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What is a Gateway?
In the computing industry, a gateway is a system that acts as a middleman between two distinct networks. A gateway commonly facilitates connectivity between systems that employ different network protocols and would otherwise be unable to communicate effectively. Gateways can also enable remote data management and control of local devices.
Types of Gateways
Gateways come in many forms. From routers that connect local networks to the Internet, to firewalls that inspect and filter inbound and outbound traffic to secure against threats, gateways provide vital services at the edge of the network and are a vital component in the evolving Internet of Things. Physically, gateways are often implemented as dedicated hardware, though they can also be implemented as a software solution on a server or even as a combination of hardware and software. The type of gateway used depends largely on the specific use case, infrastructure and specific data handling needs of the application.
What are Gateways Used For?
Gateways are often deployed to perform processing and management tasks that would otherwise challenge traditional servers and client systems. Examples include media gateways that convert and stream video and audio content on the fly, email gateways that inspect messages at the network boundary to ensure compliance, and IoT gateways that gather, analyze and forward data flows from disparate sensor devices.