What is an Ethernet bridge? An Ethernet network bridge is a device designed to connect two different local area networks together. Both networks are to connect using the same Ethernet protocol. Bridges can also come in handy when it comes to adding remote computers to a LAN. Most bridges can even connect multiple computers or other compatible devices with or without wires.
Types of Ethernet Bridge
What are the different types of Ethernet bridges available? There are two common types of Ethernet bridges. One is the wi-fi bridge, which is used in connecting a computer to a network without wires and without a network adapter. The second type, is the powerline Ethernet bridge which uses a building’s electrical system in connecting remote computers.
What are the functions of Ethernet bridges?
- Ethernet bridges make use of the Data Layer (Layer 2) of the Open Systems Interconnection (OSI) Reference Model in searching for computers on a network.
- Bridges find devices with the aid of Media Access Control (MAC) addresses, which are hardware addresses. But note that, they can’t find Internet protocol (IP) addresses as network routers can. Network router’s operating level is at Level 3 of the OSI model or the Network Layer.
Now that we are well acquainted with the functions of Ethernet bridges, let’s go ahead and see the features.
Features of Ethernet Bridge
- There are more than one devices that can act both as a bridge and as a router. They are sometimes referred to as “brouters”.
- Bridges can also function as access points.
- Wi-fi bridges are most commonly used in connecting wireless devices to a wired Ethernet network.
- Ethernet bridges come in Wireless B, G, and N standards, just like wireless routers and access points.
- The powerline Ethernet bridge plugs into an electrical wall socket.
- The powerline Ethernet bridge turns the electrical wiring in your home or office into a network cable.
So what are the benefits of Ethernet bridges?
- Wireless bridges are typically less expensive and are quite easier to install than routers. But note that if the computer you are trying to connect isn’t too far away from the network router, an access point or bridge and access point combination may be better.
- The wireless bridge, as well as the powerline bridge both, obviate the necessity of stringing Ethernet cable via walls or an attic. They both make network installation significantly simple.
- Also, you can use an Ethernet bridge in connecting an IP telephone or set-top box to your network.
- The Wi-Fi bridge can also be used to put your Ethernet scanner, printer or digital camera on your wireless network.
Routers are designed with the ability to use IP addresses in determining where data needs to go. On the other hand, bridges make use of MAC hardware addresses in sending data. As such, routers are considered more efficient and intelligent than bridges. Routers also offer other features that typically bridges do not possess. Like built-in firewalls, network storage links, Internet access restrictions, and MAC address filtering. So it is advised that you always use a router in accessing points whenever possible in building your local area network.