What is a Gateway?

Related Terms: Edge Device

What is an Industrial Gateway?

In the computing industry, a gateway is a piece of hardware that acts as a middleman between two distinct networks. A gateway commonly facilitates connectivity between systems that would otherwise be unable to communicate effectively. A vital part of the growing Internet of Things, industrial gateway computers are often used to connect legacy systems that were not designed to connect to the cloud, enabling remote data management and control.


Types of Industrial Gateways

Gateways come in many forms. While the traditional definition generally focusses on routers, servers and firewalls that are strictly data handling devices, modern gateway systems are also capable of onboard processing, able to process data before delivering to the network. Imagine a steel factory responsible for producing sheet steel. The rolling machine processes raw material and tracks its progress, delivering it to a gateway device. That device can then simply pass the raw data to a local or remote control room, or might be called on to process the data to deliver run rates, production totals or diagnostic data. Today’s industrial gateway systems enable more efficient operation in a wide range of commercial and embedded applications.


What is an Edge Device?

The term Edge Device is a common synonym for gateway systems. Because gateways reside at the “edge” of a network, monitoring and controlling data flow from one network to the next, the terms is used to describe everything from physical security hardware, like network video recorders, to network security devices like routers, switches and integrated access devices (IADs).