I never worked with bridges because they were no longer used when I first got internet at home, and I have some troubles understanding what exactly was the role of the switches.

From my search I concluded that a bridge can be viewed as a simple switch with two ports and it does MAC switching between two SETS of MAC addresses instead of two MAC addresses.

Is this way to view a bridge correct?

  • A switch is a transparent bridge (all interfaces use the same layer-2 protocol). There are translating bridges that have interfaces in different layer-2 protocols. The current example of that is your Wi-Fi WAP that bridges and translates between ethernet and Wi-Fi.
    – Ron Maupin
    Aug 29, 2017 at 18:01
  • 1
    See my answer to another similar question here: networkengineering.stackexchange.com/a/458/33
    – YLearn
    Aug 30, 2017 at 3:10
  • Did any answer help you? If so, you should accept the answer so that the question doesn't keep popping up forever, looking for an answer. Alternatively, you can provide and accept your own answer.
    – Ron Maupin
    Feb 19, 2018 at 17:53

1 Answer 1


In most respects, yes. A bridge may be just a switch, but it may also be more: there are (were) bridges that could connect different MAC-oriented layer 2 protocols like Ethernet, Wi-Fi, Token Ring, ARCNET, ... These you wouldn't call switches since switches only support a single layer 2 protocol (but may support several layer 1 media like 1000BASE-T, 1000BASE-SX, 100BASE-TX, ...).

With the ubiquity of Ethernet, real bridges have all but vanished - except for Wi-Fi WAPs, thx Ron!

  • 2
    "With the ubiquity of Ethernet, real bridges have all but vanished." The huge exception to that is the proliferation of Wi-Fi. WAPs are translating bridges, much like you have described.
    – Ron Maupin
    Aug 29, 2017 at 14:11
  • Yes, of course! Thx.
    – Zac67
    Aug 29, 2017 at 17:49

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.