In telecommunications networking, a residential gateway allows the connection of a local area network (LAN) to a wide area network (WAN). The WAN can be a larger computer network (such as a municipal WAN that provides connectivity to the residences within the municipality), or the Internet. WAN connectivity may be provided through DSL, cable modem, a broadband mobile phone network, or other connections.
The term "residential gateway" was originally used to distinguish the inexpensive networking devices designated for use in the home from similar devices used in corporate LAN environments (which generally offered a greater array of capabilities). In recent years, however, the less expensive "residential gateways" have gained many of the capabilities of corporate gateways and the distinctions are fewer. Many home LANs now are able to provide most of the functions of small corporate LANs. Therefore the term "residential gateway" sometimes implies a less expensive, lower capability networking device.
Cisco EPC3925 EuroDOCSIS 3 wireless residential gateway with embedded digital voice adapter
An example of a simple home network
The home gateway tends to have abundant interfaces, powerful functions and a more user-friendly interface. It is a manageable terminal with auto-configuration, and multi-service perceiving and bearing. The home gateway provides Quality of Service to simultaneously support different types of services. As a part of the carrier network, the home gateway supports remote control, detection and configuration.
Since the early 2000s the residential or home gateway has been used by Telecommunications Multiple Service Operators [MSOs] as a termination device for connecting consumer premises to a broadband delivery network.
One of the world’s first residential gateway devices was developed for Italian telecommunications service provider Fastweb in 2001 as part of the launch of the first commercial triple play service. Using its fiber network, Fastweb delivered voice, video and data services to a home gateway device – the first with embedded fiber termination – and enabled them to be distributed around the home via set-top boxes and routers.