boundary. A network gateway is a hub of several networks that can connect to other networks.

The gateway is located at the network’s edge and administers all traffic or data directed in or outside. When one network needs to communicate with another, the data packet is delivered to the gateway, which routes it down the most effective route to reach the destination.

Types of gateway in networking 

Gateway in computer network or networking can be categorized on the basis of the direction of data flow and the basis of functionalities. Let’s go through each of them in order to understand the different types of gateways used nowadays.

Based on the direction of data flow, the gateway can be classified into two categories, 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.

Based on functionalities, the gateway can be classified under various categories, such as:

  • Network gateway: Provides interface between two dissimilar networks operating with different protocols
  • Cloud storage gateway: Translates storage requests with different cloud storage service API calls, such as SOAP, REST, etc.
  • IoT gateway: Collects sensor data from IoT devices and performs translation between different sensor protocols before sending it to the cloud network.
  • Internet-To-Orbit gateway: Connects devices on the Internet to satellites and spacecraft orbiting the earth
  • API Gateways: Oversees traffic streaming into and out of service or XML-based web service

You can also explore: REST vs SOAP? What’s the Difference?

Features of a gateway 

Gateway in computer network has a lot of different features. Let’s explore some of the key features of a gateway:

  • Better visibility: Network gateways are positioned at network boundaries, providing unparalleled visibility into traffic passing through the boundaries.
  • Collects information: A network gateway gathers data from other sections of the network to aid in diagnostics and troubleshooting.
  • Better security: The location of network gateways at the network boundary provides them with the necessary control for security and serves as an important site for firewalls and security software.
  • Provides multi-protocol support: Gateways are often built to accommodate a variety of protocols (protocol translation) to make the transmission of data between different networks using different network protocols easier.

Advantages of using a gateway in networking

Let’s go through some of the advantages of using a gateway in networking:

  • Uses a full-duplex mode of communication
  • Filters data and works as an intelligent gadget
  • Encapsulates and decapsulates the data packets
  • Controls both collisions and the broadcast domain
  • Connects devices from two distinct networks that use different protocols
  • Consists of  tighter and better security than any other network connection device
  • Posses the quickest data transmission speed among any network-connected gadget
  • Performs data translation and protocol conversion on the data packet based on the needs of the destination network

You can also explore: Difference Between Hub And Switch

Disadvantages of using a gateway in networking

As every coin has two sides, some drawbacks exist to employing a gateway in a computer network. Let’s go over those disadvantages:

  • It is challenging to design and implement.
  • It is highly costly due to the high implementation costs.
  • A particular system administration setup is required.

You can also explore: What are the Different Types of Network Topology?

Difference between a gateway and a router

Routers and gateways are both network connectivity devices. Many people, however, are puzzled as to whether or not there is a difference between these two network connecting gadgets. So, to better grasp the difference between router and gateway, let us study it in tabular format.

You can also explore Modem vs Router: Understanding the Difference

Benchmark Gateway Router
Definition A gateway is a connecting device (node) that can connect two networks that employ different transmission protocols.  A piece of hardware responsible for accepting, analyzing, and transmitting data packets to other networks.
Capable of dynamic routing No Yes
OSI model’s layer used Layer 3 and layer 4 Layer 5
Primary job Transmit traffic from one network to another. Convert one protocol to another
Deployment It is installed on router hardware in a dedicated appliance The gateway is installed as a virtual or physical server, or as a dedicated appliance
Also known as Wireless router and an Internet router Gateway router, protocol converter, proxy server, and voice gateway

Conclusion

A gateway in networking is used in order to connect two or more networks that cannot interact through the same network protocol. Hence these protocols must be translated between the two networks. Gateways are the precursors to routers today, and they are more costly and efficient in terms of technology.

FAQs

What is a gateway in networking?

A gateway is a connecting device (node) that can connect two networks that employ different transmission protocols. In simpler terms, a gateway in networking is a network node that acts as an entry point to another network.

How many types of gateway in networking are there?

Gateway in networking can be mainly classified on the basis of the direction of data flow and functionality.

How many types of gateway in networking are there based on the direction of data flow?

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 the role of a gateway in a network, and where is it located?

A gateway in a network is positioned at the network's boundary and regulates all data that travels in and out of that network.

What is the function of a gateway in networking?

A gateway in networking, is in charge of transforming information oru00a0datau00a0from one protocol or format to another.

What is the difference between router and gateway in networking?

A router is a device that can send and receive data packets between computer networks while also forming an overlay network. On the other hand, au00a0gateway converts information, data, or other communications from one protocol or format to another.

In networking, is a bridge the same as a gateway?

No, bridge and gateway are different devices, as au00a0bridge connects two distinct LANs that use the same protocol. At the same time, the gateway will accept and send the packet across networks using an entirely other protocol.

What are the advantages of using gateway in networking?

Some of the advantages of using gateway in networking are: Uses a full-duplex mode of communication Filters data and works as an intelligent gadget Encapsulates and decapsulates the data packets Controls both collisions and the broadcast domain Connects devices from two distinct networks that use different protocols Consists of tighter and better security than any other network connection device

What are the disadvantages of using gateway in networking?

Some of the disadvantages of using gateway in networking are: It is challenging to design and implement. It is highly costly due to the high implementation costs. A particular system administration setup is required.

About the Author
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Anshuman Singh
Senior Executive - Content

Anshuman Singh is an accomplished content writer with over three years of experience specializing in cybersecurity, cloud computing, networking, and software testing. Known for his clear, concise, and informative wr... Read Full Bio