# Difference between a bridge and a switch?

Discussion in 'Hardware Q&A' started by imagineer_aman, Nov 8, 2005.

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1. ### imagineer_amanNew Member

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Dear Team
I am new to networking(ethernet).
I am unable to understand the difference between a bridge and a switch!
Pls explain it in detail with CLEAR FUNDAS.
Thanks.
Aman

2. ### Keith SebastianNew Member

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3. ### theravenNew Member

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simply put
a bridge is used to divide a network into 2
whereas a switch connects multiple terminals together centrally

if u have a really large network u can divide it with the help of a bridge

it would work something like

10 computers connected to switch (1st network)
10 computer connected to another switch ( 2nd network)
and both networks connected thru a bridge !

and ofcourse detailed explaination is in the links above

4. ### rachitarNew Member

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A bridge connects two different LAN networks
A switch is something like you can connect many computers to a switch and then one computer can connect to another through the switch.
Switch is a unicast one to one connection

5. ### imagineer_amanNew Member

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thanks Keith,theraven,rachitar.

As of now i understand that...
A bridge can connect ONLY 2 networks(2 ports).
A switch can connect MORE THAN 2 networks(Many ports).

6. ### rachitarNew Member

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Switch cant connect MORE THAN 2 networks
It can connect more than 2 COMPUTERS

7. ### imagineer_amanNew Member

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Dear rachitar..
I dont understand..
I mean when a switch CAN connect 2 or more NETWORKS..then y not 2 or more COMPUTERS???

8. ### digenNew Member

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From when did switches have to bother about networks? Ofcourse its can be correct when the switch is a Layer 3 switch,but under most cases a switch is referred with the Layer 2 tag.
The concept is simple,I dont understand why there is so much fuss about?

Switch is nothing but a multi-port bridge.They both break collision domains & enhance the performance of a network but at the same time they create a single broadcast domain.

Routers deal with connecting networks & not bridge/switch.

9. ### LordDJNew Member

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When networks (LANs) expand, it's generally a good idea to separate them. Both bridges and switches help you here. The former divides it into a couple of segments, whreas it's possible to divide them into many segemnts using a switch.

10. ### imagineer_amanNew Member

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Let me see if I have got it...
1)a bridge connects 2 networks(it can connect computers,but that wud be ridiculous).
2)a switch connects MORE THAN 2 networks.
3)in other words..switch is a multi port bridge(as digen suggested).
Hope I am right..or is there more to it??

11. ### theravenNew Member

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yes but dont refer to it as networks
that completely changes the meaning !
its all in a single network
u cant have multiple networks with bridge/switch since they are layer 2 devices
if u want u need to use layer 3 devices like ROUTERS

12. ### indroNew Member

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If switch or bridge can seperate networks? then what do routers do ?

A switch is a multiport bridge in short.

Yes a switch is only capable of seperating two networks when its a multilayer switch or works on layer 2 and layer 3 i.e. router layer.

13. ### jay4uNew Member

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seems pretty much the same to me... well ofcourse if you take the names apart

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Bridges are really just like switches, but there are a few differences. These are the following:

*

Bridges are software based, while switches are hardware based because they use an ASICs chip to help them make filtering decisions.

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Bridges can only have one spanning-tree instance per bridge, while switches can have many.

*

Bridges can only have upto 16 ports, while a switch can have hundreds !

That's pretty much as far as we will go with the bridges since they are pretty much old technology and you probably won't see many around.

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