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Difference between gateway and router

Learn the difference between a gateway and a router in this Ask the Expert response.

What is the difference between a gateway and a router?

A gateway acts as a conversion from one protocol to another or in the case of Voice over IP (VoIP) from the VoIP network to the POTS network

A router works by looking at the IP address in the data packet and decides if it is for internal use or if the packet should move outside the network (to the WAN). In a VoIP conversation, you would have a gateway that works for any calls that can not be carried via IP and it moves them to a POTS connection. You generally need both.

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This was first published in April 2005

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