What is a gateway – NetComm NB5 User Manual

Page 21

background image


NB5 Quick Start Guide



What is a Gateway?

The Internet is so large that a single network cannot handle all of the traffic and still deliver
a reasonable level of service. To overcome this limitation, the network is broken down into
smaller segments or subnets that can deliver good performance for the stations attached to that
segment. This segmentation solves the problem of supporting a large number of stations, but
introduces the problem of getting traffic from one subnet to another.

To accomplish this, devices called routers or gateways are placed between segments. If a
machine wishes to contact another device on the same segment, it transmits to that station
directly using a simple discovery technique. If the target station does not exist on the same
segment as the source station, then the source actually has no idea how to get to the target.

One of the configuration parameters transmitted to each network device is its default gateway.
This address is configured by the network ad min is trators and it informs each personal com-
puter or other network device where to send data if the target station does not reside on the
same subnet as the source. If your machine can reach all stations on the same subnet (usually
a building or a sector within a building), but cannot communicate outside of this area, it is usu-
ally because of an in correctly configured default gateway.