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The technical meaning is a hardware or software set-up that translates between two dissimilar protocols, for example Prodigy has a gateway that translates between its internal, proprietary e-mail format and Internet e-mail format. Another, sloppier meaning of gateway is to describe any mechanism for providing access to another system, e.g. AOL might be called a gateway to the Internet. A machine that exists on two networks, such as the Internet and BITNET, and that can transfer mail between them. Hardware or software that bridges the gap between two otherwise incompatible applications or networks so that data can be transferred among different computers.

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