Transform Wired Devices Into Wireless With a Network Bridge

What’s a wireless access point? What’s a network bridge? Why are some devices called access points, some bridges, and some both? And, more important, how do these devices fit into a home network?

Let’s start with the concept of a network bridge. The “bridge” part of the device description refers to the its ability to integrate wired devices into a pre-existing network by using a wireless signal, instead of an Ethernet (or network) cable, to forge the connection. You’ll typically find this situation in a home setup when you want to connect wired devices, such as Internet-connected TVs and Blu-Ray players, to a router that happens to be in a different part of the home.

If you were trying to get wired devices connected to your home network, as in the example I just described, you’d normally have to connect them via an Ethernet cable, which can be tricky depending on how far away your router happens to be. A wireless bridge, however, gives you the flexibility to connect Ethernet-enabled devices to your network wirelessly. You just connect your wired devices to the bridge’s ports and they’re essentially transformed into wireless devices.

Bridging is a pretty easy concept to understand. The confusion sets in when bridging gets mixed up with the phrase “access point.” This will be the subject of my next post.

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