We show what a default gateway is and how to find its IP address.
The default gateway is a critical part of a computer network. It is used to enable devices in one network to talk to devices in another, separate network. For example, a browser requesting a website puts the request through a default gateway before leaving the local network and going onto the internet.
It acts as an intermediary that functions as a forwarding host to other networks where no alternative route specification corresponds to the destination IP address of a packet. An external network may not just have a different address, but also a different networking topology.
Each computer will have a routing table that sets out what the transmission interface is and which router on the network handles forwarding. If no forwarding rule is suitable for a given address, the router of last resort is the default gateway.
With smaller networks, such as those in homes and small businesses, a broadband router is most likely to be the default gateway for that network. With larger businesses with separate networks, default gateways are used to network these subnets to the external network.
How to find the default gateway's IP address
Often, you'll need to know the IP address of your default gateway in order to troubleshoot any networking issues, as it's your network's primary point of contact with the wider internet. Thankfully, it's a snap to find this information out.
First, open your operating system's command line utility - Command Prompt for Windows, or Terminal on Linux and macOS. If you've got a Windows machine, use the 'ipconfig' command, the 'netstat -nr | grep default' command on macOS or the 'ip route | grep default' command if you're a Linux user. The command line utility should return a list of connection details, including the IP address of the default gateway device.