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The difference between a bridge and a gateway

What is the difference between a bridge and a gateway?

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A bridge joins two similar types of networks so that they look like one network. The word transparent is often used with bridges because network clients do not know the bridge is even in place.

A gateway joins two dissimilar networks. There can be a lot of protocol conversion work to do. Often the gateway needs to be configured on client systems where communications are directed to the gateway and then some address mapping is provided to get the message to the recipient on the other side.

There is always a lot of discussion about this - as well as router. An IP router can join dissimilar networks but use the same address space (IP addressing).

Marc Farley

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This was first published in March 2002

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