What’s a Gateway, what’s a firewall, and how are they different?

The modern gateway and firewall are two technologies that complement each other. In a modern, secure network, they form a symbiotic relationship. We have talked about firewalls and routers numerous times, but now let’s see just how they compliment each other. Corporate Armor can advise you on both these technologies, with brands like Fortinet, Meraki (MG series), Cradlepoint, Digi and a lot more (check out the stare-of-the-art, ON SALE Meraki MG41 and MG41E).

What is a gateway?

A gateway is a device that connects two networks together. It allows users to communicate across several networks, and regulates network traffic between two disparate networks. A router is a gateway of sorts. It receives signal from the WAN and directs it across the LAN (Local Area Network).

What a gateway does is, it makes communication possible between separate networks with different architectures and protocols. Gateways are essential for connection between networks with different characteristics. Perhaps the most common gateways are computer and router connecting a company to a network. Gateways are very crucial when a company makes changes from one configuration to another. They help the old and new systems to work simultaneously.

On the other hand, a firewall is a filtering system which determines which data packets should be permitted or denied access to pass through.

What is a firewall?

A firewall is a crucial element of a secure network in today’s network. They come in many forms. Firewalls are specifically designed to prevent any unauthorized access to and from a network. Firewalls carefully and thoroughly analyze the incoming and outgoing traffic based on pre-set rules. They filter traffic from suspicious or unsecured sources. Hardware firewalls safeguard your computer at the entry points (called ports), in order to prevent unauthorized users (such as hackers) from accessing private networks connected to the Internet.

Think of a gateway as allowing users to communicate across several networks, even with different protocols and characteristics. Like a translator between two people who speak different languages. Its’ two major functions are to connect different devices to each other, and to connect devices to networks.

Firewalls, on the other hand, are a security system that sits between the modem and the router. They keep everybody safe while they’re doing all that connecting and communicating.They can be a standalone devices or built into the router itself. Firewalls monitor incoming and outgoing traffic, like a bouncer. Or maybe like a Secret Service guy with a wire coming out of his ear.

Technical stuff

Gateways usually operate at OSI layer 4 or higher. They typically translate the protocols to allow terminals on two different networks to communicate with each other. The term gateway can be used in many contexts, but it generally refers to a hardware or software that allows two disparate network systems to communicate.

Firewalls, on the other hand, typically inspect packets (of data) and monitor connections, and then finally determine whether the packet should be permitted or denied.

So they don’t do remotely the same thing, but their functions compliment each other. Together, they help provide fast, secure network connection and communication. And that’s why Corporate Armor has advertised these two together. Of course, we have many excellent firewalls and gateways for any use case. We also have years of experience as a premier partner to some of the leaders in these categories, like Sophos, Meraki, Barracuda, and more. So we are certain we can answer any question you may have, and find the perfect solution for connecting and protecting your network! So email us, or call 877-449-0458. Thanks for reading!