Understanding the Purpose of the Default Gateway

When configuring TCP/IP settings on your home network, only an IP address and subnet mask are explicitly required. However, if you want your computers to be able to communicate with outside networks (like the Internet), you will also need to configure a default gateway IP address. The default gateway is the IP address to which packets destined for outside networks are sent by default. To be clearer, the default gateway is the IP address of a router connected to the local network. For home users, this would be the internal IP address of your hardware router, or of the computer configured as a NAT server (such as a Windows XP system running ICS). Just remember that if you need to communicate with an outside network like the Internet, you will need to configure a default gateway IP address as well.

Author: Dan DiNicolo

Dan DiNicolo is a freelance author, consultant, trainer, and the managing editor of 2000Trainers.com. He is the author of the CCNA Study Guide found on this site, as well as many books including the PC Magazine titles Windows XP Security Solutions and Windows Vista Security Solutions. Click here to contact Dan.