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Bridges and Bridging
Note: Many topics at this site are reduced versions of the text in "The Encyclopedia of Networking and Telecommunications." Search results will not be as extensive as a search of the book's CD-ROM.
A bridge is a LAN connection device with two or more ports that forwards frames from one LAN (local area network) segment to another. In the past, the bridge was a small box with several LAN connectors or a server with several network interface cards. Today, bridges are more likely to appear in the form of switching devices, which are technically multiport bridges. Each port provides a separate LAN connection that is bridged to the other ports.
The bridge provides several important functions:
The last point is important. On Ethernet networks, collisions occur when two nodes attempt to transmit at the same time. As more nodes are added to a network, collisions increase. A bridge can be used to divide a network into separate collision domains while retaining the broadcast domain. A broadcast domain is basically a LAN as compared to an internetwork, which is multiple LANs connected by routers. In a broadcast domain, any node can send a message to any other node using data link layer addressing, while a routed network requires internetwork addressing.
This topic continues in "The Encyclopedia of Networking and Telecommunications" with a discussion of the following:
Copyright (c) 2001 Tom Sheldon and Big Sur Multimedia.