Network+ N10-007 Certification Exam Notes: All About the Default Gateway


A default gateway enables devices on a network to communicate with other devices on another network. For instance, if your computer system requests a webpage, your request will pass through a default gateway before leaving your local network and reaching the Internet. Think of it as an intermediary between the Internet and your local network. It’s required to transfer data to and from the Internet.

It is also capable of passing traffic from local subnets to other subnets’ devices. While a default gateway is typically used for local network Internet connections, it could also be used to communicate within local networks, such as in corporate networks. Below are other things you must know about the default gateway when preparing for your Network+ N10-007 exam.

Two Types of Default Gateways

Default gateways are usually one of these two types:

  • On small business or home networks that use a broadband router for sharing the connection to the Internet, the default gateway is the router.
  • On small business or home networks that don’t use a router, the default gateway is the router located at the Internet Service Provider or ISP’s location.

You can also configure a default gateway to serve as a default network gateway by using a standard computer rather than a router. In this scenario, the gateway will employ two network adapters; one connected to an outside network and one to a local subnet. Either gateway computers or routers could be employed in local network subnets like those used for bigger businesses.

How Does Traffic Move Through Default Gateways?

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Every client on a local network points to a specific gateway, which in turn directs the traffic. For instance, your home network’s default gateway understands the specific routes it needs to take for the Internet requests to move from requesting devices onto the next device that could understand what’s supposed to be performed next. This exact same process will occur until the requests eventually reach their destination.

For every network hit by the traffic, the default gateway of that network will serve its own role, which is relaying information to the Internet and then back to the original requesting device. In the event that the traffic is assigned to another local device and not an external network device, the default gateway will still be used for processing the request, but it will direct the request to the appropriate internal device rather than send the information out of a local network.

In the simplest terms, a default gateway is created when a device such as a PC or a server forms a network connection between multiple subnets or networks. In general, this connection is formed by the PC or server that has multiple network cards installed, with each having a subnet mask and IP address from different ranges.

Basically, a default gateway is an IP address that devices will use to send traffic if they can’t determine which particular gateway to use. It efficiently aids devices in communicating with each other or connecting with local devices or external devices.

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