Home Networking Guide

Introduction Connecting Peripherals
Controlling Multiple Computers Direct Connection
Ethernet Phoneline Networking
Powerline Networking Wireless LAN
Comparison Mixing Different Networks
Connecting to the Internet Home Networking Books

Home Networking Guide : Mixing Different Networks

Mixing Networks
Figure: Network Bridge. A bridge connects wired Ethernet and wireless LAN (Wi-Fi) networks.

If you have two or more network types at home such as Ethernet and Wi-Fi (or other LAN technologies) you can use a (network) bridge to connect the networks. A bridge unites the networks so they work as one network. In the above diagram, computers that belong to an Ethernet network can communicate with computers or devices in a Wi-Fi network through a bridge.

A bridge is not necessarily a separate device. In the networking market, network bridging function is usually incorporated into an access point, a switch, or a router. So you can hardly find a network bridge as a separate product in a computer store. And bridging function can also be performed by a software application. For example, Windows XP will create network bridging automatically if it detects more than one network adapters installed in a computer.

Bridge Facts
1. Bridge is a (OSI Model's) Layer 2 device.
2. A bridge connects networks with different Layer 2 protocols.
3. A bridge can be hardware or software.
4. In real world networking, the function of a bridge is usually integrated into a wireless access point or router.

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