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Gateways interface networks with incompatible communications protocols and operate through

the session layer. You need a protocol gateway that accepts data carried by one protocol and
forwards it using another protocol. There are a number of ways to proceed and which is best
depends on the problem you are trying to solve. For example, if you want to connect two
geographically separated IPX/SPX LANs over the Internet, the method described in RFC1234 is
easy to implement, particularly in Linux which has its own IPX/SPX stack. Novell also supports
this, as does Cisco and others.

• In a communications network, a network node equipped for interfacing with another

network that uses different protocols.
o A gateway may contain devices such as protocol translators, impedance matching
devices, rate converters, fault isolators, or signal translators as necessary to
provide system interoperability. It also requires the establishment of mutually
acceptable administrative procedures between both networks.
o A protocol translation/mapping gateway interconnects networks with different
network protocol technologies by performing the required protocol conversions.
• Loosely, a computer is configured to perform the tasks of a gateway. For a specific case,
see default gateway.

If you want to make an SNA-speaking mainframe available to PCs operating in a TCP/IP LAN,
you can approach the problem from the LAN end using a product such as NetManage's
RUMBA, or you can approach the problem from the mainframe end using IBM products as
described, for example, in Internetwork Packet Exchange Support.

Finally, if you are looking for a general solution, there are standalone protocol gateways, such as
the IDEA Concert Series from Argecy, that can convert among several protocols.

Definition: Routers are physical devices that join multiple wired or wireless networks together.
Technically, a wired or wireless router is a Layer 3 gateway, meaning that the wired/wireless
router connects networks (as gateways do), and that the router operates at the network layer of
the OSI model.

Home networkers often use an Internet Protocol (IP) wired or wireless router, IP being the most
common OSI network layer protocol. An IP router such as a DSL or cable modem broadband
router joins the home's local area network (LAN) to the wide-area network (WAN) of the

By maintaining configuration information in a piece of storage called the routing table, wired or
wireless routers also have the ability to filter traffic, either incoming or outgoing, based on the IP
addresses of senders and receivers. Some routers allow the home networker to update the routing
table from a Web browser interface. Broadband routers combine the functions of a router with
those of a network switch and a firewall in a single unit.

A residential gateway connects the home's local area network (LAN) to the Internet. A
hardware device similar in appearance to a router, the residential gateway provides a
unique combination of features of interest to many households. Learn more about this
exciting new development in computer networking below.


By definition, a gateway joins two networks together. The word has been a part of the
networking lexicon for thirty years, and gateways have historically played a key role in the
development of the Internet. Gateway hardware exists in multiple forms including general-
purpose servers with multiple network adapters (also known as multi-homed computers)
and routers.

Traditional gateways have been installed in server rooms or closets, but residential
gateways bring these devices into the home. Home gateways vary significantly in their
capabilities, so that no one "typical" home gateway exists. However, most residential
gateways support the following basic features:

• broadband (often DSL) service connectivity

• Internet connection sharing
• firewall security