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Network Bridge

Definition of Network Bridge

A network bridge is a networking device that connects multiple network segments, allowing them to communicate with each other. It operates at the data link layer of the OSI model and is commonly used to extend a local area network (LAN) by interconnecting multiple LANs or dividing a large LAN into smaller segments.

Origin of Network Bridge

The concept of network bridging originated in the early days of computer networking when there was a need to connect different LAN segments together. The first network bridges were simple devices that forwarded data packets between network segments based on MAC addresses. Over time, as networks became more complex, bridge technology evolved to include features such as filtering, spanning tree protocol, and VLAN support.

Practical Application of Network Bridge

One practical application of network bridges is in extending the coverage of a wireless network. For example, in a large office building with multiple floors, network bridges can be used to connect wireless access points on each floor, creating a seamless wireless network that covers the entire building. This allows users to move freely between floors without experiencing interruptions in their network connectivity.

Benefits of Network Bridge

Segmentation: Network bridges allow for the segmentation of LANs, which can improve network performance and security by reducing the amount of broadcast traffic and isolating network problems.

Flexibility: Bridges can connect different types of networks, such as Ethernet and Wi-Fi, providing flexibility in network design and allowing for the integration of new technologies.

Scalability: By connecting multiple network segments, bridges enable network expansion without the need for significant changes to the existing network infrastructure.

Redundancy: Bridges can be used to create redundant network paths, improving network reliability and minimizing the risk of network downtime in the event of a link failure.


A network bridge operates at the data link layer of the OSI model and connects multiple network segments, while a router operates at the network layer and forwards data packets between different networks based on IP addresses.

Yes, network bridges can be used to connect wireless access points and extend the coverage of a Wi-Fi network, allowing for seamless connectivity across a larger area.

Yes, network bridges are still relevant, especially in scenarios where network segmentation, flexibility, and redundancy are important. While switches and routers have largely replaced traditional bridges in many network environments, bridges continue to play a valuable role in certain applications and network designs.


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