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What Is Bridge Mode?

By Alex Newth
Updated May 16, 2024
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Bridge mode is when two or more computers open up to each other, begin conversing and sharing files, and create a network. To enter bridge mode, the wireless access points (WAPs) must be able to talk to WAPs from other computers. There are two types of modes: point-to-point and point-to-multipoint; the first lets one computer talk to another, while the second lets one computer talk with many. When the connection is made, the computer may still be able to support wireless clients outside the network, some may not be able to support clients, and others will only accept a bridge from WAPs made by the same manufacturer. When in bridging mode, bandwidth is high, so computers tend to run slower.

In wireless networking, bridge mode is a process by which two or more computers are able to start communicating because their WAPs are connecting. When the network is created, this allows the computers to directly share documents and files, and intimately connects the computers in a wireless network. Most users will buy programs to make this connection, because the task of manually creating a bridge is difficult.

When the computers are set to bridge mode, there are two different versions. The smallest network uses point-to-point connections, meaning one computer links itself with one other computer, forming a two-computer network. In point-to-multipoint, the one computer is able to network with many other computers, typically without a number restriction, allowing for access to more computers and files. Point-to-multipoint may be less secure, because it connects with many computers and raises the chances of an attack, but safety is usually not a problem, especially if the user knows the other computer users.

If someone nearby is trying to use wireless Internet, then it typically can connect to a computer or router to get a signal. When bridge mode is used, some bridges may still allow the person to get a signal, while others will ban any outside computers from using the wireless signal. Others bridge modes will only allow WAPs from the same manufacturer to connect.

A disadvantage to using bridge mode is that the bandwidth costs are high. The computers share the bridge device’s bandwidth and, because it is constantly connecting the computers, it uses a lot of bandwidth. This means Internet applications may run very slowly during a bridging session, and the effects will likely depend on how many computers are connected and what each computer is doing.

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