Difference Wiki

Bridge vs. Switch: What's the Difference?

Edited by Huma Saeed || By Sawaira Riaz || Published on February 12, 2024
A bridge is a network device that divides a network into segments, filtering and forwarding traffic, while a switch connects multiple devices, managing and forwarding data to specific MAC addresses.

Key Differences

A bridge is a network device used to connect and segment different network sections, reducing traffic on each segment. It operates at the data link layer (Layer 2) of the OSI model. A switch, on the other hand, is a more advanced network device that connects multiple devices within the same network, forwarding data based on MAC addresses.
Sawaira Riaz
Feb 12, 2024
Bridges can filter network traffic, deciding whether to forward or block packets based on MAC addresses. This can reduce network congestion. In contrast, switches maintain a MAC address table, efficiently routing packets only to the intended recipient, which enhances network performance and security.
Sawaira Riaz
Feb 12, 2024
Bridges were commonly used in earlier networking setups to divide larger networks into manageable sections, while switches have largely replaced them in modern networks due to their ability to handle larger numbers of connections and more complex data routing.
Sawaira Riaz
Feb 12, 2024
Bridges typically have fewer ports and are suited for smaller networks. Switches come with a larger number of ports and are designed to handle more traffic, making them suitable for larger and more complex network environments.
Harlon Moss
Feb 12, 2024
The functionality of a bridge is more basic and limited compared to a switch. While bridges are used to filter and forward traffic between network segments, switches can do this more efficiently and support additional features like VLANs (Virtual Local Area Networks).
Janet White
Feb 12, 2024
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Comparison Chart

Function

Connects network segments, reducing traffic
Connects multiple devices, managing data traffic
Sawaira Riaz
Feb 12, 2024

Layer of Operation

Data link layer (Layer 2)
Data link layer (Layer 2)
Sawaira Riaz
Feb 12, 2024

Traffic Management

Filters and forwards based on MAC addresses
Forwards data to specific MAC addresses
Huma Saeed
Feb 12, 2024

Suitability

Smaller networks or segments
Larger networks with more devices
Sawaira Riaz
Feb 12, 2024

Advanced Features

Basic filtering and forwarding
Supports VLANs, greater port density, complex routing
Harlon Moss
Feb 12, 2024
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Bridge and Switch Definitions

Bridge

In computing, a link between two separate computer networks.
A bridge was set up to enable communication between the two different networks.
Harlon Moss
Jan 22, 2024

Switch

An act of changing direction or taking a different course.
After ten years in finance, she made a switch to the tech industry.
Aimie Carlson
Jan 22, 2024

Bridge

A physical or virtual device filtering and forwarding network traffic.
To reduce congestion, a bridge was used to segment the office network.
Harlon Moss
Jan 22, 2024

Switch

An electrical device for making and breaking the connection in a circuit.
He flipped the switch to turn on the lights.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 22, 2024

Bridge

A transitional path or link between two points or states.
The new policy served as a bridge between the old and new management practices.
Janet White
Jan 22, 2024

Switch

A network device connecting multiple devices within a LAN.
We installed a switch to connect all the computers in the lab.
Harlon Moss
Jan 22, 2024

Bridge

A network device that connects and segments different parts of a LAN.
The network bridge efficiently connected the two departmental LANs.
Janet White
Jan 22, 2024

Switch

A change or exchange of one thing for another.
The company made a strategic switch from traditional marketing to digital.
Janet White
Jan 22, 2024

Bridge

A structure providing a connection over an obstacle or gap.
The Golden Gate Bridge spans across San Francisco Bay.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 22, 2024

Switch

In rail transport, a mechanism for guiding trains from one track to another.
The train switch malfunctioned, causing a delay.
Aimie Carlson
Jan 22, 2024

Bridge

(computing) A device which connects two or more computer buses, typically in a transparent manner.
This chip is the bridge between the front-side bus and the I/O bus.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 22, 2024

Switch

(computer science) A command line notation allowing specification of optional behavior.
Use the /b switch to specify black-and-white printing.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 22, 2024

Bridge

(programming) A software component connecting two or more separate systems.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 22, 2024

Switch

A programming construct that takes different actions depending on the value of an expression.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 22, 2024

Bridge

(networking) A system which connects two or more local area networks at layer 2 of OSI model.
The LAN bridge uses a spanning tree algorithm.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 22, 2024

Switch

A networking device connecting multiple wires, allowing them to communicate simultaneously, when possible. Compare to the less efficient hub device that solely duplicates network packets to each wire.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 22, 2024

Switch

(telecommunication) A system of specialized relays, computer hardware, or other equipment which allows the interconnection of a calling party's telephone line with any called party's line.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 22, 2024

FAQs

What is a network switch?

A switch is a device that connects multiple devices within a LAN.
Huma Saeed
Feb 12, 2024

What is a network bridge?

A network bridge connects and segments different parts of a LAN.
Sawaira Riaz
Feb 12, 2024

Can bridges handle large networks?

Bridges are more suited for smaller networks or segments.
Harlon Moss
Feb 12, 2024

How does a bridge filter traffic?

A bridge filters traffic based on MAC addresses.
Sawaira Riaz
Feb 12, 2024

What layer do bridges operate at?

Bridges operate at the data link layer (Layer 2).
Harlon Moss
Feb 12, 2024

Can a switch route data efficiently?

Yes, switches are efficient in routing data to intended devices.
Janet White
Feb 12, 2024

Can a switch manage network traffic?

Yes, a switch manages traffic by forwarding data to specific MAC addresses.
Harlon Moss
Feb 12, 2024

Are bridges commonly used in modern networks?

Bridges are less common in modern networks, often replaced by switches.
Harlon Moss
Feb 12, 2024

Do switches support VLANs?

Yes, many switches support VLANs for network segmentation.
Janet White
Feb 12, 2024

How many ports do switches usually have?

Switches usually have a larger number of ports.
Sawaira Riaz
Feb 12, 2024

Are switches suitable for large networks?

Yes, switches are designed for larger networks with more devices.
Sawaira Riaz
Feb 12, 2024

Do bridges play a role in network topology?

Bridges help shape network topology by segmenting networks.
Janet White
Feb 12, 2024

Do bridges have many ports?

Bridges typically have fewer ports.
Janet White
Feb 12, 2024

Can switches be used in both home and business networks?

Yes, switches are versatile for use in both home and business networks.
Sawaira Riaz
Feb 12, 2024

What layer do switches operate at?

Switches also operate at the data link layer (Layer 2).
Sawaira Riaz
Feb 12, 2024

Do bridges enhance network security?

Bridges can improve security by segmenting traffic.
Janet White
Feb 12, 2024

Do switches improve network performance?

Yes, switches enhance network performance and security.
Sawaira Riaz
Feb 12, 2024

Are switches easy to configure?

Modern switches are user-friendly and easier to configure.
Aimie Carlson
Feb 12, 2024

Is a bridge a physical device?

Bridges can be physical or virtual devices.
Aimie Carlson
Feb 12, 2024

Can a bridge connect different types of networks?

Yes, a bridge can connect different network types.
Aimie Carlson
Feb 12, 2024
About Author
Written by
Sawaira Riaz
Sawaira is a dedicated content editor at difference.wiki, where she meticulously refines articles to ensure clarity and accuracy. With a keen eye for detail, she upholds the site's commitment to delivering insightful and precise content.
Edited by
Huma Saeed
Huma is a renowned researcher acclaimed for her innovative work in Difference Wiki. Her dedication has led to key breakthroughs, establishing her prominence in academia. Her contributions continually inspire and guide her field.

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