What is a network Bridge, What is a network Switch

A Bridge/Switch is a network device that typically operates at the Data Link layer (Layer 2) of the OSI model.

Before reading further, I strongly recommend you to read following lessons thoroughly and understand the core concepts of computer networking.

Types of network communication - Unicast, Multicast and Broadcast
Collision domain and broadcast domain
Seven Layers of OSI Model.
Comparison between TCP/IP and OSI
IP addresses, subnet mask, network addresses
MAC addresses

A bridge or switch performs its job by examining the Data Link Layer (Layer 2) data packet (Ethernet Frame) and forwarding the packet to other network devices based on Layer 2 addresses (MAC Addresses). Both switches and bridges function using Datalink Layer (Layer 2) addressing system (also known as MAC addresses), to forward Ethernet frames from one device to another device in an Ethernet standard based LAN (Local Area Network).

Each port of a network switch is in a separate collision domain and therefore switches are used to divide a big collision domain into multiple smaller collision domains.

Bridge has only few ports and connect only a few collision domains, or Hosts. A bridge has comparatively less ports than a switch. Network switches with 24 ports or 48 ports are usually available in the market. Brides and switches are considered to operate at the Data Link Layer (Layer 2) of the OSI model.

Click the following link to learn differences between Bridges and Switches.

The term "Bridge" is not much used in networking industry these days. So, use the term "Switch" instead of "Bridge".

Ethernet network switches are designed to operate using Twisted pair cabling and use RJ45 jack to connect different network devices. Fiber optic ports in Ethernet switches are normally used to connect two different Ethernet switches together.

Following picture shows a Cisco 24 Port 10GBase-T (10 Gigabits per second) Ethernet Switch. For more details and technical specifications, please visit official Cisco product page for Cisco SG350XG-24T 24-Port 10GBase-T Stackable Managed Switch.



Related Tutorials
Introduction to Computer Networking
Responsibilities of a network engineer
What is a Computer Network?
Why we need computer networks?
Different types devices used to create a computer network
Client Operating Systems and Network Operating Systems (NOS)
Common Network Application Software
Local Area Networks (LAN) and Wide Area Networks (WAN)
Campus Area Networks (CAN) and Metropolitan Area Network (MAN)
Logical Classification of Computer Networks - Peer to Peer Networks and Client/Server Networks
Logical Classification of Computer Networks - Centralized and Distributed Computer Network Models
Internetworks, Internet, Intranet and Extranet
What is a Network Protocol
Difference between Proprietary and Standard Protocols
What are RFCs (Request for Comments)
Organizations which control Internet, Network Protocols and Standards
What is network topology
Difference between physical topology and logical topology
Network Topologies - Bus Topology
Network Topologies - Star Topology
Network Topologies - Mesh, Ring and Hybrid Topologies
Network Topologies - Partial-Mesh Topology
Network Topologies - Full-Mesh Topology
Advantages and disadvantages of full-mesh topology
Network Topologies - Ring Topology
Network Topologies - Dual Ring Topology
Network Topologies - Hybrid Topology
Network Topologies - Tree Topology
Point-to-point Topology and Point-to-multipoint Topology
What are wireless networks? Advantages and disadvantages of wireless networks.
Ad hoc Wireless Topology
Infrastructure Wireless Topology
Wireless Mesh Topology
Network Infrastructure Devices and Icons
Network Infrastructure Devices - What is a Hub?
Network Infrastructure Devices - What is a Router?
Network Infrastructure devices - What is a Firewall
Main office (Head Office) and Branch Office Networks
Site-to-Site Network Topologies - Hub and Spoke Toplogy
Site-to-Site Network Topologies - Partial-Mesh Toplogy
Site-to-Site Network Topologies - Full Mesh Topology
What is NIC (Network Interface Card)
Common Network Cable types
Differences between STP and UTP twisted pair cables
Twisted pair cable bandwidth and frequency range
Different types of shields used in STP (shielded twisted pair cable)
TIA/EIA 568A and TIA/EIA-568B standards
Straight-Through and Cross-Over cables
What is Auto-MDIX feature in ethernet switches
Difference between Baseband and Broadband
Network Access Methods - CSMA/CD, CSMA/CA and Token Passing
IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers)
IEEE 802 Standards
IEEE 802.11 Standards
LAN Technologies - Ethernet
Ethernet Media Standards
100Base-TX Ethernet Media Standard
100Base-FX Ethernet Media Standard
4D-PAM5 encoding in Gigabit Ethernet
1000Base-T Ethernet Media Standard
1000Base-SX Ethernet Media Standard
1000Base-LX Ethernet Media Standard
10GBase-T 10 Gigabit Ethernet Media Standard
10GBase-SR 10 Gigabit Optical Fiber Ethernet Media Standard
Meaning of 10/100/1000 Ethernet
Twisted pair Cable categories for 1 Gigbit and 10 Gigabit networks
Broadband over Power Line (IEEE 1901-2010 standard)
What is Power over Ethernet (PoE)
What is PoE (Power over Ethernet) Switch
LAN Technologies - Token Ring
Advantages and disadvantages of Fiber optic cable
Structure of fiber optic cable (FOC)
Single Mode Fiber Optic Cable (SMF fiber cable)
Multimode Fiber Optic Cable (MMF fiber cable)
Different types of fiber optic cables
Fiber optic transceivers
Fiber optic connectors
LAN Technologies - Fibre Distributed Data Interface (FDDI)