The mail gateway is a machine that handles connections between networks that run different communications protocols or communications between different networks that use the same protocol. For example, a mail gateway might connect a TCP/IP network to a network that runs the Systems Network Architecture (SNA) protocol suite.
The simplest mail gateway to set up is the mail gateway that connects two networks that use the same protocol or mailer. This system handles mail with an address for which sendmail cannot find a recipient in your domain. If a mail gateway exists, sendmail uses the gateway to send and receive mail outside your domain.
You can set up a mail gateway between two networks that use unmatched mailers, as shown in the next figure. To support this configuration, you must customize the sendmail.cf file on the mail gateway system, which can be a difficult and time-consuming process.
If you have a machine that provides connections to the Internet, you can configure that machine as the mail gateway. Carefully consider your site's security needs before you configure a mail gateway. You might need to create a firewall gateway between your corporate network and other networks, and set up that gateway as the mail gateway. For task information, refer to How to Set Up a Mail Gateway in Chapter 13, Mail Services (Tasks).