Gateway vs Switch: Difference and Comparison

A computer network is a set of many connecting devices through links. There are many tasks which computers have to perform. So there are many network devices.

And networks are an essential part of computer system architecture.  The gateway and the switch are very crucial components of computer networking.

Key Takeaways

  1. Gateways connect networks with different protocols, while switches connect devices within the same network.
  2. Gateways can perform data conversion and translation; switches forward data packets based on MAC addresses.
  3. Gateways operate at multiple OSI model layers, while switches primarily operate at the data link layer.

Gateway vs Switch

Gateways are used to connect local area networks to the internet, translating data between protocols. A switch is a device that connects multiple devices within a single network, directing traffic based on the MAC addresses of the devices. It can create virtual connections between devices.

Gateway vs Switch

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 As the name suggests, a gateway means a device that is the main centre or point.  A gateway acts as a gate between all the multiple devices of the computer, which allows the data to pass.

It connects multiple networks with different protocols and architecture. The main and significant networking device.

A switch that allows all the machines which are connected to it to send the data and receive the data simultaneously. All the nodes are connected to it.

A switch is a fundamental hardware unit by which all devices can communicate. The switch connects each address to a direct and secure data link.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonGatewaySwitch
WorkingGateway works as a passage between two networks.The switch works as a multi-port bridge between networks.
PerformanceThe gateway does not have the architecture to check for errors in the system.The switch has the architecture and can detect the error before forwarding the packets to the network.
FilteringPacket filtering is not provided in the gateway.The packet provides the function provided in the switch.
ModelThe gateway connects two networks that work on different models.The switch joins devices that use similar network models.
The FormatThe format of each Packet is changed when it passes through the gateway.The format of each packet is not changed when it passes through the switch.

What is Gateway?

A network node is a node that connects many networks. And gateway is also a network node. It serves as a link between two operational networks that use distinct transmission protocols.

There are open system interconnection layer models and seven layers present in it. And the gateway operates at one layer of it, i.e. network layer. It acts as the entry-exit point for a network since all the network traffic passes through the gateway.

Only the (local area network ) LAN(internal traffic) between all the nodes does not pass through the gateway.

If we take an example like the cloud and internet attack of gateway and gateway creates a path through which switch and router are connected, covering all that devices are connected. So the gateway is the main centre for all the connections that exist. 

Features of Gateways are – Gateway is a boundary of all the networks which manages all the inflows and outflows of data. It operates on different transmission protocols.

A gateway is a protocol converter that allows different protocols and networks to communicate with one another. It also keeps router information.

A gateway node can be enhanced with a proxy server or firewall. It employs the packet-switching method for data transport.

What is Switch?

The open system interconnection model consists of seven layers, and switches are those networking devices operating at the second layer, i.e. data link layer.

This layer is a complicated layer that has complex functionalities and liabilities. The data link layer represents itself as a medium of communication.

Switches are used to receive and forward data with the help of packets. Switches send and receive forward data in packets and data frames over the network.

All the devices are connected through a switch; It has several ports to which PCs may be connected. When data comes to any port switch, check the destination address, perform necessary checks, and send the frame to the corresponding devices.

It performs all types of functionality, including unicast, multicast, and broadcast communication.

Features of Switches- The switch is a smart network device that may be considered a multiport network bridge. The switch employs medium access control sublayer addresses to transfer data packets to a target port.

It uses a packet-switching method for receiving and forwarding data through the destination device. The switch supports all communications, including one-to-one, one-to-many, and one-to-all. 

Main Differences Between Gateway and Switch

  1. The structure and functioning of the gateway are more complex, whereas the switch’s structure and functioning are much less complex.
  2. Gateway works as a protocol converter, whereas switch does not work as a protocol converter.
  3. Gateway works on all layers, mainly the third layer of OSI, whereas the switch works only in the data link layer.
  4. The gateway joins two networks that operate on different models and has just two ports, whereas The switch joins devices that use the same network models and have many ports.
  5. A gateway is a generic name for a networking device, whereas A switch is a fundamental piece of hardware.
  6. The gateway does not have error-checking capabilities, whereas Before forwarding packets, the switch checks for errors.
Difference Between Gateway and Switch

Last Updated : 13 July, 2023

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