Difference between Gateway and Switch

A computer network is a collection of various devices that are connected to one another via links. There are various types of network equipment, each with their own set of functions. The architecture of computer systems is significantly impacted by the presence of networks. When it comes to computer networking, "gateways" and "switches" are considered highly important components.

A gateway is a device in a computer network that is used to transform data between two or more computer systems that do not use the same networking model. It connects two separate networks to create the appearance of a single network by acting as a gate between the two. In a network, it acts as a point of entry and exit for users.

Gateways can interact utilising multiple protocols simultaneously. This sets them apart from switches. Switches are the nodes in a network that are responsible for routing data packets to their intended destinations by employing a technique known as packet switching.

Read through this article to find out more about Gateways and Switches and how they are different from each other.

What is a Gateway?

A node that connects multiple networks is referred to as a network node. Additionally, the gateway functions as a network node. It acts as a link between two operational networks that make use of different transmission protocols, and its primary function is to fulfil this role.

There are seven different layers present in open system interconnection layer models that are a part of it. Specifically, the gateway functions at the network layer, which is one of the many layers that make up the system. Due to the fact that all traffic on a network must go via the gateway, it serves as the point of entry and exit for the network. The only traffic that does not go via the gateway is the LAN (local area network) traffic that is occurring between all of the nodes.

If we take the cloud as an example, an Internet attack on the gateway and gateway would provide a path via which the switch and router would be connected, thereby covering all of the devices that would be connected. Therefore, the gateway serves as the primary hub for all of the connections that are currently in place.

Features of Gateways

The gateway is a border that sits between all of the networks and regulates the data that comes into and leaves the network. It employs a variety of transmission techniques in its operations. A protocol converter is what's known as a gateway, and it's what makes it possible for various networks and protocols to communicate with one another.

In addition, gateways store information about routers. A proxy server or a firewall can be used to improve the functionality of a gateway node. The transmission of data is handled using a process known as packet switching.

What is Switch?

Switches are networking devices that operate at the second layer, also known as the data link layer. The open system interconnection model has seven layers total. This layer is a complex one, both in terms of its capabilities and its liabilities. The data link layer acts as if it were a communication media itself.

With the assistance of data packets, switches are able to both receive and transmit data. Simply put, switches are devices that are utilized in the process of transmitting, receiving, and forwarding data in the form of packets and data frames across a network.

All of the devices are linked together via a switch, which features a number of different ports into which personal computers can be plugged in. When data arrives at any port switch, the switch should examine the destination address, carry out any necessary checks, and then send the frame on to the devices that are appropriate. It can transmit data in unicast, multicast, and broadcast formats as well.

Features of Switches

It is possible to think of the switch as a multiport network bridge due to its intelligence as a networking device. The switch uses addresses from the medium access control sublayer in order to move data packets to the desired destination port.

When it comes to receiving and forwarding data through the target device, it makes use of a mechanism known as packet switching.

A switch can support all types of communications, including one-to-one, one-to-many, and one-to-all connections.

Difference between Gateway and Switch

The following table highlights the major differences between a Gateway and a Switch −

Basis of Comparison
Gateway is a way to get from one network to another.
The switch acts as a bridge between networks with more than one port.
The gateway's design doesn't allow it to check the system for errors.
Before sending the packets to the network, the switch can find the error because it is built in that way.
In the gateway, there is no way to filter packets.
The packet function is given by the switch.
The gateway is the point of connection between two networks that operate using distinct models.
The switch connects devices that employ comparable network models to one another.
Each Packet's format is altered as it passes through the gateway.
Each packet's format is not altered as it passes through the switch.


To manage network traffic between various networks, gateways are utilized. A switch enables computer devices to communicate. Both of these phrases play a significant part in a computer network system because, as we know, computers operate on a variety of devices and there are numerous networks within each device. Here, we have defined the two most important computer network terminology.

Gateways function on all seven OSI model layers and are utilized to manage network traffic between two or more distinct networks. A gateway connects disparate systems. A gateway can be a repeater, firewall, server, bridge, router, or any other device that enables network traffic to enter and exit. They transmit packets between networks with various network topologies and protocols.

In contrast, switches transmit traffic across the local area network, enabling computers to converse and share resources. Whether wired or wireless, switches function as relays that examine incoming data packets and forward them to their MAC addresses of destination.