What is difference between PGW and SGW?

In LTE (Long-Term Evolution) networks, PGW (Packet Data Network Gateway) and SGW (Serving Gateway) are two essential components within the Evolved Packet Core (EPC). Both play crucial roles in routing and managing data traffic, but they serve different functions in the overall architecture. Let’s explore the differences between PGW and SGW in detail.

SGW (Serving Gateway):

1. Function:

  • SGW is responsible for the user-plane functionality within the LTE EPC.
  • It serves as the anchor point for the user’s data traffic, handling the forwarding of data packets between the user equipment (UE) and the external packet data network (PDN).

2. Routing and Forwarding:

  • SGW is involved in the routing and forwarding of user data packets within the LTE network.
  • It manages the user’s data session, ensuring efficient and reliable transmission of data between the UE and the external network.

3. Mobility Management:

  • SGW plays a role in mobility management, handling the mobility of UEs within the LTE network.
  • It ensures seamless data connectivity as UEs move across different eNodeBs (base stations).

4. Bearer Management:

  • SGW manages bearers, which are logical channels that carry data between the UE and the external PDN.
  • It establishes, modifies, and releases bearers based on the communication requirements of the UE.

PGW (Packet Data Network Gateway):

1. Function:

  • PGW is responsible for the control-plane functionality within the LTE EPC.
  • It serves as the gateway between the LTE network and the external PDN, acting as the interface for mobility management and policy enforcement.

2. IP Address Allocation:

  • PGW is responsible for allocating IP addresses to UEs and managing the UE’s IP address pool.
  • It ensures that UEs are assigned unique IP addresses, facilitating proper communication within the LTE network and with external networks.

3. Policy Enforcement:

  • PGW enforces policies related to data traffic, Quality of Service (QoS), and charging within the LTE network.
  • It plays a key role in applying policies that govern how data is handled and billed.

4. Bearer Control:

  • PGW is involved in bearer control, determining the establishment, modification, and release of bearers based on policies and network conditions.
  • It ensures that the data traffic is managed according to the specified QoS requirements.

Interaction and Communication:

1. Data Flow:

  • SGW and PGW work together to establish end-to-end data paths for user traffic.
  • SGW manages the user-plane data flow, while PGW controls the policy enforcement and IP address allocation.

2. Handovers:

  • During handovers, both SGW and PGW play roles in maintaining the continuity of user sessions.
  • SGW ensures data continuity, while PGW manages the control-plane aspects, including policy enforcement.


1. Primary Function:

  • SGW primarily handles user-plane functionality, including data forwarding, mobility management, and bearer management.
  • PGW primarily handles control-plane functionality, including IP address allocation, policy enforcement, and bearer control.

2. Responsibilities:

  • SGW is more focused on the efficient routing and forwarding of data traffic.
  • PGW is more focused on policy enforcement, IP address management, and control-plane functions.

3. Data Handling:

  • SGW manages the user’s data session and ensures data continuity during mobility.
  • PGW enforces policies related to data traffic, QoS, and charging.


In conclusion, SGW and PGW are integral components of the LTE EPC, each serving distinct functions. SGW is primarily responsible for user-plane data forwarding and mobility management, while PGW handles control-plane functions such as policy enforcement, IP address allocation, and bearer control. Together, they ensure the efficient and reliable operation of LTE networks for user data traffic.

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