Networking - Miscellaneous - Router vs Bridge

Routers and bridges are both network devices used to connect different networks together, but they operate at different layers of the network and have distinct functionalities. 


  • Operates at the network layer (Layer 3) of the OSI model.
  • Connects multiple networks together, such as LANs and WANs.
  • Routes data packets between networks based on IP addresses.
  • Uses routing tables and algorithms to determine the best path for packet forwarding.
  • Supports multiple protocols, such as TCP/IP, IPv4, and IPv6.
  • Provides network segmentation and helps control network traffic.
  • Can implement security features like firewalls and access control lists (ACLs).
  • Performs Network Address Translation (NAT) to allow multiple devices to share a single public IP address.
  • Supports dynamic routing protocols like OSPF, BGP, and RIP to exchange routing information with other routers.


  • Operates at the data link layer (Layer 2) of the OSI model.
  • Connects two or more network segments within the same network.
  • Uses MAC addresses to forward data packets between network segments.
  • Creates a single broadcast domain, allowing broadcast traffic to be forwarded across connected segments.
  • Transparently forwards frames between connected segments without altering the IP addressing.
  • Helps to extend the reach of a LAN by connecting multiple switches or Ethernet segments together.
  • Can filter and control network traffic based on MAC addresses using MAC filtering.
  • Supports Spanning Tree Protocol (STP) to prevent loops in redundant bridge connections.