Network Switches and Bridges are both Layer 2 devices. They operate at the Data Link Layer (Layer 2) of the OSI Reference Model. Network Switches and Bridges have many similarities and similar function. But Switches are considered as superior devices than bridges.
Following are the major differences between Network Switchs and Bridges.
• Packet forwarding in Bridges are performed using software. Packet forwarding in Switches are performed using ASICs (Application Specific Integrated Circuits).
• Switches operate comparatively higher speeds that Bridges.
• Method of switching of a Bridge is store and forward. Method of switching of a Switch can be store and forward, cut-through or fragment-free.
• Normally a Switch has more ports than a Bridge.
• Bridges can operate only in half duplex mode, but a Switch can operate both in half duplex or full duplex mode.
• Both Bridge and Switch has one collision domain per port, but switches have one broadcast domain per VLAN.
• Switchs support full-duplex Local Area Network (LAN) communication.