What is Gateway in Networking? Types of Gateway in Networking

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You would be wondering how you are able to access the Internet and send and receive data over the Internet.

All type of communication with the network outside of your network is possible only through a Gateway.

Further, a Gateway bridges a gap and forms a passage between two different networks, running different network protocols.

In other words, a Gateway is located in the boundary of a network and facilitates communication and data sent back and forth.

So, if two networks want to communicate, they need a Gateway service.

Moreover, Gateway helps find the routing path of other remote networks and posses all the internal and external network information.

Let’s look into more profound aspects of Gateway and how it works.

What is Gateway in computer networking?


A Gateway is a network node that connects two networks operating with two different network protocols and network architecture.

In other words, a Gateway is a network connecting device that provides access and connectivity to a remote network with a host network.

You can also say that the Gateway act as an entry or exit point of a network. It manages all the data routed inward or outward of the network.

When the data is sent to a remote network, it will first communicate with the Gateway to know routing paths.

For instance, the router is configured to act as a Gateway device in a computer network.

How does Gateway work?

How Gateway work in networking

All networks have a boundary, out of which devices cannot communicate with other networks.

There is a need for a device to communicate with devices or nodes outside of that boundary. Gateway is the device implemented at the edge of the network and connects two networks.

What do you mean by Gateway?

Gateway is an intelligent device that can understand the network architecture of two different networks. It will process data packet routing, transmission speed, error control, and much more.

Gateway combines hardware and software that can control the traffic and packet routing.

Moreover, a Gateway is also termed a network node because it stops data at the entry point and manages inflows and outflows from that network.

How does Gateway operate?

A Gateway operates on all layers of the OSI model. It is implemented at the edge of the network to control the traffic flow internally or externally from that network.

When the data is transmitted from one network to another, it stores network information. The network information includes the routing path of the host network and destination network.

So, when the Gateway receives the data from an outside network, it will route it to the destined device.

Gateway also acts as a protocol converter that helps convert data packets according to the destination network protocols.

Further, it will translate the data format per network architecture and pass it to the correct node in the destination.

For instance, routers, switches, or hubs act as Gateway for data packets from the host network.

Moreover, routers and switches functionality specifies the actual path, provides data translation functionality and assists network protocol conversion.

Similarly, servers, firewalls, hubs, and more can be part of Gateway at the different nodes of the network.

Later, we will understand the types of Gateway and how Gateway performs various tasks.

Types of Gateways

The Gateway is divided into two ways:

  • Based on the direction of data flow
  • Based on functionalities.

This type of Gateway based on the direction of data flow is separated into two classes.

Bidirectional Gateways

The bidirectional Gateways allow the flow of data in two directions. It is used in the synchronization of devices.

Unidirectional Gateways

The unidirectional Gateways allow the flow of data in a single direction. The changes made in the source node are duplicated in the destination node, but the other way around is not possible.

The types of Gateway based on functionalities are divided into the following ways.

Network Gateway

The most common Gateway type acts as an interface between source and destination networks working with various protocols.

The term Gateway, without specifying any type, is a network Gateway when you look at it.

Cloud Storage Gateway

Cloud Storage Gateway assists in translating cloud storage requests with various cloud storage API calls such as SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol) or REST (REpresentational State Transfer).

It helps simplify data communication and integration of private cloud storage into applications without transferring the application into the public cloud.

Internet-to-Orbit Gateway (I2O)

The Internet-to-Orbit Gateway work connects devices on the Internet to satellites and spacecraft orbiting the earth.

The two most prominent I2O Gateways are the Global Education Network for Satellite Operations (GENSO) and Project HERMES.

IoT Gateway

IoT Gateway accumulates data from IoT (Internet of Thing) devices, sensors, and intelligent devices and transfers it to cloud storage.

VoIP Trunk Gateway

VoIP Trunk Gateway helps transmission between Plain Old Telephone Service (POTS) devices like fax machines, landline phones, and VoIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) networks.

Web Application Firewalls

Web Application Firewalls provide filters and restrictions in the network traffic to and from a web server. Also, it analyzes data in the application layer of the TCP/IP and OSI model.

API, SOA, or XML Gateway

This type of Gateway manages traffic to and from XML (Extensible Markup Language) based web service or micro services-oriented architecture.

Media Gateways

Media Gateways are a type of Gateway that helps change from one media format to another media format.

Email Security Gateway

Email security Gateway prevents incoming or outgoing email that violates company policy or contain malicious information.

You will also find that many services develop their own personal Gateways to transmit data to and from customers.

For instance, Amazon API Gateway is a Gateway that connects and transfers data from non-AWS applications to AWS.

Functionality and advantages of Gateway

Gateway has many usages, and it can be implemented as software, hardware, or both.

Let’s look into some of the functionality of Gateway in computer network

Process voice or data communication

The most common function of a Gateway is to process voice or data communication between two different networks running with various network protocols.

It acts as a bridge between the telephone network and the Internet.

Support audio conversion and others

It supports audio conversion for real-time communication and processes the information to set up actual end-to-end calls.

The other Gateway device can be rate converters, fault isolators, protocol translators, and impedance matching devices.

Act as firewall and filters packets

A network Gateway acts as a firewall that filters network packets and separates corporate or private networks as Intranet from an Internet or public network.

It improves network security and transmission speed.

Gather, process, and monitor information

A Gateway gathers information from client devices and processes the data to execute the task.

The disadvantage of using a Gateway

  • The Gateway can be designed as a complex device.
  • The implementation cost of Gateway is very high.
  • The system administration configuration is needed to connect two networks.

Most commonly used Gateway terms

What is a Default Gateway?

A default Gateway is a node in a local network that can communicate with other networks like the Internet.

The most commonly used default Gateway is the router. The ISP assigns an IP address to a router, a Gateway address.

What is a Wireless Gateway?

A wireless Gateway is a device that routes network packets from a wireless LAN to another network, wired or wireless WAN.

Further, a wireless Gateway consists of a modem, router, and Wi-Fi access point.

What is a bad Gateway error?

A bad Gateway error such as HTTP 502 bad Gateway error indicates a problem with the website’s server communication.

In such cases, a website’s Gateway or proxy server receives an invalid response from the original server.

What is a Gateway ping?

A Gateway ping tests the network connectivity between two computers or nodes.

It will check whether the host computer in a network can send or receive data packets to and from a server or computer in a different network.

You can test the network by using the ping command in the command prompt.

For this, you have to enter ping <default gateway address>

The default Gateway address would be your assigned router address.

Wrap up

The Gateway connects two different networks having different base protocols.

It will convert the network protocol and facilitate the compatibility factor, allowing two networks to communicate.

Also, the Gateway work stores routing information and operates at a different OSI model layer.