What Is a Default Gateway (With Functions and Types)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published April 25, 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Businesses often require a seamless connection between different networks to ensure the transfer of information and functionality. Usually, local networks connect to the internet and themselves through a default gateway facilitating the process. Learning the answer to "What is a default gateway?" can help you determine its usefulness in a local network and how to use it. In this article, we explore default gateways, highlight their functions, outline the types, discuss how to find them, and examine how to replace them.

What is a default gateway?

Knowing the answer to "What is a default gateway?" can help you understand its role in data transmission. A gateway is a routing node that enables data transfer from one network to another. Different machines communicate by transferring data to each other over a network. The default gateway is the automatic routing node the network uses unless the user specifies another.

An accurate description of the default gateway is that it's the node that sends all of your data requests to the internet. For example, when you search for a term in your webpage, the default gateway submits your search request to the internet. A popular default gateway that people use in small areas like a house or office is a Wi-Fi router. It enables the submission of data requests originating from the local devices to other external networks.

Functions of a default gateway

The default gateway serves as a communication relay between a local network and the internet. A local network in this discussion is the total sum of devices connected to a single node, which is usually a Wi-Fi router. The router is the default gateway, maintaining all queries made by users of a local network and transmitting the queries to the internet. It displays the query results to the respective users.

The default gateway also serves as a communication relay between a local network and another local network. It connects multiple networks because of their different Wi-Fi router protocols. For instance, the Wi-Fi router in an Ontario-based firm differs from the one in a Toronto-based firm. When it's time for them to exchange data, the default gateways of both firms facilitate the data transfer.

Related: 11 Popular IT Certifications to Advance in Your Career

Types of gateways

Here are some of the types of gateways you can encounter:

Web application firewall

A web application firewall is a gateway that watches a web application and maintains a set of rules developed to protect the application. It offers the web application excellent protection from cyberattacks such as DDoS thrusts, SQL injection, brute force hacks, cross-site scripting, and cookie poisoning. If benign, any traffic coming to the application meets the gateway before the firewall allows the traffic into the application.

IoT gateway

This gateway is a central connection hub for Internet of Things devices. It serves to connect the IoT devices for real-time communication among them. The transmission is between the devices or between the devices and the cloud. The gateway also comes with an administrator interface that enables basic control of devices from other devices.

Internet to orbit gateway

It's a gateway that connects devices on Earth to satellites in orbit. This connection facilitates data transfer between both sets of computer systems. The gateway also maintains data transfer rules between the earthbound systems and the orbit-based satellites.

Email security gateway

This gateway is software acting as a firewall for email accounts. It monitors, receives, and sends emails while checking them for phishing moves, virus injection, malware download, and spam. The gateway blocks these intrusions and records their originating accounts to prevent future intrusions.

Media gateway

It's a tool used by a telecom company to enable connection with other telecom networks. The link facilitates communication among telecom networks users despite being on different network protocols. Such a gateway is usually as resistant to damage as possible because of its essential function of maintaining phone calls among various networks.

Cloud storage gateway

This gateway is a device that connects applications and cloud storage. It provides connectivity options versatile enough to connect different platforms. The gateway creates a seamless data stream from the applications to the cloud storage. The gateway also maintains security for the stored data.

Related: 10 Top Security Certifications for IT Professionals

XML gateway

It's a management tool that serves as a collection point for external queries on a web platform. The gateway stands between the web platform and the organization's internal systems. It filters through any prodding or call emanating from a public user of the web platform and transforms data based on expected encryption.

