Understanding the Wireless Gateway: Common Wireless Options

Posted by: T. Lacoma on Monday, April 29th, 2013

The term “wireless gateway” can confuse many homeowners trying to set up a wireless connection. The world of gateways, routers, access points, WANs, and other parts of the Internet puzzle can quickly become overwhelming. Fortunately, by understanding what wireless gateways are and how they work, you will be prepared to make strong wireless purchases in the future.

What is a wireless gateway?

Wireless gateways are hybrid devices that take care of multiple aspects of your home-based wireless networks. They serve as access points, routers, and security services at the same time. An access point is simply any point in a network where you can get Internet access; a WAP, for example, is a wireless access point in any form. A router, meanwhile, is a specific device that manages the access point, forwarding data packets from the WAN (the wide area network where you draw your connection from, such as cable, DSL, or fiber optic networks) to the correct devices around your home.

In the first years of wireless Internet service, these devices stayed separate. Wireless gateways combine the access point tech, router capabilities, and layers of wireless security in one device. Gateways are so common these days that the term is often considered interchangeable with “wireless router” because most people assume routers have full gateway capabilities. Popular brands and advances in the gateway field today include the following examples.

Cisco Products

Most Cisco routers are full wireless gateways, offering access, routing, and security as part of the expected package. From the small Valet brand to the larger Linksys products, the company offers easy-to-use routers for home users. Interestingly, Cisco is also using the term “broadband wireless gateway” to describe its latest WiMAX devices for citywide wireless access.

AT&T U-Verse

U-Verse is designed to offer wireless services for multiple entertainment devices and content all at once. To help manage this service, AT&T offers its own wireless gateway. Wireless gateways can be an ideal solution for these providers, allowing them to create a router that taps directly into the services they offer.

Sierra Wireless AirLinks

Sierra Wireless has made a name with its rugged gateways, such as the LS300, an intelligent all-in-one router designed to be used in the field and for more difficult projects. Gateways are especially suited for these all-in-one, portable functions, like a fully enhanced hot spot.

Arcadyan’s Multiservice Gateway

Verizon has posted Arcadyan’s LTE gateways as a solution for home offices and small businesses. This version of a gateway is designed with multiple capabilities, high speeds, and a wide variety of compatibility options. Because of their multiple functions, gateways also make ideal powerful solutions for these link-dependent scenarios.

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