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Time: November 15th, 2023

What are major gateway router differences and how both are used in the current network environments? This article explains these basic concepts. 


Your internet service provider may have given you a device known as a gateway which is usually a single boxed gadget that functions as both a router and a modem. But in reality, these two are still two distinct technologies and are packed in one box which you might have received from them. Both these terms are frequently misunderstood in terms of their functions. This article explains both of them to address that confusion and talks about major gateway router differences in terms of networking. 

What is a Network Gateway?

Also termed a network node, is a physical device or a "gate" that connects two distinct networks. These nodes or gates link dissimilar networks by converting communications between different protocols and allowing them to work together. In this way, any hardware or software that permits traffic to flow into or out of this network can be used as a router, switch, server, firewall, or another configuration. 

To facilitate communication between two networks, gateways are used which make this task much easier as compared to remotely connecting two networks. These gateways can be paired with firewalls and other essential network and security equipment to enhance the security of the devices connected to this network.

What is a Network Router?

A network router or simply a router is a physical device that is designed to connect wired and wireless devices to the internet. It also enables direct communication between all the devices connected to a certain network. It gets this name because it literally "routes" internet traffic between connected devices and the internet.

In this context, the word "home network" refers to both your router and the system of linked devices in your house. In this home network, the router takes the central significant spot and does the job of routing the traffic between the devices in your house and the internet. All of your devices connect wirelessly via the Wi-Fi standard to the other ports on the router, which are typically Wi-Fi or WAN. 

Major Gateway Router Differences:

Network routers and gateways have the job of transferring data between networks but both are quite different in technical and functioning. First, the network gateway's job is to connect two distinct networks that employ different protocols in their domain while a router's job is to route packets from their source to their destination within the network. 

This makes the position of both router and gateway different in a network. Also, the gateway translating protocols with the data transmission while the router is like a traffic controller of data, forwarding and routing data to its correct destination. The router works within a network where gateways, like the name suggests are at the gates and network boundary controlling and changing the network data according to suitable protocols. 

Both gateways and routers are essential to a network even if they serve very distinct purposes. A router is essential to determine the quickest path for data packets to take when traveling from source to destination, whereas a gateway acts as a single access point and a converter to link different networks utilizing various protocols. 

Another difference between the two is that routers operate at the third layer of a protocol, forwarding data packets between different systems. A route determines the network's path for data packet transportation. On the other hand, a network gateway views the network system as endpoints and processes data from packet to packet. Also, a gateway is hosted on physical servers, virtual apps, and dedicated applications with ease, but a router can only be hosted on dedicated applications. 

Wrapping Up:

One of the major gateway router differences is that a network gateway serves as a gate between networks, whereas a router is a networking layer system that manages and forwards data packets to the device's network and ensures the correct delivery of data. A gateway helps routers in this purpose by managing protocols between different networks and both of them have their key role in a network.

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