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Difference Between Router and Gateway

Both of these transfer data among various networks. However, there is a fundamental difference between router and gateway. A router is a networking layer system that we can use for managing and forwarding the data packets into various computer networks. A gateway is very different. It is basically hardware or a device that acts as a gate among various available networks. It also acts as a node that serves as an entry point for various other networks. Let us discuss the individual functionalities of both of these.

What is a Router?

It is a hardware or a device that receives, analyzes, and forwards various data packets over other networks. A typical router functions to determine the target IP or the destination address of this data packet. Thus, the best way in which it can transfer the packets is by determining the destination with headers and forwarding tables.

One router transfers/ forwards the data packets to another and so on to form a network. This network continues until reaching the final target node. An example of such a network is the internet. People generally deploy a router in the LAN (Local Area Network) and WAN (Wide Area Network) domain. The routing protocols transfer data across the network. Thus, it costs much more than the other network devices, such as witch, hub, etc. A few companies that develop these routers are Nortel, Cisco, D-Link, etc.

What is a Gateway?

It is basically hardware or a device that acts as a gate among various networks. Thus, you can also call it a node that acts as an entrance to the other nodes present in the network. A gateway also enables the flow of traffic within a network- thus using more than a single protocol for establishing communication. As a result, it possesses much more complex activities as compared to a router or a switch.

In simple words, a gateway is a device that we use for communicating among various networks possessing different protocol sets. It is responsible for converting a given protocol to another one. In any workplace, their computer system acts as a gateway. It routes the traffic to the outside network (from the main workstation). In a home, a gateway is responsible for giving the devices access to the internet. As a result, it acts as an ISP (Internet Service Provider).

Difference Between Router and Gateway

Parameters Router Gateway
Meaning and Definition It is a networking layer system that we can use for managing and forwarding the data packets into various computer networks. It is basically hardware or a device that acts as a gate among various available networks. It also acts as a node that serves as an entry point for various other networks.
Principle of Working The routers usually work on the third layer of a protocol, and they transmit data packets from system to system. A route functions to choose the path of the network for transporting the data packets. The gateway interprets the system of networks as endpoints from packet to packet.
Hosting The router is available for only dedicated applications. One can easily host a gateway on physical servers, virtual applications, as well as dedicated applications.
Deployment You can deploy a router in specific appliances on their router hardware. We deploy a gateway in a specific appliance, a physical server, or on a virtual server.
Networks A router routes various data packets via a similar set of networks. A gateway acts as a connection between two very dissimilar networks.
OSI Layer A router can easily operate on three and four layers only. A gateway can only operate on five layers.
Associated Terms You can also call a router an internet router or a wireless router. You can also call a gateway a voice gateway, proxy server, or gateway router.
Dynamic Routing A typical router provides support for dynamic routing. A gateway provides no support for dynamic routing.
Operating Process of Components For operating a router, one needs to install different routes (of data) for the different given networks. Here, the destination address depends on the available traffic. For working, a gateway distinguishes between the structure of a network and the components available outside of it.

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