Bridge vs Switch: Difference and Comparison

A bridge and switch is a device that keeps track of signal flow and data transfer inside a network.

Switch only sends data to the device that requests it, rather than all other devices, whereas bridges were invented with memory, bridges are repeaters with extra functionality for reading MAC addresses across the network.

Key Takeaways

  1. Bridges connect two network segments at the data link layer (Layer 2), while switches operate at the same layer but connect multiple devices within a network.
  2. Bridges use store-and-forward techniques to filter traffic, while switches use MAC addresses to forward packets intelligently.
  3. Switches offer higher performance and scalability due to their ability to learn and maintain MAC address tables, whereas bridges have limited capacity.

Bridge vs Switch

A bridge is a networking device that connects two separate LANs and forwards traffic between them, used to extend the range of a network or to connect two different types of networks. A switch is a networking device that connects multiple devices within a LAN and forwards traffic between them.

Bridge vs Switch

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A bridge is a network that divides a local area into multiple segments. Bridge operates at the data link layer of the OSI model. The bridge stores the Mac addresses of PCs on a network.

The bridge’s goal is to reduce network traffic. Bridges are repeaters that also can read MAC addresses across the network. A layer 2 device deals with the Mac address; thus, the bridge is a layer 2 device as well.

The switch, which is a multi-port bridge, operates on the same principles as a bridge. The switch bypasses both the hub and the bridge’s constraints.

Because a switch filters packets based on MAC address, it can better manage traffic than a hub, and because a switch has many more ports than a bridge, it can be connected to a large number of end-user devices and hosts.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonBridgeSwitch
TypesA bridge is a device.A switch is hardware.
BufferBridges don’t buffer.A switch has buffers.
ErrorA bridge acts as a repeater.The switch sends data to a device that requires it.
BasicA bridge joins two LANs and manages data flow between them.A switch is a networking device that uses its IP address to determine which machine is connected to its port.
NetworkA bridge is a device that joins two or smaller network segments.In comparison to bridges, the switch is an intelligent device that links more network segments.

What is Bridge?

Bridges connect two-lane segments. As a result, a bridge is frequently equipped with two ports.

A bridge is a more sophisticated form of a Harbor Breeze, which runs at layer 2 of the OI model because it relies on the Mac address to forward packets.

A bridge isn’t a particular device for the end host. As a result, hubs are widely used.

When a packet arrives on one of the bridge’s ports, the bridge checks to see if the destination MAC address can be accessed on the other port, and if it can, the packet is sent to us.

There are two types of bridges: transparent bridges and source routing bridges. Transparent bridges are those in which neither the stations nor the nodes are aware that the bridge exists.

The source routing performs the routing operation in source routing bridges, and the frame indicates which route to take in a local area network.

Bridges are also used to connect to other LANs that use the same protocol. The key point is that we have a crucial point if we have two local area networks that use the same protocol.

Then bridges are used to connect these two local area networks, and it’s also a port to a device like a repeater, which only has two ports, just like a bridge.

What is Switch?

A switch is a multiport network. The switch sends data exclusively to the device that asks for it, not to all other devices.

A switch links networks utilizing network cables and serves as a central point for devices such as PCs and printers. This eliminates the requirement for these devices to be physically connected.

Switches are one of the most crucial components of any network.

In an Ethernet-based LAN, a switch analyses incoming data packets with destination information. The switch’s operating speeds are extremely quick.

Switches are also full-duplex devices, which allow data signals to flow in both directions at the same time.

This minimizes the risk of data collisions that might occur when two segments of the same network use different communication formats in other network backbone devices. 

On the front of a switch, there are multiple interfaces, also known as ports, enabling devices to connect to switches that can accept different types of cables, such as copper or fibre-optic cables.

Switches are also available in various sizes, with some having many ports and others having only a few.

The number of ports is referred to as the port count. By connecting additional switches, the port count can be expanded.

The clever method switches handle network traffic, known as packet switching, is the source of their name.

Main Differences Between Bridge and Switch

  1. Bridge operates the data link layer, whereas the switch is a data link layer device.
  2. A bridge acts as a repeater, whereas a switch sends data to devices that require it.
  3. The bridge functionality filters material by reading the destination Mac addresses. On the other hand, Switch is a buffer and a design that increases its efficiency and performance.
  4. The bridge is used for interconnecting two LANs. The switch is used to perform error checking before forwarding the data.
  5. Bridge connects two-lane segments. The switch filters packets based on MAC addresses. 

Last Updated : 13 July, 2023

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