What Is A Network Gateway?

Have you ever wondered how multiple people in your house can use the internet from the same source or how millions of users can use the internet from your internet service provider? All of it is possible due to the network gateway. This article provides in-depth information about network gateway, from its working and types to its comparison with routers and IP addresses.

What Is A Network Gateway?

A gateway is a device or node used in telecommunication that links different networks by translation between protocols and formats at the boundaries of the network. In short, it is a hardware device that acts as a gate between the two networks. A network gateway may be a firewall, router, or server that empowers the traffic to stream through the entire internet.

They are specifically designed to translate data traffic between various network protocols. As a result of translations, networks using different data formats or protocols are linked. Network getaways have a lot of uses, such as connecting a local network to the internet service provider or simplifying internet connectivity in one device. When a network gateway is deployed at the boundary between the public internet and LAN or local network, it enables the users to receive and send data over the internet.

How Does Network Gateway Work?

A gateway in a computer network is a place or stopping point for any data on its way from other networks or to other private networks. A gateway’s task is complex compared to a switch and router because it acts like an entry or exit point for one network, and all data must go through the gateway before it is routed. It has a unique feature that differentiates it from other network devices; it can operate and function at any network layer of the OSI model.

When used between an enterprise and the internet, it may act as an internet gateway, firewall, or proxy server keeping out unwanted traffic off the private network. It is generally employed as a node with multiple network interface cards connected to other various networks.

Types Of Network Gateways

The working of the network gateway is different depending upon the type of gateway features.

Unidirectional Gateways

Unidirectional gateways in networking allow the flow of data in only one direction. This means if changes are made in the source, they are replicated in the destination node but not the other way around.

Bi-Directional Gateways

In contrast, bi-directional gateways allow data flow in both directions, so they are used as a tool for synchronization.

Cloud Storage Gateway

Cloud gateway server translates storage requests with API calls such as Representational State Transfer and Simple Object Access Protocol. Cloud networks do not require the transfer of apps into any public cloud because they facilitate the integration of applications and private cloud storage, thereby simplifying data communication.

IoT Devices/ Internet Of Things

The IoT gateway is a centralized hub that connects IoT devices for data processing and cloud-based computing. IoT enables the bi-directional flow of data between devices and the cloud.

What Is The Difference Between A Router And A Gateway?

A router and gateway perform similar functions, but they are quite different. Routers can transmit traffic between networks by acting as a layering system to forward and manage data packets to different networks. It is also called a wireless or internet router. Typically it runs on the third layer of the protocol. It is only available to dedicated applications and routes data packets through similar networks.

In contrast, a gateway is a hardware device that acts as a stopping point or a gate between different networks. It interacts or interprets the network as endpoints from packet to packet. The gateway connects to different networks with different protocols and is only hosted on virtual applications or physical servers. It is deployed as a physical or virtual server and only operates on the five network layers.

Is Gateway The Same As An IP Address?

Various elements are mandatory to connect to the right machine and site, whether you are surfing the internet or using a home network. Two of the most important things are the IP address and gateway, which may seem similar in functionality but are quite different. Your computer server requires a gateway and an IP address to work properly.

Network gateways are created to connect to different networks so that they can receive and send information. Without network gateways, you will only be able to interact with people using the same internet network, but transferring files or data would not be possible.

If the device cannot access the network gateway, it will not be able to communicate with anything. To use the internet, you require a public IP address assigned by the internet service provider, and all devices linked to this network share the same IP address or gateway.

On the other hand, the IP address is different from the network gateway. Each device that utilizes the network always has its private IP address. IP addresses let the gateway ensure the traffic goes to the right place.


A network gateway acts as a network’s exit or entry point so that all data passes through or communicates with it before being routed. It allows the passage of data between two networks operating with different protocols. Many corporate local area networks (LANs) also use network gateways to connect to the public internet, as they are important locations for security softwares and firewalls.

Derik Belair

As President and CEO, Derik leads the vision, strategy and growth of Augmentt. Prior to founding Augmentt, Derik was the Vice President at SolarWinds, leading the digital marketing strategy for SolarWinds’ Cloud division. Derik has been working in the channel for over 20 years, starting his career as a channel sales rep at Corel Corp. and eventually becoming the first employee at N-able Technologies in April of 2000.
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