What are the Gateways in Computer Network?

A device that can bridge several network structure is called a gateway. Thus gateways can link two dissimilar LANs. The major difference between gateways and routers is that routers operate at the OSI model’s network layer. In contrast, gateways operate from the lowest to the topmost layer, i.e., the application layer to the OSI model’s network layer.

Gateways and routers are used correspondently. It can change data packets from one protocol structure to another before forwarding them to connect two different networks. Hence it incorporates a protocol conversion function at the application layer.

A gateway is a connecting device that can relate to multiple networks. They perform at the application layer of the OSI model. They manage messages, locations, and protocol conversion to deliver a packet to its terminal between two connections.

The main disadvantage of the gateway is that gateways are slow because they need to perform intensive conversions.

Characteristics of Gateways

  • It can support complete protocol transformation from one proprietary computer network technology to other technology. It means ethernet to token ring or FDDI or some different model or protocol instead of encapsulation.
  • It needs higher layers of the OSI model, possible by layer 7, the application layer. IBM SNA, DECnet, Internet TCP/IP and other protocols can be transformed from connection to connection.
  • Unlike bridges and routers, gateways work casually due to protocol conversion. Therefore, they can generate bottlenecks of the blockage during the time of peak operation.

Advantages of Gateways

  • It can connect the devices of two several networks having a different design.
  • It is an intelligent tool with filtering capabilities.
  • It has control over both collisions and the advertisement area.
  • It needs a full-duplex mode of connection.
  • It can make data translation and protocol conversion of the data packet according to the destination network's requires.
  • It is used to encapsulate and decapsulate the data packets.
  • It has enhanced security over any other network relating device.