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Table of contents
Gateway in Networking
Working of Gateway in Networking
Types of Gateway 
1. Based on the Direction of Data Flow
2. Based on the Functionality
Features of Gateway
Routers & Gateways at Home
Differences Between Gateways and Routers
Can a Router be a Network Gateway?
Frequently Asked Questions
What do you mean by gateway?
What is an example of a gateway?
What are the different types of gateways?
What are the main functions of gateway?
What are 4 differences between router and gateway?
Last Updated: Mar 27, 2024

What is a Gateway?

Author Sohail Ali
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Ashwin Goyal
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A network gateway serves as a pivotal node in a computer network, and it plays a central role in managing and directing the flow of information within the broader network infrastructure.

What is Gateway

In this blog, we will dive deep into gateways and their types. We will also look at the pros and cons of using a network gateway. So tighten your seatbelt, and let's get started.

Gateway in Networking

In networking, a gateway is a network node that serves as an entry or exit point for data traffic. It acts as a bridge between different networks, facilitating communication and data transfer. Gateways are crucial in connecting networks with different protocols, such as linking a local network to the internet.

Gateway in Networking

For example, In the above image, a router is working as a gateway, linking the devices in the LAN to the internet through which you can share data. All the user devices are connected to the internet via this router.

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Working of Gateway in Networking

A gateway is a point in the network where we can access all other networks. It is a junction in the network where each network is monitored. Let us look at how exactly a gateway work in a network.

  1. Every network has an edge outside which they cannot communicate. A Gateway is used here to act as a path between these networks. 
  2. It is a server that connects and routes the data over the networks. This transmission medium can be both wired and wireless.
  3.  A gateway gets data packets from one network, checks them, and sends them to another. It then transmits and converts the data packets to ensure transmission between networks.
  4. Along with acting as a doorway, a gateway also acts as a network security check. It only allows authentic information to pass.

Types of Gateway 

Gateways in networking can be classified based on the direction of the data flow and the functionality of a gateway.

1. Based on the Direction of Data Flow

A gateway is classified as unidirectional or bidirectional based on data flow direction. 

  • Unidirectional gateway: In this gateway, data can only flow in one direction. These gateways can be used as archiving tools.
  • Bidirectional gateway: In this gateway, data can flow in both directions. These gateways can be used as synchronization tools.

2. Based on the Functionality

Gateways are categorized into various types depending on their functionality. Some of them are listed below:

  • Network Gateway: This is the most common gateway among all other gateway types. Whenever a gateway is mentioned by default, it is considered a network gateway. This type of network is beneficial for connecting two different networks operating at two different protocols.
  • Payment Gateway: Payment gateways are used to collect and send the client's payment data to the server.
  • Cloud storage Gateway: This gateway type translates various cloud service API calls. Some examples are SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol) and REST (REpresentational State Transfer).
  • IoT Gateway: This gateway collects sensor data from IoT devices. It also performs translation between sensor protocols. It then sends this data to the cloud network.
  • Internet-To-Orbit Gateway: As the name suggests, this gateway device connects spacecraft and satellites orbiting around the Earth with devices using the Internet. 
  • XML or API GatewayThis type of gateway supervises traffic streaming into and out of the services or XML-based web services.
  • VoIP Trunk Gateway: This type eases the data transmission between POTS (Plain Old Telephone Service) devices like fax machines or landline phones, with VoIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol).
  • Media Gateway: This type of gateway converts the format of data required for a type of network from another type of network.
  • Email Security Gateway: This type is used in the security of emails that break the rules and regulations of an organization.

Features of Gateway

Gateway in networking has a lot of features. Let’s look at some of the features of a gateway.

  • Gateway is situated in between the networks and regulates/manages all data transfer between these networks.
  • It provides compatibility between different protocols in different networks.
  • One of the most important features of a gateway that make it different from other networks is that it can operate at any OSI (Open Systems Interconnection) layer.
  • It keeps the data about the communication network’s routing paths.
  • Due to its position, it can be added as a firewall or a proxy server for other networks.
  • It transmits the data across various networks using packet switching techniques.
  • It provides multiple protocol support for easier transmission of data over the network.
  • It can be a software program running on a device or a hardware device, like a proxy server or firewall.

Routers & Gateways at Home

Gateways and routers are essential elements of home networks. Devices in the home are connected via a router, enabling internet access and communication between them. With capabilities like NAT for sharing a single IP address, firewall security, and QoS settings for optimised traffic flow, it controls data traffic between local devices and external networks. 

At home, the terms "gateway" and "router" are frequently used interchangeably to describe devices that connect several networks or services. In-home networking configurations, routers and gateways work together to guarantee dependable connectivity, security, and effective data management.

Differences Between Gateways and Routers

Let us now compare and see the difference between a gateway and a router.



It is a device that acts as a passage between different networks having different sets of protocols. A router is a device that receives, analyzes, and forwards data packets from one network to the other.
A gateway is also referred to as a gateway router, a voice gateway, or a proxy server. A router is an internet or wireless router.
It is used to connect two dissimilar networks with each other. It is used to route the data packets of similar networks.
Gateway does not support dynamic routing. The router supports dynamic routing.
A gateway can be hosted on a dedicated appliance or a physical server. The router can only be hosted on a dedicated appliance (router hardware).
It operates on layer 5 of the OSI model. It operates on layer 3 and layer 4 of the OSI model.
A gateway provides features such as protocol conversion, network access control, etc. A router provides additional features such as static routing, wireless networking, NAT, DHCP server, etc.

From the table, we can see that a router can only connect similar types of networks operating at the same protocols. On the other hand, a gateway connects two different networks operating at different protocols. So by the above idea, a router is a gateway but not vice-versa.

Can a Router be a Network Gateway?

A router can serve as a network gateway. The term "router" is frequently used in the context of home networking to refer to devices that perform both routing and gateway functions. A router serves as the gateway between a local network and other networks, such as the internet, and connects devices inside a local network and directs data between them. 

It controls data flow, gives devices local IP addresses, and permits safe connection between hardware on a local network and the wider internet. Therefore, the device commonly used as a "router" at home serves as both a router and a network gateway.

Frequently Asked Questions

What do you mean by gateway?

A gateway is a network node that connects different networks, facilitating data transfer between them by interpreting and forwarding data.

What is an example of a gateway?

A router connecting a local network to the internet is an example of a gateway.

What are the different types of gateways?

Types include protocol converters, application gateways, and communication gateways, each serving specific network integration purposes.

What are the main functions of gateway?

A gateway interprets and forwards data between networks, performing protocol conversions when needed, to enable communication between different networks.

What are 4 differences between router and gateway?

Routers connect devices within a network, while gateways link different networks. Routers operate at the network layer, while gateways operate at various layers. Gateways perform protocol conversions, unlike routers. Routers are more common in local networks, while gateways connect diverse networks.


This article discusses what is a gateway in the field of networking. We also discussed the features, pros, and cons of a gateway in a network. We hope this blog has helped you enhance your knowledge of a gateway. If you want to learn more, then check out our articles.

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