Finding the IP address of the default gateway in various operating systems

Identifying the IP address of your default gateway can help you connect to other devices in a network, troubleshoot, set up a smart connection in the office, or connect IoT hardware. Here's an overview of how to find the IP address of your default gateway in different operating systems:

macOS®

First, locate the Apple® icon in the upper-left part of the screen and click on it. After locating the icon, you can open "System Preferences." Then you can open "Network" and follow these steps:

  1. Pick your device's network connection.

  2. Click the "TCP/IP tab."

  3. Your IP address is the value that appears beside "Router."

Windows OS

These are the methods of finding the IP address in the Windows OS:

Control panel

First, in the lower-left part of the screen, locate the search bar and click on it. You can then search for "Control Panel" and open it. Open "Network and Internet" and follow these steps:

  1. Open "Network and Sharing Centre."

  2. Open "Ethernet" or "Wi-Fi."

  3. Open "Details."

  4. Your IP address is the value that appears beside "IPv4 Default Gateway."

Command prompt

First, on your keyboard, press the "Win" and "R" keys simultaneously. Then, in the pop-up box, type in “cmd.” Press "OK" and follow these steps:

  1. When the "Command Prompt" window opens, type in the "ipconfig" command.

  2. Your IP address is the value that appears beside "Default Gateway."

Chrome OS

In the lower-right part of the screen, locate "Settings" in the status bar and click on it. You can then Open "Internet Connection." Click on "Wi-Fi" or "Ethernet" and follow these steps:

  1. Pick your device's network connection.

  2. Open "Network."

  3. Your IP address is the value that appears beside "Gateway."

Linux OS

Linux is an operating system that can manage the hardware and the applications of a computer. This open-source platform is able to handle the communication between the software and the hardware on a desktop or laptop. You can follow these steps to find the IP address in Linux OS:

  1. In the upper-left part of the screen, find the settings icon in the status bar and click on it.

  2. Open "Network."

  3. Open "Connection Settings."

  4. Your IP address is the value that appears beside "Default Route."

iOS

An iOs operating system differs from a macOS system. The major difference between both is their interface. You can follow these steps to find the IP address in iOS:

  1. Open "Settings."

  2. Open "Wi-Fi."

  3. Click on "i," beside "Network Connection."

  4. Your IP address is the value that appears beside "Router."

Android OS

First, open "Settings." Next, you can open "Wi-Fi." Then, open "Network Connection" and follow these steps:

  1. Open "Modify Network."

  2. Open "Advanced Options."

  3. Modify the IPv4 setting to "Static."

  4. Your IP address is the value that appears beside "Gateway."

Related: How to Be an Android App Developer (With Job Descriptions)

Replacing the IP address of the default gateway in various operating systems

An IP address may require change where it's necessary to use a specific internet service provider for internet access. Here's an overview of how to replace the IP address of a default gateway:

Windows OS

There are simple ways of replacing the IP address in Windows OS, which are:

Through the settings application

In the lower-left part of the screen, locate the start menu bar and click on it. You can then open "Settings." Next, open "Network and Internet" and follow these steps:

  1. Pick your device's network connection.

  2. Click on the name of your network connection.

  3. Open "IP Settings."

  4. Click on "Edit."

  5. In the pop-up box, click on "Automatic" if you want the router to assign your IP address automatically.

  6. If you desire to create your own, pick "Manual."

  7. Pick "IPv4" or "IPv6" based on the one you desire to replace.

  8. Enter the details you have.

  9. You can then save changes to reflect the change in IP address.

Through the control panel

In the lower-left part of the screen, locate the search bar and click on it. You can then search for "Control Panel" and open it. Next, open "Network and Internet" and follow these steps:

  1. Open "Network and Sharing Centre."

  2. Open "Ethernet" or "Wi-Fi."

  3. Open "Properties."

  4. Pick "IPv4" or "IPv6" based on the one you desire to replace.

  5. Open "Properties."

  6. Click on "Obtain an IP address automatically" if you want the router to assign your IP address automatically.

  7. If you desire to create your own, pick "Use the following IP address."

  8. Enter the details you have.

  9. You can then save changes to reflect the change in IP address.

Related: How to Become a Database Administrator (With Average Salary)

macOS

First, locate the Apple icon in the upper-left part of the screen and click on it. You can then open "System Preferences." Next, follow these steps to replace the IP address on a macOS:

  1. Open "System Preferences."

  2. Open "Network."

  3. Pick your device's network connection.

  4. Open "Advanced."

  5. Pick "Manually."

  6. Enter the details you have.

  7. You can then save changes to reflect the change in IP address.

Please note that none of the companies, institutions, or organizations mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

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