Difference Between Similar Terms and Objects

Difference Between Gateway and Router

computer_networkConnecting to the internet requires a few steps that are totally hidden from the user. There are two things that your computer must know in order to contact the server hosting the files. One is the DNS server which would resolve the domain name into the equivalent IP address, the second is the gateway or the point in your network that is connected to the internet. Commonly, a network gateway is a role that is fulfilled by your router. A router is a device that controls the flow of data from one network to another; or in most cases, from a local network to the internet.

The function of a gateway can be performed by hardware, as in the case of routers, or software. An example of a software gateway is when you use Internet Connection Sharing (ICS) in Windows in order to share your internet connection to multiple computers without the use of a router. The computer that is connected to the internet acts as a gateway and all communications are sent through that computer. A gateway doesn’t only relay information across networks, it also performs the conversion of protocols along the 7 layers of the OSI model. It is also responsible for Network Access Translation or NAT in order to deliver the packets to its destination.

All the functionalities of a gateway have been built into routers for a considerable period of time. Advances in microchip technologies have increased enough that all the algorithms required to have a fully functional gateway can be placed into a few microchips that is then included into most routers. A common modern router has the basic features of a router, a wireless base station, a gateway, and a switch all rolled into one device that is about the size of a book. The prices of routers for sale in the market differ with the features that it has. Some routers have advanced gateway features and cost more while some don’t have it and cost less. It would just depend on the user on which one suits his needs.

Routers present a quick and easy to implement an internet gateway, regardless of what its extra features are. But for those people whose networks carry a lot of traffic, most routers cannot cope with the amount of data that flows through it. Other options would be to install a router OS into a computer and let it act as the router and gateway. Using this method allows the administrator a lot more freedom and flexibility in configuring his router and gateway.


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1 Comment

  1. Clear and easy to understand article about the difference of gateway and router.

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