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.
This story, "Transform Wired Devices Into Wireless With a Network Bridge" was originally published by BrandPost.