What is a Gateway?

Learn > Cable Modem & Routers > What is a Gateway?

We’ve covered more in-depth what a modem is and what a router is and why you need each. As a recap, you can get Internet access with a modem, but to get wireless Internet you need a router. While you can get a separate modem or router, you might want to get a combination device like a cable modem/router. These combo devices are also referred to as a gateway or wireless gateway device. 


The Purpose of a Gateway

The purpose of a gateway is the same as a modem and a router because that’s exactly what it is, a combination of the two devices. Instead of having a separate modem and router, you have one device that does the work.

Like a modem and a router, a gateway communicates with your Internet service provider (ISP), receives data, sends it to the router to translate and distribute to your wireless devices. In other words, with a gateway you get wireless Internet access (Wi-Fi) in your home or space.


Differences Between a Router, Modem, and Gateway

All three of these device terms are similar, but they are not all the same. Here is a quick breakdown of each:

Modem: a hardware device that connects your computer devices with your Internet service provider (ISP). ​

Router: a hardware device that translates the data from the modem and distributes it as a Wi-Fi signal/Internet connection to multiple devices.

Gateway: another name for a modem/router or cable modem router. This is a hardware device that has both the function of a modem and of a router but combined into one device.


Why You Might Want a Gateway

So, which device is best for your home network? It depends on your situation and what you are looking for. There are advantages and disadvantages to separate devices or a combo device like a gateway. But you might want a combo device (gateway) if you’re looking for the following benefits:

  • A single combo box takes less room
  • Requires only one power outlet
  • Requires fewer wires and cables
  • Easy to set up, especially if it comes from your ISP and they set it up for you.

However, if you want more customization in your home network setup, then you will want to consider separate devices. Hitron cable modems and routers​ (gateways) are great home network solutions because they offer high-speed broadband access and easy home networking. Ask your ISP about Hitron’s DOCSIS 3.0 and 3.1 cable modem routers today. 

For more information on home networking solutions check out Hitron’s Learn Page.

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