A gateway is a network node that connects two networks using different protocols together. While a bridge is used to join two similar types of networks, a gateway is used to join two dissimilar networks.
The most common gateway is a router that connects a home or enterprise network to the internet. In most IP-based networks, the only traffic that doesn't go through at least one gateway is traffic flowing among nodes on the same local area network (LAN) segment -- for example, computers connected to the same switch.
Gateways can take several forms and perform a variety of tasks. These include:
Web application firewall - filters traffic to and from a web server and look at application-layer data.
IoT gateway - aggregates sensor data, translates between sensor protocols, processes sensor data before sending it onward and more.
Cloud storage gateway - translates storage requests with various cloud storage service API calls.
Media gateway - converts data from the format required for one type of network to the format required for another.
Amazon API Gateway - allows a developer to connect non-AWS applications to AWS back-end resources.
VoIP trunk gateway - facilitates the use of plain old telephone service (POTS) equipment, such as landline phones and fax machines, with a voice over IP (VoIP) network.
Email security gateway - prevents the transmission of emails that break company policy or will transfer information with malicious intent.
What are the purchasing criteria for network access control products?
Looking to buy network security tools to keep your gateways secure? Before you do, gain a better understanding of the basics and learn how network security tools have evolved. Also learn the right questions to ask before you buy.
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- This Buyer's Guide examines network security basics, starting with four critical network security tools for any enterprise.