There are multiple devices that have been described as "residential gateways," each with a quite different function. Each type of device allows the connection of a LAN (used in the home) to a WAN (wide area network), including broadband mobile phone network. The WAN can be often the "Internet" or can merely be a larger LAN of which the home is a part (such as a municipal WAN that provides connectivity to the residences within the municipality).
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" was becoming obsolete and merely implies a less expensive, lower capability networking device.
Nowadays, the (integrated) home gateway tends to have more abundant interfaces, more powerful functions and more user-friendly interfaces. It is a manageable terminal (includes autoconfiguration) with multiple interfaces and multi-service perceiving and bearing rather than a simple ADSL modem and replacing DSL modems and routers at home. The home gateway provides higher QoS to bear services of different types at the same time, including differentiating service streams in complicated networking and scheduling services of different priorities (DSL, Bluetooth, Ethernet, HSPA, power line communication, USB and Wi-Fi at the same time). As a part of the carrier network, the home gateway shall support remote control, detection and configuration .
Multiple devices have been described as "residential gateways":
PMC-Sierra introduces family of carrier-grade multiservice residential gateway reference platforms for triple-play services.(NEW PRODUCTS)
Dec 01, 2006; PMC-Sierra Inc. announced a suite of multiservice residential gateway reference platforms for the industry's broadest range of...