(also bridged network, network bridge)
Bridge connection definition
A bridge connection is a network connection that allows several devices to communicate with each other as if they were on the same physical network, even if they are connected to separate networks. For example, your laptop may be connected to Wi-Fi while your desktop computer may be connected to a wired network. You can create a bridge connection to allow both devices to communicate and exchange data as if they were on the same network (e.g., share files and access applications).
How a bridge connection works
- A bridge connection is established using a bridge device. The device can either be virtual or physical.
- The bridge device is installed between two separate networks.
- When a device on one network wants to communicate with a device connected to another network, it sends the data to the bridge device.
- The bridge device receives the data, checks its address to identify the network it should forward the data to, then sends the data.
- The receiving device sends a response back to the bridge device.
- The bridge device receives and sends the data to the appropriate network segment.
Bridge connection use cases
- Extending a wired network. A bridge connection can be used to extend a wired network by connecting two wired segments of a network that are physically separated by a distance. For example, two separate buildings of an organization could be connected this way.
- Creating virtual LANs. Organizations may use bridge connections to create virtual LANs (VLANs) by connecting different physical networks together. An example of this is connecting several offices in different countries.