Difference between gateway and router
Gateway vs router:
We find networks everywhere. We seldom find someone who is not connected to a network. Internet is considered the largest network on earth. Gateway and routers are not new to those who are familiar with networking and those who do networking. They are seemingly act similar and function similar as well. But still there can be confusion on these two devises, which are used to regulate network traffic between two or more separate networks. Therefore, this article hopes to shed some light on these differences. Also, this article aims at providing a brief description on what these devises exactly are and how they work.
What is a Gateway?
In computer networking, a gateway is a network point that acts as an entrance to another network. Similar to the denotative meaning of the word, in networking also, a gateway refer to a stopping point. On the Internet the node, which is the stopping point can be a gateway or a host (end-point) node. To describe a host node, the computer a user is using to view a web page is a host or an end-point node and the computer, which is serving web page to the user, is a host node as well. A gateway node’s task is to control the traffic within the company’s network or at the local Internet service provider. We often see a gateway associated with both a router, and a switch. On one hand, the router is the device, which knows where to direct the packet of data that arrive at the gateway. On the other hand, a switch furnishes the actual path in and out of the gateway for a given packet. In networks we find in enterprises, the gateway plays a duel role. Thus, it acts as a proxy server and a firewall server as well.
What is a Router?
A router is a common piece of networking equipment. It forwards data packets to their destinations, based on their addresses. This process is called routing. Although routing is similar to switching, the router is not a switch since a switch is a simple device to connect computers to form a LAN. But routers are used to connect at least two devices, such as two LANs, two WANs or a LAN and its ISP’s network. Each router keeps information about other routers in a routing table, which is found in all routers. Therefore, it sores the IP address and the cost, which is in terms of time, delay and other network considerations. The data is always seen and directed to the desired location by the router. For that, it decides, to which neighbour it will forward it to basing on the destination and source IP addresses of the packet, the router. Here the router tends to select a neighbouring router with the least cost.
What is the difference between gateway and router?
Although both gateway and router are used to regulate network traffic between two or more separate networks, they act in different levels. Thus, gateways regulate traffic between two dissimilar networks, while routers regulate traffic between similar networks. Routers are configured by defining their routing tables while Gateways are configured by defining what is considered internal network and what is considered external. On one hand, while routers send data to a specific location based on an address for the network segment, Gateways play the role of a network point that acts as an entrance to another network. On the other hand, a gateway is often associated with a router as the router knows where to direct data that arrived at the gateway. A gateway is the single point of access to computers outside the network. Depending on the complexity of the network, gateways can only be one or a few since they provide the exit and entry points like doors of a house. Routers, on the other hand, determine the shortest possible path data can travel between two computers.
Routers are devices that need to be secured from being flooded with too much data and network traffic and being the exit and entry point of a network, gateway servers and equipment should be secured from viruses, since anything that passes through the gateway can access its internal network. Router divides the network into segments and thus allows only traffic that’s specifically intended for a different segment to flow across the router. This system is really useful in largely spread networks. A gateway on the other hand joins dissimilar systems. Moreover, the apparently intelligent gateways’ tasks are much more complex than a normal router. Therefore, it is clear that both a gateway and a router are necessary to establish a fine network.
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